The History of Boccia

General History:

The word Boccia comes from the Italian word meaning to bowl, and this family of sports is probably among some of the earliest games played by man, with carvings of Egyptians throwing stones as early as 5200BC. Later on the Italians carved the balls out of wood. In 1897 the Boccia Union of Piemonte, in Rivoli, was founded, then 22 years later the Italian Boccia Union was formed in Torino. Boccia has been a Paralympic sport since 1984, and the balls are now made of leather and filled with polystyrene beads.

Today, Boccia is played competitively at National and International level by athletes who require a wheelchair because of their disability.  In it's current form Boccia was originally played by athletes with Cerelbal Palsy, but now includes athletes with other disabilities which affect motor skills.  Today, Boccia is a fully inclusive sport suitable for everybody regardless of age, sex and ability, and predominately for athletes with disabilities that impact on motor skills. At Paralympic level, Boccia is one of only two sports that do not have an Olympic counterpart. Goalball is the other.

Boccia is a target ball game and is in the same family as the French game of Petanque/Boules or the British game of Indoor Bowls.  It is played from a sitting position and the balls may be rolled, thrown or pushed with the foot.  If a player's disability is more severe an assistive ramp may be used.  This means that the game is ideal for wheelchair users, walking aid users etc. 

Herne Bay Boccia:

Herne Bay Boccia club was started on 1st March 2013 after Sheila Appleton, who has been disabled since 2007, saw it played on TV at the 2012 London Olympics. Sheila and her husband Derek found a small club in Dover and went to play there a few times, before thinking that there may well be people living in the Herne Bay area who may enjoy playing the game as much as they did themselves.

Boccia is a very social game, is a way of meeting new people in a safe and social environment as well as playing a competitive sport.

Boccia can be played individually, in pairs or in teams of six , and as we at Herne Bay Boccia are members of Boccia England, the governing body in Great Britain, our members have the opportunity to progress further into annual competitions as individuals or as team members.