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Petanque, the five things you can do for the perfect throw 2. Grip

2. Grip

Get a grip!

We are looking at the aspects of the throw when pointing. The reality is the player throwing the boule only has control of the boule while they are holding and throwing it. All the leaning over in the circle and scuffing the feet once the boule has left the hand is irrelevant, amusing, but irrelevant. The boule will take the course you gave it, apart from the odd kick off a stone etc. So how do you increase the control of the boule. Earlier we have looked at the correct size of boule. Using the correct size will enable you to hold the boule through the backswing. Be patient we will look at backswing later. When you arm brings the boule forward it is very important the boule does not slip in the hand. This can lead to the player gripping the boule more firmly during the throw. When the grip is applied it can be very difficult to then let the boule go. The throw from backswing to release is over very quickly. Trying to grip a slipping boule during the throw will cause the throw to be jerky and cause elbow and wrist issues. So with your own boule, after you have warmed up, hold it in your hand palm uppermost to ensure a good grip and a comfortable hold on the boule. Settle the boule into the hand. The boule should fit in the hand so it does not feel like it is slipping out of the hand when held at arms length with the palm facing down as in the photo. The boule should rest on the fingers when the boule is being thrown so as the arm comes forward the centrifugal force acting on the boule is pushing the boule onto the fingers. This will lead to a rolling off the finger tips as the boule is released and backspin occurs naturally. The stiffness of the fingers can create more or less backspin. This is a trick most top player’s use to deadly effect. It can be done with practice and can be a useful tool on fast pistes when you want the boule to land and roll. If you have heard the term “soft hands” that is what they are talking about. Generally, if you just let the science take over you will see backspin happening naturally. Relax and let the boule do the work is a mantra I use a lot when playing. The thumb should not be used in the throw. A common mistake is using too bigger boule for your hand so the thumb is required to hold the boule during the throw. As the boule leaves the hand it will drag on the thumb and this can cause side spin on the boule. All very well but be prepared to see the boule spin off at an angle when it hits the ground. A correct throw will see the boule spinning backwards as it leaves the hand.

Little tip. To settle the boule in the hand cup the palm upwards and let the boule find its natural place. Some players pick up a boule as if they are grabbing Pick and Mix from Woolworths (Ask some one older) The grab then turns into a throw and the boule choses which finger it is going to get its back or side spin from. Remember you are in control so let the boule settle before turning the throwing hand over.

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