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Everyone has their own unique way of playing bocce. Read below to learn ATLBocce's rules.
This most recent set of rules goes into effect during the winter 2024 season.

Our first and most important rule is to have fun! Like all recreational sports, everyone comes out for a good time, so please exercise sportsmanship!


Playing the Game

Each frame is played with one smaller target ball (pallino) and eight larger balls (bocce) – four for each team, each team with a different color. The pallino is tossed underhand past the mid-court line and must be at least 1 foot from the side boards and 2 feet from the back wall on the opposite side of the court. The pallino may bounce off sideboards on the toss. The player who tossed the pallino rolls the first bocce ball. 


If the initial bocce ball hits the back wall on the opposite side of the court, that team must roll again. Otherwise, the player steps aside and their team does not roll again until the opposing team has either gotten one of its bocce balls closer to the pallino or has thrown all of its balls.


The team whose bocce balls are closest to the pallino is called "inside" and the opposing team "outside." Whenever a team gets inside, it steps aside and lets the outside team roll. The team outside throws until it beats (not ties) the opposing ball. This continues until both teams have used all their bocce balls (a total of 8, 4 from each team). The team that scores last throws the pallino to begin the next frame.


The pallino may be knocked anywhere on the court but not out of the court, in which case the frame would end and play would restart from the opposite side. Any ball knocked out of the court is considered dead.


Starting a Match

Determine who goes first by playing rock, paper, scissors between the two captains. The winner determines the end from which play will start, has the first toss of the pallino, and chooses the color of their team’s bocce balls. In the playoffs, the higher seeded team has those privileges.


Dead Balls

  • If a player's bocce ball makes contact with the back board without being thrown and first touching the pallino, the bocce ball is considered a dead ball on impact and is removed from play until the end of the frame.

  • If a dead ball strikes a stationary bocce ball after hitting the backboard, that stationary bocce shall be replaced in its original position. The thrown ball is removed from play.

  • If the thrown ball comes to rest on the pallino or another ball that is touching the back wall, that thrown ball remains in play. The ball touching the back wall is removed from play. If the pallino is touching the back wall it remains in play.


foul line violations
A player crosses the foul line when he or she crosses into the playing court during their toss. Players may step on but not over the foul line before releasing the pallino or bocce ball. If a player crosses the foul line, the pallino will need to be thrown again or the bocce ball needs to be removed from play. PLEASE NOTE: Some locations allow players to step onto the court to throw.


Disputes and measurements
The teams playing will referee their own game. Any dispute which cannot be resolved by the team captains shall be decided by a League Referee. Upon their decision, the game shall continue. All measurements should be made from the inside dimensions of the bocce ball to the top of the pallino.

If both teams agree on which team has the point and it is later determined that a mistake has been made, all balls played are valid. If both teams have balls remaining, the team that does not have the closest ball to the pallino rolls again. If all balls have been played, points are awarded based on the balls that are actually closest to the pallino in accord with the "Scoring" rule.


The object in each frame of the game is to get as many of your team’s bocce balls closer to the pallino than the opposing team’s closest bocce ball. When all balls have been played, this concludes the frame and one team is awarded a single point for each of its balls that is closer to the pallino than the closest opposing team's ball. Thus, a team may score up to four points per frame. If the closest ball of each team is equal in distance from the pallino, the team with the next closest ball gets a single point.

For example, if at the end of a frame there are 2 green balls closer to the pallino than the next closest red ball, the green team receives 2 points. The team that scores in a frame starts the next frame by throwing out the pallino and playing their first ball. Play continues until a team wins by reaching a score of 15 points. No team can score more than 15 points in a match. 

**Have trouble keeping track of the score? Download the free Scoreholio app to ensure there are no scoring discrepancies.**



Play continues until a team wins by reaching a score of 15 points. No team can score more than 15 points in a match. 



The schedule for each week is posted on the schedule page at  Play time is 45 minutes beginning at the start of the scheduled match time and includes warm-ups. Please check-in with your league referee each week when you arrive.  

**ATLBocce reserves the right to extend or shorten the season due to rain outs - ATLBocce Weather Policy and Hotline



Each season is a total of 7 weeks. Upon registration, you commit to seven weeks of bocce played on the same day each week. We do not reschedule matches once the schedule has been posted before the season begins. Before registration closes, you may submit a scheduling request, and we will try our best to accommodate. 


regulation games
A regulation game lasts 45 minutes from the designated start time or until one team reaches 15 points. If no team has reached 15 within the allotted time, the team with the higher score wins. This helps to keep our schedules running on time. If the two teams are tied after regulation, one additional frame will be played to determine the winner. 

A game is official once one team reaches 7 points.



Each match is allotted 45 minutes. A team will forfeit their match if at least two players do not show up within 15 minutes of their scheduled playing time or do not provide 24 hours notice awarding the opposing team the win. If a team shows up within the allotted 15 minutes, the team will not receive extra time to play, and must complete the match in the remaining 45 minute allocated match time. A forfeited match results in a score of 15-5. If both teams fail to show up by the 15 minute forfeit window, the result will be a tie score of 0-0.


player requirements and substitutions

A minimum of 2 players (21+ years old) per team must be present to play. We recommend teams of 4 to 6 players to ensure enough players each week. You may substitute players after a frame has concluded. No team may compete with less than 2 players present.  If a player arrives late, they cannot substitute in the middle of a frame.  

*This is a co-ed league.  A mix of male and female players is encouraged but not required.*


illegal roster substitutions

If two or more registered players are available, no non-registered substitutions are permitted. This may result in a forfeit.  All players must be 21 years of age or older.

*The last day to add a player to your roster is the Friday of week 3.*


league equipment

All matches must be played with the equipment provided by our host venue or ATLBocce. Personal bocce sets may not be used during league play.


league playoffs
The top 8 teams from the regular season will compete during a one-night, single elimination tournament (week 7) at their league location. A playoff schedule will be determined based on the regular season standings after the final week of regulation play (week 6) and posted on the website.

qualifying for state tournament

Each first place team from the regular season will automatically qualify for the State Tournament. The finalists from the location playoff will receive an invite to the State Tournament. If the first place team from the regular season is a finalist in the playoffs, the third place team will receive the invite. Third place will be awarded to the team that competes and loses in the semi-final round at the location playoffs but holds the highest seeding in the regular season standings between the two semi-final round losing teams. 


player eligibility
All players must be 21 years of age or older.
All players must be properly registered through the Atlanta Bocce League website, All players must agree to a player release waiver.

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