Picking up petanque is a relatively easy thing. The rules are quick to learn, and it doesn’t take long to get a grasp on how to properly play the game. But there is a lot to learning the proper way to shoot effectively.
There is a good way of practicing and that is to keep three different goals in mind: form, accuracy, and consistency. This takes a little bit of time and a lot of practice to properly accomplish but can result in more effective shooting for players of all skill ranges.
The first thing to work on is your form. It is simple to say that no one will throw well if their form is off. In order to get your form right, it means understanding what good form looks like and how to throw with which type of form.
Learning form can be done by watching videos of the best in action. There are plenty of great players out there whose form you can observe. See what they do with their feet, their knees, their shoulders, how their backswing looks, what they are doing in their backswing, and more.
It is also important to note that not every form will be for you. There are some forms that are easier to mimic, especially if you are a newer player. Sticking with the forms that are most comfortable to mimic is a great place to start for any player, no matter their skill level.
It also helps to have proper feedback on your efforts. The only way to know how far your form has come is to hear from someone who knows petanque. Have a coach observe you while you practice so that they can point out where the issues in your form may still be. It is the best way to find consistency in your form. Speaking of consistency…
No matter what your form looks like, it is vital to find consistency somewhere along the way. When the form is workable, then you can strive towards consistency with each of your throws. You want them to become as uniform as possible to deliver the kind of results that you can count on regularly.
In order to improve consistency, you can create a shooting pit. Use a pair of ribbons that are stretched across the shooting pit, roughly at head height and just above. Try to throw at a regular consistent height. By doing so, then you gain more control over the point in your swing where the boule gets released.
When being able to throw it the same consistent distance, then you get to gain control over the strength and speed of the throw. By implementing ribbons into your practice arena, it makes you more aware of how high you are actually throwing. This, in turn, allows you to have a better idea of what a desirable height is for each of your throws.
In any sport, the key to consistency and accuracy is through repetition. The greatest athletes of all-time didn’t just wake up and start doing that. It took them years and years of repetitive practice in order to develop that kind of consistency.
The final step to becoming a quality shooter is to work on your accuracy. When you have a workable form and enough control to throw consistently, it then becomes about being as accurate as possible. You want the boule to go right where you want it, right?
This requires a ton of practice. As stated in the section above, repetition is the best way to create consistent accuracy. When you throw, make sure you pay attention to where the boule lands compared to where you meant for it to go.
Consider the accuracy. Was it too long, too short, to the left, to the right? Be sure to watch each time that you throw. Stand at a fixed distance and throw until you can get the accuracy down. Then move around and practice from those different depths.
Practice is not a matter of mental aptitude, it is about developing muscle memory. You need to build the strength and regularity of motion that can allow you to put the boule precisely where you want it to go each time.
The key to becoming an effective player in petanque is to become a quality shooter. If you have been struggling with your form or are new to the game, then it helps to work on your form.
Before long, you will have the tools to become a quality petanque player. The more accurate that you can be in your shots, the better you will be as a player. Take the steps to making yourself a better-rounded player from start to finish.