Petanque Piste – Diagram With Sizes and Dimensions

Petanque piste diagram

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A Thorough Examination of a Petanque Piste

Petanque may be a game that is especially recognized in France. However, there are numerous official organizations all over the world showing that the sport has, indeed, grown in popularity. Europe, the United States, North and South Africa, several countries in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand all play petanque at varying levels. Petanque is played on a relatively unfussy court or piste as it is a game that is typically readily adaptable to a number of environments. Here is some interesting information regarding the dimensions and the history of the petanque piste:

Dimensions of a Petanque Piste

A petanque court is rectangular, with the length almost four times longer than the width. The dimensions of this court are pretty basic. The length is 15m long with the width being just 4m wide. These are the measurements that are required for National Championships as well as International Competitions, however.

For smaller, local competitions, the ruling organization may allow the court to be smaller. There are still regulated minimal dimensions for such a court. This type of court cannot have a length that is less than 12m or a width that is narrower than 3m.

In an unofficial piste, the most important aspect of the court is the length. This is what tends to remain consistent across the board. The width, on the other hand, can change more drastically, without there being a significant impact to the game. This means that it can be anywhere from 3m up to 9 meters, depending on how many teams are playing on a single surface.

Not all official petanque courts have boundaries. If there are barriers outlining the perimeter, however, these need to be at least 1m away from the piste. There is no recommendation for how high or low the barriers need to be.

If you are familiar with petanque, then you know that players need to stand in a circle when tossing the boule. In most instances, this circle is drawn by the players. If so, the circle cannot have a diameter smaller than 35cm or larger than 50cm. If the circle is pre-drawn, it has to have an internal diameter of 50cm. According to official regulations, the diameter of this circle can be smaller or larger by no more than 2mm.

What is a Petanque Piste Made From?

Petanque can be played on numerous surfaces and there aren’t any official specifications. Of course, governing authorities maintain the right for the playing surfaces for National and International Championships to be played on particular surfaces.

The only real requirements for a petanque piste is that the playing surface shouldn’t be overly flat or smooth. This is to ensure that the boule moves in an adequate manner down the piste. Typically, however, the game is not played on grassy surfaces due to the interference from the blades and root.

Compacted earth sprinkled liberally with crushed rock or gravel is what most playing surfaces consist of. While this may seem odd, there is a reason behind this. This is because this is the type of surfaces that people in France play the game on. Over there, people would play on sidewalks and empty fields just as soon as they would play on reserve piste.

That being said, there are certain community spots in other countries that do have more constructed bouledromes. These may be covered or even take place indoors (boulodrome couvert). Or, they could be in open air (boulodrome exterieur). The one thing that such boulodromes do have in common are the lanes. Each piste is separated by low barriers so that multiple people can play in their own lanes at the same time.

The Evolution of the Petanque Piste

For once, it is actually possible to pinpoint almost precisely where the game of Petanque was invented. This game is a direct descendent of the once-loved Jeu Provencal. This game was particularly popular in La Ciotat in France, where the local boulodromes were always filled with excited players.

Now, these early boulodromes bore a stark similarity to the ones that remain today. Since the games took place outside of cafes and various other local spots, they were played outside, on dusty, compacted dirt. There was also no clear boundaries. In fact, the closest that many of these boulodromes had to a wall were the spectators that lined the sides of the game.

Many older players, in particular, an individual known as Jules LeNoir, found it difficult to keep up with all of the jumping involved in Jeu Provencal. One of LeNoir’s close friends, Ernest Pitiot, was the owner of a café where such games were held. It was Pitiot who suggested that LeNoir continues playing “pied tanques” or feet planted. This phrase is what led to the name petanque. Even as petanque grew in popularity and overshadowed Jeu Provencal, it was still played on the same surface.

In France, at least, the petanque piste has not really changed so much. The original playing surface was perfect for the first few games and continues to be ideal for the game today. The only real changes that have been made are in countries with weather that is quite different to that of France. For instance, countries such as England that receive a lot of rain, have to create layered petanque pistes with a drain at the bottom. This is so that when it does rain, the water is drained away from the piste and playing can resume quickly.

This is becoming a trend not just in bouledromes but also in homes. This is because more and more people are actually setting up petanque courts in their backyards. This is partially why the court has been modified in such a way. Of course, the petanque courts in homes tend to be larger or smaller than the official dimensions.

Are There Other Courts Similar to the Petanque Piste?

From the sheer look of it, a petanque piste is perhaps most similar to that of the bocce court. The games, too, do have certain resemblances to one another. One of the ways that a bocce court is similar to that of a petanque piste is that they are both narrow but with considerable lengths.

A piste and the bocce court are almost the same with as most courts are between 3 and 4m long. The court, however, is much longer than a piste. The length can measure between 23 and 30m in length. Bocce courts also tend to be a great deal smoother than a piste and usually don’t have any debris on the ground. Therefore, it may be a little more difficult to play a game of petanque on a bocce court. At the same time, such a thing is not necessarily inconceivable.

This is a look at a petanque piste, a game although is relatively modern, does have its roots in a very old game. Petanque does have the distinction of remaining largely unchanged over the years. This is not just in the way that the game is played. No, even the petanque piste is essentially the same as it was all those years ago. Of course, now, the game is not restricted to France. Instead, people all around the world take part in daily games as well as official tournaments.

Last updated on November 24, 2017