I like toys. I’m fascinated by ideas for devices to help with petanque practice.
This looks like a home-made device to practice pointing. The picture is copied from a YouTube video of Festival de Pétanque Düsseldorf 2010. Look for the device at about 4:30.
I found a picture of a similar homemade device (below) on the web site of the Midwest Petanque Alliance.
Here is a similar pointing training device that you can buy from a German company for only around 400 euros.
I’m not sure exactly what this device is for, or how it is used. My best guess is that it is some kind of device for pointing. The holes in the device are too small for a boule to fall through, which means that if a boule is pointed just right it might come to rest in one of the holes. But that is just a guess.
The same Germany company also offers shooting training devices.
The shooting training devices automatically pull a shot boule back into place, allowing you immediately to practice shooting it again.
In this device, the target boule is suspended from a cross-bar.
The device below allows you to attach 1, 2, or 3 target boules to it via springs.
These devices cost hundreds of Euros. I could probably build something like them for a few tens of dollars in my home shop. The problem with making your own training device is that it is hard to drill a hole in a metal ball. But a baseball is about the size of a boule, and it is easy to drill a hole in an old baseball.
Two of the strangest devices I’ve seen are these.
They are advertized on page 14 of this CIEP-related catalog
. In this video
their inventor, Louis Amour, shows them in action.
Here are pictures of a couple of similar devices that appeared in 2007 on the blog of the Midwest Petanque Alliance… but they didn’t know anything about them.
Technically, this isn’t a training device… but it could be. The Brighton Petanque website has a fun post about a Shooting a Back Boule Contest.
The club at Istrès held an informal Shooting a Back Boule competition one afternoon. We have held similar events in Brighton – they’re great fun! Shooting a Back Boule at 10m is one of the great traditions at French clubs. Shooting is, of course, a key part of the game and shooting a back boule at 10m is one of the hardest tests shooters have to face. You can just place two boules on the terrain but often you’ll see a special area set aside for such practice – usually either an old tire with two boules bolted on or a piece of rubber, which is what we have at Brighton and what they used at Istrès.
In a Facebook post
the Zanesfield Petanque Club provided a picture of their “indoor shooting pit”.
HOW TO BUILD AN INDOOR PIT (AKA Giant litter-box)
1) Disassemble you large breed's dog cage
2) Steal the bottom section of the cage
3) Steal the dog's mattress to use as landing pad
4) Snatch 4 short posts from the neighbor's fence to use as stoppers
5) Use large plastic strap to hold fence posts
6) You're all set for winter practices.
Is that home plate? Or a shooting pit?
Here’s a tip from Joe Acchiardi, of La Boule Joyeuse
Use old baseballs.
A baseball is about the right size and shape. It weighs more than a tennis ball and isn’t so bouncy. Your practice boules won’t get as banged up as they would if you were using real boules. And if you succeed with a nice tir au baseball you don’t get the loud THWOK that you’d get with a boule. That means that you can practice quietly in your own back yard without irritating the neighbors with the noise.
A simple wooden bench placed near to the jack, can be a useful device for training in lobbing. The red arrow in this photo of a Japanese training session points to the thrown boule, which is dropping nearly vertically down on to the target.
Other training courses use PVC frames and crossbars, rather than wooden benches, but the basic principle is the same.