1. A single boule. This is familiar to all of us. The need to shoot the only boule on the piste is a required skill in Petanque and the varying distances replicate game lengths. The target boule is to be shot with points awarded thus; One point for a hit. Three points if the target boule leaves the circle. Five points for a careau. No points if the boule thrown lands outside the circle and continues into the circle to hit the target.
The aim is to hit the boule. It looks simple and as you start at the shortest distance the very first shot you play in the session can be the hardest to do in reality. Why do most teams shift the jack to 6 metres when playing? It is because shooting at 6 metres can be very difficult. Getting the boule up in the loop and then down again to hit the boule is tricky. The natural distance for most players is 7 to 8 metres. This gives time for the boule to be released from the hand with power to hit the target. Shorter distances mean most people take away the power, but that can take away direction and can cause a floppy shot without length. With any shot over a short distance try replacing power with backspin. This will keep the power in the boule so the shot is under control and may help the carreau. The other fact that over a short distance the back swing gets shorter. It should not! Just because the arm is a long way back does not mean the throw has to be hard. Difficult to do but comes with practice. Also, no pressure but everyone expects you to hit the first boule as it is seen to be the easiest! Prepare that it is not. Concentration is required though out the whole session however a miss here is not a disaster. In fact most players miss this boule.
Common faults at this stage are
1.Foot faults. Many, many players lift a foot or step out of the circle before the boule hits the ground. A habit many get away with during a game as not many players are looking at your feet. In the shooting competition you have two umpires, one who’s sole (get it?) purpose is to watch your feet. Habits can be hard to brake and a carreau at this point taken away because a foot fault is difficult to take. As an aside I watched one of the top shooters in the country set themselves up in the circle to shoot and just before the boule left their hand they took a step forward out of the front of the circle. This must have been part of their shooting routine as they did it without fail every time. This would be difficult to stop in a shooting competition making the shooter feel ill at ease and possibly putting it down to nerves when in effect they are doing something they have never practices or carry out as a matter of habit. Shooting with both feet in the circle, Unnatural ?
2. Distractions from the equipment. The first length at 6 metres is not too band but once you step back for shots at 7 and 8 the equipment springs into view and can be distracting. If you can practice by shooting over items on the ground so you can focus only on the boule and not the strange layouts on the ground during the competition
3 Shoot and miss then step back and shoot again is not something you ever will do in a game unless the boule and jack have jumped off together into the distance. The shot and then reset at a different length must be practised.