New book— “Winning Petanque”

Petanque players begin life by going through a complete novice stage in which they learn the basics of the game, the basics of the rules, the basics of how to throw a boule, the basics of strategy, etc. etc. Some remain at that stage forever (which I totally approve; relaxing and puttering around with your friends is one of life’s great joys). But others move on to a “new player” stage, in which they actively start to search for information about how to get better at the game.

For those players, for the last decade the only decent English-language book on petanque has been Byron Putman’s 2011 book “Pétanque: The Greatest Game You Never Heard Of”, which is quite good as a general introduction to the game and is still very much worth reading.

But now (as of April 20, 2022) we have something that more precisely meets the needs of new players. It is Harwell Thrasher’s “Winning Petanque”. Thrasher’s new book is aimed at new players, and it does an excellent job of filling their needs for information about everything from how to throw a boule to game strategy and techniques. The book is clear, correct, easy to read, and comprehensive. Friends who have read the book, and the reviews on, are all extremely positive.

If you wish, you can go to and “look inside” to see the table of contents. But the bottom line is that without question, “Winning Petanque” is absolutely the best English-language book available to meet the needs of a petanque player who wants genuinely useful information about how to become a better player.

Thrasher, I believe, learned the game and still plays with the Atlanta Petanque League. And his writing style reflects what might be considered a “no nonsense” American attitude toward getting better at the game. The prose is simple, clear, un-ornamented, and straight-to-the point. One amazon reviewer wrote that the book “is a “how to” engineering manual, without rhetorical flourishes or fancy jargon. Every line contains useful information.”

The book does not deal with anything outside of ways to play better. There are no French cultural or historic references, no use of French petanque terminology, and no discussions of player psychology, concentration, or mental strength and focus. If you want that, you might look at Sam Porter’s inexpensive Kindle book “TWO BALLS AND HALF A BRAIN: A Mindful approach to Petanque playing”.


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