The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 41 - December 14, 2009 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 8, Issue #41 - December 14, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello bocce gang,

I've been learning to use the Flip video and have begun posting some bocce videos on YouTube with links from my web site under the navigation button Bocce Video. This week I posted a short one called "A Look at Bocce Pointing Styles" where I filmed some excellent pointers so we could study and perhaps emulate their technique.

Check the videos out here: .

Also, if you need a bocce gift for someone this holiday season, I can ship most items the same day the order comes in. Visit .

Happy Holiday Season! Stay close and always be up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

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Bocce by the beach in Florida...

Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

The USBF web site ( has a new look. Click the logo to the right to check it out. You can even sign up or renew your membership on-line as past USBF president John Ross told me he has already done. The USBF's Peter Rabito took the lead on the website revamping and it looks like he did a great job.


I’ve posted another video on YouTube and my web site – this one on pointing. While I was at the 2009 Pallino d’Oro at the Palazzo di Bocce, I had the same trouble pointing that I had at the June Nationals at Campo di Bocce of Livermore. Those of us who don’t play regularly on these extremely fast surfaces have a tough time adjusting.

I’m a shooter in basketball where we were coached to get the ball rolling off your fingertips, creating backspin and developing “touch.” Naturally, I learned to point in bocce the same way. On most surfaces, from very slow to very fast, I can usually adjust. I call the synthetic surfaces at Campo and Palazzo “lightning fast.”

I have always lamented the fact that I am not nearly as a good a bocce player as I should be. I had outstanding coaching in baseball and basketball (and some natural talent), playing both sports and distinguishing myself at a pretty high level. I've had almost no coaching in bocce and remain a decent players locally, but poor at the next level.

My trouble pointing on the synthetic surfaces at Campo and Palazzo stem from the fact that I roll the ball off my fingertips which seems to impart too much spin. My shots didn’t stop until they were well past the target. Try as I might to adjust, I developed little consistency.

The video shows some of the top players in the 2009 Pallino d’Oro practicing their pointing. I took the video so I could study their technique and maybe try to emulate it. In the video it looks like several of the guys release the ball with their hands (all right-handers) cocked almost 90 degrees to the left. It seems to come off the hand, but not getting so much spin off the fingertips. It almost looks like they finish with their hand out in a position as if they were going to shake someone’s hand.

So, the ball seems to be coming off the side of players' hands rather than off the fingertips...

The short video, titled "A Look at Bocce Pointing Styles" can be viewed here:

It’s brief, so you may want to watch it a couple times. Please REPLY with any comments that might be helpful to me and other Joy of Bocce Weekly readers.

I corresponded with Jerry South about the video and he had this to offer…

“I am with the 4 players in the video. I have small hands for a male of the species, so I place my thumb almost on top of the ball and release with an opening of the hand....sort of like a trap door opening. No rolling off the fingertips or pronation of the hand, wrist or arm. If you play on soil, sand, shell, etc. courts, you are accustomed to a hefty swing of the arm to move the ball. So on synthetic courts, reduce the back swing of the arm. I know how difficult it is to adjust. A few weeks ago I played brass ball volo in South San Francisco where the courts are nicely groomed granite powder, but to me they were very ‘slow’ and required more backswing in my pointing procedure…very frustrating!

The first pointer appears to let the ball slide out of his palm just a bit to the right. The other three place the thumb on top of or near the top of the ball and release straight on.

The striking thing about all four is the right-leg-in-front delivery. I used that stance for several years but changed to left-leg-forward (left foot as a gun sight), right leg back and a roll from the inside out. I did so at the suggestion of an instructor in Viareggio. (The left arm resting on the back is very Italian...and good for balance.) After watching the video several times, I a considering reverting to the right-leg-in front style! Those guys are good!

To some extent, pointing and shooting styles are like schools of art...the disciples copy the master. To me the important element is simplicity. The top giocotori share simple mechanics and graceful Joe DiMaggio. What we lack in the US is coaching and instruction. Bad habits are developed early and are difficult to change, particularly when one is older and a bit stiff. Thanks for the video. Those guys are the best!"

{I love Jerry’s emails. They always provide great info and end with the same closing; “Sempre bocce.”}


In an unrelated matter, Jerry sent this…

“You are the last author in the universe to whom I would offer a correction, but the anglo treatment of the word 'bersaglio', written and spoken raises my blood pressure. In your current issue, you ended the word with an 'a', a feminine ending, which is often used. Here, in the Wild West, many players say, 'bersario.' The Italian 'gli' is just too subtle for most of us. Anyway, bersario, bersaglia or bersaglio (please!), the point ball and pallino are a great target."

My response to Jerry and all readers…

{My apologies. Please keep me in line anytime you see errors. I miss most of them when I am bleary eyed in the wee hours of the morning fighting a losing battle with my deadline. I appreciate any help I can get.}


Richard and Barbara Heisler send this comment and link…

“Many bocce players we know have enjoyed watching our sister sport in the Winter Olympics. If only they would televise raffa this well…

Check it out:


Elizabeth Wong Fontana tells us her Ruby Raffa Classic has been moved from February 28th to March 6th. Contact Elizabeth at .


David "Mitchie" Mitchell of sends news of his 1st tourney…

1st Annual 4 Man Bocce Tournament
Cascade Park Bocce Facilities
New Castle, PA 16101
June 4th - 6th, 2010
$4000 1st. Place.
Call Mitchie @ 724-333-6385
More Info at


More from Mitch at

"I have been looking at your website and reading your newsletter for a few years now. You were my inspiration to build I want to promote the sport that I grew up with. I was raised in the little Italy section of a small town in Western Pennsylvania. There were at least 7 bocce courts in the back yards of the homes on my block. I grew up playing bocce and raiding gardens and grapevines as a kid. We have to teach the young ones the game so the legacy will live forever."


Here's a great line attributed to Cathy Ures in an Oregon newspaper article. Referring to her husband Lou’s weekly bocce play she said, “I love having them out there playing every Wednesday. If I close my eyes, it sounds like they’re all boys again, playing in the back yard – But I never have to break up any fights.”


Interesting news from EPCO’s Bob Parella…

"We have decided to streamline our line of bocce ball sets by eliminating those models that are the less popular sellers and expand our inventory of models that are the most popular. In addition, we have taken steps to clear up some confusion about the correct size of bocce balls that players should purchase.

Over the years, there has been constant discussion about what the official bocce ball set is. There are many theories out there about what size each person feels is the official size, when, in fact, bocce balls sizes have ranged from 3” diameter to 6” diameter.

{Not sure about the 6" diameter. That seems awfully big. Maybe a lawn bowl (not round) has a 6" diameter from top to bottom. EPCO makes all kinds of balls, billiard balls, bowling balls, bocce balls.}

There has never been one “Official” bocce organization that has represented bocce around the world or has set standards and specifications of bocce balls.

{ When he says there has never been one "Official" organization I think he is referring to the US, where there have been some different ones over the years. Internationally, the Confederation Mondiale Sports Boules (C.M.S.B) governs lawn bowls, volo, raffa, and petanque and recommends specifications and standards for balls.}

Recently the U.S. Bocce Federation has become one of the most recognized and accepted organizations that is attempting to standardize specifications for tournament play.

{This is right on. The USBF has taken my suggestion from many years ago to use "The governing body of bocce in the United States" as their tag line. It's on the revamped website. I got the idea from the Amateur Softball Association (A.S.A.) which uses "The governing body of amateur softball in America".}

Effective immediately, EPCO will begin manufacturing the model 4200, 107 mm, (approx. 4.2”) 920 grams, (approx. 2 lbs.) bocce ball in an assortment of models. The only other size manufactured will be the model 4500, 114 mm (4.5”), 1156 grams (2.5 lbs.). We still have a stock of other sizes that will be phased out as supplies run out."

{EPCO is located in Massachusetts and may be the only bocce ball manufacturer in the USA. Does any reader know of another? I believe that most of the bocce balls sold in sporting goods stores and department stores are made in China.

Anyway, it appears that this is a step toward standardizing the 107 mm, 920 g ball for raffa in the USA. The high-end Italian made balls from Perfetta (distributed in the USA by Playaboule), and Martel (distributed in the USA by meet those exacting specs.

I know that in some areas where they play the backboard live, they like a larger and heavier ball (like the 114 mm and 1156 g one alluded to above) that they can bounce off the back wall and have it carom back toward the target ball. In effect, they hit to point. One player joked that, by the time they need a new set of bocce balls, the old ones are so beat up that they are now probably 107s.}




We should all be card carrying members. Every club should be affiliated. For the sport to gain the attention it needs we need to boast of many thousands of members. Download a USBF Membership Application here: . or REGISTER/RENEW ON LINE AT HTTP://WWW.BOCCE.COM}



Click the link below to learn more...

Perfetta is back in stock at Playaboule!

Photos of the week
This week's photos were submitted by Fayetteville, Pennsylvania's Bob Gross who created the Bocceboard. They show yet another variation of how our game is played.

Whenever I hear about an unusual way to play bocce, it makes me think two different things. First I think "What a mess our game is in this country. So many variations, so many different rules and styles of play. No standardization."

Then I muse..."Isn't it amazing how our game survives, flourishes, and transcends all the idiosyncrasies and nuances of play? So many can find so many different ways to enjoy what is for most, a classic game of one-upmanship. How can I get my ball to end up closer to the target than yours?"

Says Bob, "I decided to submit a few pics I know you will either find funny or totally against the laws of bocce.

As you can see, we play many teams at one time. Three balls each. We also have two other balls in play. One, the koosh, is a penalty ball. If your ball hits it, you put a dollar on the ground (Winner gets koosh money). The other is the cannon (kill) ball. If your ball hits the cannon, the ball is out for the game. This certainly quickly reduces the number of balls on the court. And yes, just like my bocceboard game, we use 45 degree corners. FYI We actually play regulation too."

{To view the Bob's Bocceboard, click: }

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Holiday gift ideas for the bocce lover in your life...

Will ship same day. I've listed some items in order of price, so you can decide how much you want to spend and then maybe pick an item.

Two things I rarely post are bocce ball bags with the Joy of Bocce embroidered logo and chamois (bocce towels) also with the embroidered logo.

Of course, I think an autographed copy of The Joy of Bocce would be a great gift. Make sure to think up a really cool inscription for me to include.

Click the link below to view the items...

Click for a holiday bocce shopping experience...

Non bocce product of the week
{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}

Shop today!

Shop Today!

Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!

SEND INFO - WE'LL POST - NO CHARGE - SEND ME A PDF (File for me to post).

Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.


Please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


January 23, 2010 - Arizona - Phoenix. Arizona American Italian Club (AAIC) is hosting an 8 team tournament. For information and/or registration forms call Frank McCune at 602-957-8720.


January 30, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. RAFFA 3 PLAYERS. Contact Mike Crocce @ 209-466-0541.


February 20, 2010 - California - Campo di Bocce of Los Gatos. OPEN - 2 MEN 2 WOMEN. Contact Ben Musolf @ 408-857-0074.


February 27, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. Maureen Albanese Valentines Tournament. OPEN - 2 MEN 2 WOMEN. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


March 27, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS, 2 Men & 1 Woman. Contact Romano Lotti @209-951-8256.


April 3, 2010 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. OPEN 4 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


April 10, 2010 - California - Campo di Bocce of Los Gatos - OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact Bill Schlaefer @ 408- 379-9409.


April 17, 2010 - California - IACC South City. OPEN - 3 PLAYERS. Contact Aldo Peruzzi @ 650-583-8904.


May 1, 2010 - California - San Mateo PIASC. RAFFA 3 MEN PLAYERS. Contact Adriano Undorte at 650-591-3318.


May 1, 2010 - California - San Mateo PIASC. OPEN 4 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


May 8, 2010 - California - Stockton Waterloo. OPEN 4 PLAYERS. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


May 15, 2010 - California - Fairfield. OPEN, 4 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Wayne Little @ 707-864-1023.


May 15, 2010 - California - Aquatic Park. VOLO, 3 PLAYERS. Contact Benji Tosi @ 415-238-2995.


May 22, 2010 - California - Sacramento. East Portal. RAFFA, 3 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


May 29, 2010 - California - Carmel Valley. OPEN, 4 PLAYERS. Contact Giovanni Napoli @ 831-521-5092.


June 4 - 6, 2010. Pennsylvania - New Castle. 1st Annual 4 Man Bocce Tournament - Cascade Park Bocce Facilities. $4000 1st. Place. Contact Mitchie @ 724-333-6385. More Info at


June 5, 2010 - California - IACC South City. RAFFA, 2 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Ginger Hanley @ 650-271-6009.


June 6, 2010 - California - IBS Sutter Creek. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. At Least 1 Woman. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


June 12, 2010 - California - IAC Stockton. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.

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