When bocce was added as a state level Special Olympics sport in Minnesota in 2002, 18 athletes participated. Today thirty-four Minnesota delegations currently offer athletes the opportunity to train and compete in bocce. In fact, next to soccer and golf, bocce is the third most participated sport in the world.
In bocce, athletes roll a bocce ball to get closer to the target ball (called the pallina) than their opponents. Athletes can participate as individuals and/or on a doubles team (two Special Olympics athletes) or on a unified team that consists of one Special Olympics athlete and one partner. As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level, age and gender.
Where and When
- This year bocce is moving to Thursday evenings, still at Heritage Middle School (121 Butler Avenue, West St Paul — outdoors on the west side of gymnasium building). Practice will be from 6:00 pm-7 pm (or thereabouts depending on weather).
- Most importantly, we need to measure our athletes’ skill level so that we can register them and ensure that they are properly divisioned.
- We will be measuring athletes for scores on June 28 and July 5 (see below) with our first actual practice on June 12. (See Below)
- On our measuring dates athletes are free to go once they’ve been scored but we will have one court set up for those who want to throw a few practice balls or put together an unsupervised game.
- Our first competition is the Area 12 Bocce Tournament on Monday, July 30 so that doesn’t give us much time to prepare. Hopefully athletes can attend most of our practices.
Before we can register our athletes, we need to measure everyone’s skill level (including Unified Partners) to make sure our athletes are in proper divisions in competition. To do this, each athlete needs to throw eight bocce balls at three different targets. This is a lengthy process, so we will use our first few practices to complete this. Choose one of the three nights of practice to get measured, and when you’re done, you can leave or stay to cheer on your fellow athletes.
How Measuring Works
To measure our athletes, we give them eight bocce balls and show them a target. The athlete rolls the eight balls and then we measure only the three balls that are closest to the target. Athletes are measure at 30′, 40′, and 50′. (Modified bocce ball athletes are measured at 20′, 30′, and 40′.)
The bocce team participates in two competitions: the Area Meet and the State Competition. Athletes must participate in the Area Meet if they plan to advance to the State Competition.
Monday, July 30
Hidden Greens Golf Course
12977 200th St E
Hastings, MN 55033
State Bocce Tournament
Saturday-Sunday, September 22-23
HealthEast Sports Center
4125 Radio Dr
Woodbury, MN 55129
It is important for athletes to register for participation, whether competing in both the area and state level competitions, or just at the area meet. Don’t forget you also need an up-to-date application with Special Olympics of Minnesota.
Choose one or two events
- Doubles (two athletes playing together) *
- Unified Partners (one athlete and one partner without a disability) *
* you can only choose one of these two
Liza Cuchna, Head Coach