TOPICS: Where can a player stand while his or her partner is throwing? Is it legal to use one’s foot to point out the target for a boule about to be thrown? Can a partner stand by the jack showing a target even while a teammate is throwing?

Greetings Friends,

A shorter edition of “Ask the Umpire” this month. No doubt you are muttering your gratitude, LOL.

Lolli asks: “When a team player walks out to the pig [jack/cochonnet] and uses their foot to show the pointer where to point to, how long can they leave their foot there?”

This is an excellent question, which begs additional questions. For example:

1) Is it legal to use your foot (or other body part) to guide your partner to throw their boule to a particular landing spot or terminus on the terrain?

2) Can you stand in or near the throwing lane if your partner is standing in the ring?

3) Is it bad etiquette (“bad form” as the English may say) to be targeting your partner’s throws for them?

I’ll answer these IN REVERSE ORDER, but first, a word from our sponsor, the insurance firm of Don T Killem & Mai Mem.

Always consider SAFETY FIRST when throwing from the ring &/or when standing near the path of boules in motion.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

3) Is this “bad form”? Depends upon whom you ask. Some traditionalists may say, “Hey, you can’t do that!” ‘Throwbackians’ I like to call ’em. I’m one of those throwbacks. Just ask my step kids. Truth is, pointing to a spot on the terrain with one’s foot is a beneficial tool in teaching novices. Also, I have seen many advanced players do it in tournaments. I have also seen players get upset with those who do it. Rhetorically, if you consider your team ‘advanced’ then why make such a rudimentary act? So, before pointing with your toes like a ballerina, maybe consider how it may be viewed by your opponents. Also, one shouldn’t make presumptions for your partner. They may not want your direction as to where to throw.

2) Can you stand in or near the throwing lane? If your team has control of the ring, you can stand anywhere. Of course, heed the advice of our sponsor — SAFETY FIRST.

1) Is it legal? Yes. Art. 16 specifies “The player must not use any object or draw a line on the ground to guide them in playing a boule or mark its landing point.” I have been told by a national umpire that one’s foot is NOT considered an ‘object’**; ergo, it is legal.

However, one must obey Art. 10: “…forbidden for players to press down, displace or crush any obstacle…especially in the case of sweeping in front of the boule…” “…a player…may fill a [meaning just one] hole…made by one boule played previously.”

** Personally, IMO, one’s shoe could be considered an object, but that’s another rabbit hole we shan’t go down today. We’ll fill in that divot for now, ahem.

To answer Lolli’s question directly (…how long can they leave their foot there?):

To make their throw, each player is limited to 1-minute:

a) from the time the jack stops, or

b) from the time the last boule thrown stops, or

c) from the completion of a measurement

So, the partner can leave their foot there (if obeying Art.10 about ground tampering) for whichever is earliest: 1-minute, or until the thrown boule, or those boules or jack it may contact, come to rest.

So, folks, thanks for watching. Let’s try and keep this a two-way program. Looking forward to more Qs for the next edition.

Cheers, and let’s please have some questions for our next edition sent to

Kindest regards,

G Conyers

The preceding rules interpretations are offered by EPC member Greg Conyers, NW Regional Umpire. They represent Greg’s interpretation of current petanque rules. Other umpires’ opinions may differ.