Overview of Boccia

Boccia (‘Bot-cha’) is a Paralympic sport introduced in 1984.

It is a precision ball sport requiring accuracy and strategy.

Athletes may throw, kick or use a ramp to propel a ball onto the court.

Boccia was originally designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy but now includes individuals with a range of impairments that affect motor skills.

It is played indoors on a court similar in size to a badminton court.

Boccia can be played by individuals, pairs, or teams of three.

Often confused with Bocce (‘Bot-chee’) the Special Olympic version of the game.

Boccia is one of only a few sports that has no Olympic counterpart.

Boccia is unique in the fact that anyone can play despite of age, height, weight, or disability etc.

Boccia is now practiced in over 50 countries worldwide.

All events are mixed gender.

Basic Rules

The aim of the game is to get closer to the jack than your opponent
The jack ball (the target) is white and is thrown first.
One side has six red balls and the other has six blue balls.
The balls are leather containing plastic granules so they don’t bounce but roll.
The side whose ball is not closest to the jack throws until they get a ball closest or until they run out of balls.
Once all the balls have been thrown one side receives points for every ball they have closer to the jack than their opponents closest ball.


Players are able to use their hands or feet to consistently propel a ball into play. BC1 players may have an aide on court to stabilise or adjust their playing chair and pass them their ball before each shot.
Players are able to use their hands to consistently propel a ball into play and have greater functional ability than a BC1 player. No assistance permitted.
Players with severe locomotor dysfunction in all four limbs who are unable to throw or kick a ball into play and as such are permitted to use an assistive device such as a ramp to propel the ball into play. BC3 players are supported by an assistant (‘ramper’), who must keep their back to the court and their eyes averted from play.
Players in this class have locomotor dysfunction of all four extremities as well as poor trunk control. They can demonstrate sufficient dexterity to throw the ball onto the court. Players are not eligible for assistance.
This class is for players with less impairment than a BC2 or BC4. The impact of the impairment is on the throwing arm with fine motor skills and dexterity affected. Players will have locomotor dysfunction affecting all four limbs.

* Please note that this classification is currently being trialled at international level and we await confirmation of its acceptance at international events.

** BC5 Classification is being introduced with the clear understanding that it is unlikely to be included in the Paralympic Games due to the restriction on the number of athletes who are permitted to participate in the Games.

Boccia Ireland has introduced this classification for players who wish to compete at national level but who are not eligible under the BISFed classifications (BC1-BC5). Players in this classification must have a permanent impairment affecting their upper limbs.
As suggested by the title, this class is open to all Boccia Ireland members, regardless of disability or not. This classification allows any member to challenge any other member to a match. Players from different classifications may play each other in this OPEN class.

This is more for fun competition and encourages family members, friends and supporters to get involved and try out the sport.
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