For the last several months, Iyla Winterfeldt has offered a different sort of IPA to new members and possible future members of the Edmonds Petanque Club. This IPA is not one you will find behind the bar at the Church Key Pub. Rather, this IPA is known affectionately as “Iyla’s Petanque Academy,” Completely on her own initiative Iyla has scheduled multi-week classes in the Basics of Petanque for players new to the game, and each class has graduated proudly in a mini ceremony in which Iyla celebrates the progress players have made. Instead of a diploma, each graduate receives an official EPC red cochonnet and a chocolate treat.

Graduates Margaret, Bob, and Leslye (right) celebrate with club founder Michelle Martin

Iyla explains that she developed the idea for her course after experiencing some uncertainty and awkwardness when she first joined the petanque club and started to play. Where do you stand? How do you hold the ball? How do you aim? Can you talk during the game? Without the benefit of a simple beginner’s course, Iyla learned the answer to these and other basic questions on the fly or by playing with, as she puts it, “the big boys and girls.” That was not always easy, and Iyla was at times uncertain of how to improve. She decided to offer others what she had found missing in her opening season of petanque play, including instructions on how to select boules and where to purchase equipment. And how to join the EPC and the WhatsApp chain.

Mollie is now ready to play with “the big boys and girls”

Students in Iyla’s course receive a gentle series of instructions about the most basic points of play before they move on to more complicated strategies related to playing along the string boundaries and working on bump shots to advance a ball, for instance. For a textbook, Iyla has relied heavily on a book called Petanque, The Greatest Game You Never Heard Of! by B.W. Putnam. She also has students print out copies of the rules and the EPC Etiquette Guidelines from the club website.

Petanque. The Greatest Game You Never Heard Of.

At this week’s final class meeting, before their graduation, Iyla continued to sharpen her students’ skills. She teaches socratically, asking, “Before you throw, why do you need to mark the circle?” and later, “Now where did you land your ball? How will you change your landing spot on your next throw?” Rejean and Elizabeth made adjustments accordingly and were happy to see better results. At the end of their course, they not only know how to play; but they also have the confidence to jump into pick-up games with others. They know where to stand and how to throw and also how to extend the positive lessons of the IPA to other new players they meet at the courts. THANK YOU, IYLA!!

Rejean, Elizabeth, and Iyla at this week’s graduation
Graduate Simone and her new cochonnet