Shooting practice with a wiffle baseball

Here is an easy and inexpensive way to make a very effective target for shooting practice.

  • Buy a 5- or 6-foot length of light bungee cord (elastic cord) at your local hardware store. (Lightly melt the ends with a match or soldering iron to keep the ends from fraying.)
  • On your practice area, lay out the bungee cord in the same way that you would lay out boundary strings for a marked terrain, stringing it between nails driven into the ground. Pull the bungee cord tight enough to keep it straight, but don’t stretch it.
  • Buy a wiffle ball (baseball size, not softball size). Mine cost $2.50.
  • Use some string to tie the wiffle ball to the middle of the bungee cord.

That’s it. You’re ready to start your shooting practice. You can see that the wiffle baseball is almost exactly the same size as a petanque boule. Here’s a short Youtube video that shows how the wiffle ball acts when hit.

You can do the same thing with a real boule, but it is more difficult to do, and I personnally think it is quite clumsy compared to a wiffle ball.


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My shooting pit (4)

My hobby is experimenting with designs for shooting pits.

Here is my fourth design. Like my second design it copies the layout of a horseshoe pit. Like my first design, the back-stops are V-shaped, which makes the boules easy to gather.

The backstop is constructed out of lightweight hollow-core plastic boards designed for fence construction (see detail photo, below.) (I got them cheap, at a recycled building-materials yard.) It is 2.5 feet high, although two feet would probably have been enough.

Click on any of the photos to see a larger view.

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The backstop is constructed out of lightweight hollow-core plastic boards designed for fence construction.
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My shooting pit (3)

My hobby is experimenting with designs for shooting pits.

Here is my third design. I’m quite happy with it. It will probably be my last design.

This is the most light-weight of all my designs. It consists of three sawhorses made with 2x4s arranged in a U shape. The head is covered by a sheet of white Plas-Tek and a couple of carpet scraps. They protect the ground from being pulverized into dust, and keep the boules dirt-free so that I don’t have to be cleaning them all the time.

shootingpit3_the_head

From the sawhorses I have hung a 10’x16′ baseball net (from Networld Sports, on sale for about $60, including shipping). It is folded in half length-wise, so its dimensions are 5′ high by 16′ long. The upper edge is hung from the sawhorses. The lower edges are held close to the ground by cords threaded through the spaces in the net and nailed to the ground.

shootingpit3_the_net

As a boule-return device, there is a pipe made of three 10′ PVC pipes. The pipe leads from the head back to the throwing area.

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The center sawhorse is set at an acute angle with the left sawhorse. The result is that they form a rounded V shape where the boules tend to gather. (In the photo below you get a better view of the cords that hold the net down at the point where the net touches the ground. )

shootingpit3_collected_boules

To return the boules, I walk to the head and put the boules in one end of the pipe. That takes only about one second per boule. Then I walk back to the head, where the pipe has deposited the boules in a bucket.

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I lift the bucket onto a platform, so that I can easily grab the boules as I throw.
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I throw about 20 boules at a time. That is as many as I can lift in the bucket.

Here is another picture. You can read about the frame with the colored ribbons HERE.

netted_shooting_pit_with_ribbons


My shooting pit (2)

My hobby is experimenting with designs for shooting pits.

Here is my second design. It is two shooting pits, facing each other. As in horseshoes, you stand at one end and throw into the opposite pit. Then you walk to the opposite pit, pick up your boules, and throw them back toward the other pit.

Here is a closer view of one of the shooting pits.

I built it out of scrap 2x4s but I think one-inch thick boards would work perfectly well. The white sheets on the ground are a plastic material called Plas-Tek. They are sold as construction material to line showers and should be available at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. They come in 4’x8′ sheets, about 1/8″ thick, and cost about $20 each.

The pit is out-of-doors, so I raised the sideboards about an inch off the ground. That allows rain to drain off, and allows me to sweep dust and fallen leaves under the sideboards and off of the court.

When I pick up the boules I put them in a white plastic bucket on brick “towers” where they will be easy to reach as I throw.


My shooting pit (1)

I’m new to petanque. I need to practice so I can hold up my end of the game. To help with practice, I have set up a sort of shooting pit in my back yard.

I laid down a big piece of scrap carpet on the ground. (This keeps the ground from being pulverized into dust, and traps the dust.) On top of the carpet are two 2x4s, each about six feet long, in a V shape. This keeps (most of) the boules from scattering all over the back yard.
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The 2x4s are secured with big nails driven into the ground.
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Later I moved the carpet forward a bit. The depression behind the carpet traps the boules, so they can be gathered up more easily.

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In the throwing area (below) you can see a white plastic paint bucket. It can hold 20 leisure boules, so I can throw 20 boules before having to make a retrieval expedition up to the head.  Beneath the white bucket are two larger grey paint buckets, bolted together. They make a platform that is portable and a convenient height.
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See my other experiments with designs for shooting pits.