The Real Rule Changes International Boccia Needs

I submitted my feedback to the proposed BISFED draft rules earlier this month.  In respecting the process that they laid out, I only commented on rule changes that the BISFED Rule Committee had approved and were seeking input on.

I understand that BISFED is a new organisation and is just getting started as an international federation.  The amount of work for the volunteer board and committee members must be overwhelming.  However, I believe that the international boccia rules require a major revision.  I have set out below the changes that I believe should be made.  The response of the community will likely be, “radical changes like these must happen gradually.”  This is an understandable position, but I believe that the suggested changes below should be made immediately to drastically change our sport for the better.

First, the rules are drafted in many different languages and then translated to English, which is the official language of the sport.  The entire rulebook needs to be rewritten by an English-speaking expert in writing, to capture the actual intent of the rules.  The current rules are a nightmare of incorrect grammar, syntax and meaning.

Second, there is now a large push in the international boccia community to speed up the game while not losing the high level of play.  I submit to the community the following suggestions to address this goal, under two headings: Format of Tournaments and Match Rules.

Format of Tournaments

Pool matches should be 2 ends, and direct elimination matches should be 4 ends.

This is a format that I am basing off of international fencing.  In fencing, pool bouts are fenced to 5 points.  After pool play, athletes are ranked, a certain small percentage is eliminated, and the rest move on to direct elimination bouts up to 15 points.

In boccia, we could adopt a similar model.  Pool play could continue as it is implemented now, only 2 ends would be played in pool play, instead of 4.

Abolish the call room.

This format would mean that a call room is no longer necessary.  Now, athletes and teams must report to a call room 30 minutes before a match, or else they are disqualified.  This adds needless complexity to the organisation of a tournament and wastes time.

In the 2 end / 4 end proposal, all athletes in a pool would report to a single court.  As one match finishes, the next would begin seamlessly.  The players would know the order of their match, and if they were not present (in the washroom, warming up etc.) they would forfeit the match.

In the direct elimination round, athletes would report to their designated courts.  If they are not there at the posted start time, they forfeit.

Match Rules

Two-way communication between BC3 athletes and sport assistants should be allowed.

Two-way communication between athletes and sport assistants is now completely forbidden – only athletes can communicate to sport assistants, and sport assistants may not respond in any way, including vocally or with body language.

This rule is far too draconian, and it slows down the game.  This rule also gives an enormous advantage to BC3 athletes who are more verbal.  Two-way communication should simply be allowed.  Sport assistants should continue to not be allowed to look at the court.

Sport assistants now receive Paralympic and World Championship medals.  They are integral to the performance team.  The BC3 / Sport Assistant duo should be treated as a team.  It is not realistic to treat a sport assistant as a piece of equipment.  The result will be a faster and higher level of play.

BC3 sport assistants should be allowed to be the last to touch the ball on release.

The rule that a BC3 athlete must be the last to touch the ball, gives an unfair advantage to BC3 players who are less disabled – the game is now too focused on range of physical motion rather than aim and accuracy.  The length of the ramp should continue to be regulated by the size of the throwing box.

I know that some members of the boccia community think that ramps should be less technical and more standardised.  I have to disagree with this notion.  Figuring out the design of a BC3 athlete’s ramp is a major part of the thrill of the sport.  I think that in general we should allow ramps to be more complex rather than less, with restrictions like lasers, mechanical speed-ups and perhaps levels remaining.

Currently, some athletes are not eligible to play, because they are not able to release the ball with their body or a head pointer.  They are however able to direct a sport assistant to move the ramp, and they have designed a release mechanism that they can release, operated by pulley.  They are ineligible.  The solution should be to allow sport assistants to release the ball.  This would level the playing field, and be fairer for more severely disabled BC3s, especially those with CP.

Individual division time needs to be drastically reduced.  The entire time for a match should be allocated per match, rather than per end.

Most boccia enthusiasts that I know agree that boccia matches are too long, and too much time is spent between throws.  Time should be reduced, and time for the entire match should be allotted at once, to remedy this:

BC3 individual: 20 minutes per side/athlete/team (5 minutes each per end) 4 ends
BC1, BC2 and BC4 individuals: 16 minutes per side/athlete/team (4 minutes each per end) 4 ends

BC1/2 Team: 36 minutes per side/athlete/team (6 minutes each per end) 6 ends
BC3 Pairs: 32 minutes per side/athlete/team (8 minutes each per end) 4 ends
BC4 Pairs: 24 minutes per side/athlete/team (6 minutes each per end) 4 ends

Throws should alternate, rather than be determined by who is furthest from the jack.

Although pétanque and bocce seem to use the same rule for throw order as boccia – the side furthest away throws until it is closer to the target or runs out of balls – lawn bowling, bowls and curling use an alternating system.

I believe that we should adopt an alternating system.  This would drastically speed up a boccia tournament by reducing time spent measuring between shots.  This would also allow for much more creative strategies, and potentially make it much harder to score large amounts of points in a single end.

  • Tom

    awesome overall josh and i do agree on the call up room, it is an unneeded pressure for the athletes and management and interms of publicising the game, having the coin toss in front of a crowd as done in cricket could and would work in my opinion. The BC3 ones are a little to liberal in my opinion. Allowing an assistant to have final touch denotes from the athlete in my opinion as release does affect the ball, roll, thus the assistant is having far too much of an impact on the complexion of an end as opposed to simply enabling the athlete to execute their shot. I agree on the two way communication but it should be monitored, signalling via a head nod when asked if the players chair is in the box for example I think would be fine as players with limited neck movement find this difficult, but anything regarding tactics must not be accepted. Not sure about the alternating shot as you lose the upper hand of the shot, a key tactical aspect to the game. I would like to see an individual shot clock as opposed to a time for all six as it stops the issue of quick players having 2-3 minutes left and slower players really struggling. I think the two end observation is a sensible one and while I’m not sure in what capacity, I really believe Boccia needs more formats. Just my observations from a ramp point of view after a couple of years playing with England!

    • Hey Tom, thanks for the comment. I’ll address some of your other points in responses below, so have a read through.

      I like what you (and others) propose about having the BC3 Sport Assistant be able to nod or motion for minor things, but not tactics. My problem is how could allowing some communication, but not other communication be monitored / enforced? That is why I proposed just allowing communication. How would you see monitoring it?

  • Noel Saint-Paul Handisports

    Bonjour,

    Il y a beaucoup de propositions intéressantes.

    Je conserve la notion de sport pour “handicapé lourd”

    En ce qui concerne le format des manches : les poules de qualifications sont certainement les plus difficiles à passer. Il faut gagner ET marquer des points. Quatre manches donnent une possibilité de se “rattraper”. Je pense à des compétitions régionales. Deux manches réduit le temps mais ne donne plus de chance au handicap les plus lourds.

    -Conserver 4 manches et réduire le temps à 4 mn au lieu de 5 pour BC1/BC2/BC4 et 5 mn pour BC3 comme tu le proposes.

    La communication BC3 assistant doit être plus libre : effectivement, mais il suffit de trouver un juste milieu. Les joueurs ayant des problèmes d’élocution seront toujours désavantagés car il faudra plus de temps pour donner leurs ordres. Donc permettre une communication minimum mais pas trop large.

    Le joueur BC3 ne doit pas devenir un viseur uniquement. A mon avis, il doit continuer à lâcher la balle. Les anglais ont trouvé un système de bande adhésive velcro (scratch je ne sais pas comme on dit chez vous ;o) ) pour retenir la balle. Aux entraîneurs d’être créatifs. L’assistant de jeu ne doit pas devenir le joueur. les joueurs ayant un importante déficience orale sont repéré. L’arbitre peut demander à l’assistant quel moyen de communication il emploi et avec l’accord de l’adversaire valider ce moyen, par exemple.

    L’alternance de jeu, : peut être en paire et team pas en individuel

    La chambre d’appel est un filtre pour s’assurer que les joueurs sont là, éventuellement contrôler le matériel et faire le tirage au sort. Ce n’est pas à l’arbitre de le faire, sinon perte de temps.

    Il serait intéressant de connaître la durée moyenne des matches par catégories et par matches de poules et phases finales. Peut-être travailler sur ces données.

    Personnellement je rajouterai le respect des règles par tous et une attention particulière aux traductions dans les différentes langues.

    La balle lâchée par accident doit tomber dans l’aire de lancement et non dans l’aire de jeu pour être considérée comme un accident. Le règlement laisse à l’arbitre le soin de décider. Soit la balle est dans le jeu, soit elle n’y est pas.

    – Réduire le temps de jeu
    – Autoriser une communication BC3 assistant mais minimum
    – conserver la chambre d’appel
    – conserver les 4 manches dans toutes les phases pour équilibrer les chances

    Ces remarques n’engagent que moi et pas ma fédération.

    Bien cordialement

    Noel

    • Merci bien pour tes commentaires Noel.

      Je pense que j’ai mal expliqué mon idée de 2 manches / 4 manches. J’aimerais que seulement ~20% des athlètes soient illiminés après les poules. En fait, je préfererais qu’aucun athlète sois illiminé au stage des poules, mais que c’est utilisé comme système de classement pour la ronde d’élimination directe. Présentement, ~50% ou plus sont illiminé après les poules.

      Cela mettrait l’emphase sur la victoire ou la défaite, pas sur combien de points sont contés contre le joueur le plus faible dans un poule comme ce l’est souvent présentement.

      À un certain point, un athlète doit performer. Personellement, ca me prend souvent quelques manches ou même matches, avant de m’échaufer physiquement et au niveau de ma confiance. J’aimerais que les matches aient 10 ou 12 manches idéalement, et peut-être qu’on pourrait le faire dans quelques tournois, mais au niveau mondiale, je crois que la solution 2 manches / 4 manches est interéssant.

      Merci encore d’avoir engagé mes idées. J’aime le tien sur les balles échappés. Trop souvent les arbitres vont redonner une balle qui n’a peut-être pas été échappé. C’est pour cela que nous avons besoin des règlements très claires (et bien traduits) pour les et nous guider.

      • Noel St Paul Handisports

        Ok, merci pour la précision.

  • David

    Hi Josh, I’m not sure about any of these rules. The alternate throw will ruin the essence of the game and change the tactics and the way Boccia is played. When designer totally redesigned the Spitfire they called it a brand new name I suggest that would be best. Start a new sport cousin of Boccia. The only rule that I can see working is BC3 communication. The assistant releasing the ball I think takes some ownership away from the athletes. Fencing which isnt really a ball sport so I can’t see why you would compare boccia to it. Snooker, tennis etc all have call rooms or similar. Its better then having players buzzing around courts waiting for rapid change over. I don’t think you can time over a match because of all the things which take place between ends also athletes who struggle to release the ball would be put under more pressure to get rid of ball. Referees would rush and make more mistakes, I think Boccia is lucky to have very fine referees similar to Snooker. The fast format for pool games may work although with only two ends can’t see the payers can be fairly compared.

    • Hi David, thanks so much for the comments. I addressed most of your points in response to other comments, so I hope you have a read through them.

      The comparison for fencing is a direct one on one format. For a three hour tennis match, a call-room makes sense, and I am not sure how long Snooker matches are.

      For BC3 releasing, it would be great to simply allow more creative release mechanisms than head pointers or using the body.

      Time would stop between ends and between shots, like now. I agree that reducing the time, or giving it at once adds some pressure, but boccia is already a game of massive pressure, and the difference, to me it seems, would be like adding a few drops to a bucket.

  • Kristin Dorrance

    Hi Josh,

    As I know you are open to others opinions and want feedback, I am going to post my thoughts on the suggestions you made. I think you did a good job explaining your reasoning, and I hope you will not be offended when I disagree 🙂

    1. Format of matches.
    I would tend to disagree with this format. I understand that it would greatly speed up the process of the game, however, I do not think that this set up is ideal. Having 2 end games only makes it so that people don’t have any chances to make comebacks in the game which makes it less exciting (potentially). Also, trying to look at this from a CP perspective, in many cases, an athlete with CP will have good ends and bad ends solely based on their spasticity. So I would argue that making the games only 2 ends would decrease the accessibility of the sport. As for example a game could be lost based one end because the athlete was bit more spastic during that end.

    2. Abolishing the call room
    While I would agree that the call room is a big organizational task, and that is a waste of time in many cases, I am not sure what you suggest would really solve the problem. Here is why. For smaller venues, space behind the courts in order to do the pre-game coin toss is really not available. Also having the pre-game “stuff” occur behind the court would crowd the playing area and having all that movement around the court would be distracting to the players currently on the court. What I might suggest as a middle ground between what you suggest and the current set-up is that they make the athletes be in the call room closer to the game time (10 minutes perhaps?)

    I would also like to point out that there are many other sports that do something similar to a call room but they need to sign in much earlier than the 15 min that is used in Boccia.

    3. Two-way communication between BC3s and their SAs
    I would have to say that I completely disagree with you on this one. This is coming from someone who has been a BC3 sport assistant for over a year, and I coach nonverbal BC3, so I would like to think i have a fairly good insight on this. You say that this will speed up the game and be more fair to nonverbal athletes. However, unless you are “filtering” the communication, you are opening the door super made for on court coaching by the SA. A verbal athlete could describe the position of the balls and then the SA could tell the athlete what the best possible shot to make is. This is actually more of a disadvantage for the non-verbal athlete, because they would be able to have that sort of conversation during a game.

    The only way I would say that communication on the part of the SA would be fair is to merely ask for clarification, if something isn’t clear (I.e.; an athlete says something that the SA doesn’t understand and he/she says along the lines of “pardon”).

    4. BC3s not the last to touch the ball
    I would say that I understand your position on this one. However, what I might suggest is that this is not specific enough. You have given examples of pulley systems that are not eligible in competition, which I would agree they should be.

    So here is what I propose: BC3 athletes do not need to be the last to touch the ball, so long as an action they perform is responsible for the release of the ball. So this would mean that head pointers, hands and pulley systems could work, as well as maybe a button rigged to release the ball or something that is accessible to the individual athlete’s needs.

    5. Individual division times should be reduced, and allocated per match.
    Ok first of all, I completely agree that the time should be allocated per match. But I do not agree that division times should be reduced for all classes. I understand that many , if not most BC4s are able to finish an end with plenty of time left of their 5 minutes. However this is definitely not the case for all classes. I will explain my reasons.

    a. This does allow any room for asking for multiple measurements during an end, as complex measurements (where the balls are very close) take at least 30 seconds to 1 minute.
    b. Reducing the time neglects that people with CP often have spasms that prevent them from being able to throw the ball. These are rarely in their control. This to me, is making the sport less accessible to more spastic athletes.
    c. Also, many new athletes would have a hard time being able to break into the sport if they have such a small amount of time in the game. For example, a new BC3 athlete has a lot to consider during a match, they are learning their ramp, learning how to communicate with their sport assistant and also must be “in the game” (strategy, etc.). This smaller amount of time would make it very difficult for new athletes to be able to become competitive. Usually as athlete gets more comfortable with their equipment and being on court they do not need as much time per end, but this process takes time and experience.

    6. Alternating throws
    There are many reasons why I don’t really like this concept for Boccia, but since i have been rambling, I will just leave you with a couple thoughts. First, the current throwing order is a key part of the sport, and it truly differentiates the sport from others; it’s what makes Boccia unique. Second, this gives too much emphasis on a “one-ball wonder” , and it inhibits the ability of an athlete to set-up a multi-ball shot. Boccia balls are soft and don’t move like curling rocks, so I’m not sure curling is a fair comparison. Also, this change would change the strategy of the game so drastically that it would essentially be a new hybrid sport, but no really Boccia.

    Anyways, I hope you don’t mind that I was so candid about my opinions on your suggestions. But I hope you enjoy perhaps debating some of these points!

    • Hey Kristin thanks for these comments; they are exactly what I was hoping for with this post. Although I do believe that my proposals should be implemented, they were also meant to provoke discussion. On to the debate!

      1. I think I could have explained my 2 end / 4 end proposal a bit better. I would want to see either only ~20% of athletes eliminated in pools, or no athletes eliminated in pools at all – the 2 end pool round would be for seeding.

      This puts the focus on winning and losing to advance, rather than to see who can score the most points on the weakest player in their pool, which currently determines many pool advancements and round robins (when there are not enough athletes for direct elimination).

      As I’m sure you know, non-CP athletes have terrible ends as well. Ideally, I would love for matches to be 10 or 12 ends long, but at a certain point athletes have to perform, and both sides need an equal chance.

      2. Although call rooms are not limited to boccia, I still constantly feel that the process is out of place. I envisioned the coin toss and ball check happening quickly on court before each match started. The flow of a tournament like the Boccia Blast Team / Pairs portion where there is not call room is such a breath of fresh air.

      3. My BC3 suggestions come from quite in-depth discussions with Paul Gauthier, his Vancouver 2007 gold medal winning Sport Assistant (SA) Sarah, and Dalia, who has assisted two BC3 Paralympians – one less verbal – and been part of two Paralympic BC3 bronze medals.

      The overall sense is that policing the communication has become ridiculous. Complicated clandestine communication exists between most athletes and SAs. I am not convinced that an athlete describing ball placement in words can allow a SA to make a tactical decision. Even if it could, I don’t believe this is a bad thing. SAs receive medals now, and they are working with the athlete as a part of a performance team. Restricting communication just pretends that they are not invested in the win, when they should be and are invested.

      4. I like what you propose.

      5. My experience is that new athletes play much faster than more experienced athletes. This is the change I least care about really, but it is an important reality of hosting major events – a few days of competition saved means a few hundred thousand euros saved.

      6. The main reason I am proposing alternating throws is to stop “one-ball wonders.” Currently, after a perfect first ball, the opposing side usually has one chance to dislodge the ball, and if they miss, or do not move the ball enough (which happens more often than not) they must continue to throw, and are forced to go defensive and hope that the opponent does not score multiple points.

      If alternating throws, after a perfect first ball, a block could be thrown, then the other side would have to throw, but would be blocked from scoring directly and would have to decide to throw to the side, or perhaps put up their own subsequent block. This would further open the game for the other side, or close it, and so on. The strategies would be much more interesting, and it would be much harder to score multiple points.

  • Tom

    I think a blanket ban must be placed on verbal communication from ramp assistant to player, this means there is no value in tactical decisions as the assistant cannot see the court but can nod if asked ‘am I in the box?’ For example.

    • And what would happen if the athlete says: “The red ball is right on the jack, I can’t see anything. Should I draw?” and the SA does nothing, then the athlete says: “Should I hit?” and the SA nods?

      For me, there isn’t a problem with this, as the SA is a part of the performance team, and I think all communication should be allowed. I’m also not sure it is a good use of referee / linesperson time and energy to police this kind of very specific part of the game. Even with crystal clear speech, it would be very hard to determine what was being said. Even now, with no speech, it is impossible to tell if the SA is communicating to the athlete.

      I think that in order to be more lenient with communication, it needs to be opened up.

  • Jamie McCowan

    Hi Josh. In my oppinion I don’t agree with most of these rules and I will explain my position on most of the points you made.

    I disagree about having 2 ends even if it is for seeding as you can have more variation of jack positions over 4 ends. Second of all allot of great matches involve comebacks which would be limited by this stipulation. My last point on this rule would be that as top level athletes we should be showing to crowds our consistency and 2 ends just can’t allow this.

    I also disagree about any communication between BC3 athletes and assistants as this would take away the control of the athlete and lead to on court coaching. Although the BC3 assistants are part of the team they have the opportunity to communicate during training and off the court. I also think athletes should be the last touch the ball for similar reasons to my previous points.

    I also feel that as an athlete the call room can contribute to all the emotions crucial to sports such as nerves, anxiety and focus. Although it can be a long process at times I think it seperates the athletes from the crowd making the sport more professional and abolishing the call room would decrease the sports reputation.

    I also think that making the shots alternate would make the sport less unique and make it too similar to bowls. We are trying to increase the popularity of our sport and changing key concepts of the sport would make that difficult.

    Lastly this is not a criticism but just my opinion and whatever changes happen I hope they benefit Boccia.

    • Thanks for the great comments Jamie. They are well put.

      No one wants BC3s or any athletes to have less control. But, I truly have not been convinced that lifting the ban on two-way communication would create less control. It would allow for a more efficient performance – more control of the ramp, ball selection, wheelchair placement and athlete release. Remember, sport assistants would still not be able to look at the court.

      The current ban on two-way communication is like banning communication in the team and pairs divisions because the players might coach each other, or the captain might take too much control away from the other players.

      I see both sides to justifying having a call room. I already said that I don’t like it because it is tedious and adds a large level of administration to organising an event; I would just add that even at the top level, athletes and teams have missed the call room and forfeited – even World Championship medal matches. Of course everyone is under the same constraints, but this is just a really weird reason to disqualify a side.

      Personally, I would love to see 1, 2 or 3 hour boccia matches that allow for comebacks, but at a certain point, we athletes need to perform. The real issue my 2 end pool proposal is trying to address is rewarding players for scoring tons of points against weaker players – that is the part of boccia that I dislike the most. The immediate direct elimination seeded by world ranking that we had in London gave way too much of a reward to past performances though, and just ensures that previous winners will win again.

      I agree that shot alternation could make our sport less unique, but it is already based on pétanque and bocce (according to Wikipedia at least). I think basing it on curling and bowls has the possibility to make it more exciting, and more accessible.

      The key to rule changes that benefit boccia will be a public and open discussion between the world’s experts of the game – players, officials and coaches. Thanks for adding your comments here Jamie.

  • Tom

    It denotes from the skill of a BC3 athlete if an assistant communicates to give tactical advice, as the role of the BC3 sports assistant in the performance team is to physically enable the BC3 athlete physically, nothing more. I believe it to be fairly easy to overcome the issue you proposed of an athlete asking shall I knock it up or some other tactics based question as truthfully without the assistant seeing the court their advice is pretty worthless as they cannot asses the situation.

    • I agree tactical advice is pretty worthless without seeing the court. If anything, trying to discuss tactics seems like it would be damaging rather than helpful.

  • David Smith

    I think a potential argument is should an assistant receive a medal. I’m of opinion that the athletes should only get medals. All able bodied athletes have a support team but none of them get medals nor do BC1 assistants. I think a key part of Boccia is promoting independence and excellence of severely disabled people. BC3s should be able to take all the credit for their play, as they line up and judge the shot.

  • Sarah Gauthier

    I love that you put these ideas out there. I think that it has led to a lot of thoughts, which was part of your intention. Having people involved and engaged is part of the battle of improving and popularizing a sport. Can I first say that your overall statement that the rules need to be re-written by a skilled writer is paramount – it would clear up a lot of problems that exist in the current set, and resolve much of the confusion, as well as stop people who bend and question rules throughout their matches.

    I really want to weight in on your ideas for the sport assistant for BC3 athletes. There is an inherent difference between the type of support given to able-bodied athletes, BC1 athletes, other athletes in most Paralympic sports, and that given to BC3 athletes. Other sports with able-bodied athletes (the assistants) who compete on their playing fields with athletes who have disabilities, and play an integral role in the joint performance also receive medals.

    For example, an athlete with a visual impairment who uses a guide runner to assist him in doing the best that he can do is not seen as any less able, any less independent or any less excellent. The two athletes are a team – they train together, win together and lose together – the investment of the guide runner, or the BC3 sport assistant should be the same as the athlete with a disability, and allowing the team to work the best that they can together should be supported and applauded. Who cares who does what, or who says what (within the rules of the sport of course)!

    As David said BC3s get credit for lining up and judging the shot, so a few words from the sport assistant here and there should not make the athlete seem any less amazing than when the sport assistants could say nothing at all. The problem with these restrictive rules against people who are so invested in the sport is that it leads to the bending of the rules and people pushing the boundaries hoping not to be caught. Could you imagine the loss of a game because a sport assistant said ‘Calm down’ or something else in the heat of the moment – ridiculous.

    The reason that we discussed this with Josh was the new rule proposal that requires an athlete to say everything to the sport assistant – as if they can’t think for themselves. They have to say ‘ball’ and that can mean any number of things. Well, what if an athlete has a communication impairment and can’t say ‘ball’ how is the referee supposed to know when it’s ‘said’ and when it isn’t. Does it really matter that the sport assistant knows to pick up a ball, roll a ball, break the line of the ramp after a shot? No, it doesn’t matter, if each person in the team is able to perform to the best of their ability, if the team chooses who should do what, and both perform well. This is the difficulty with saying what a sport assistant can say and what they can’t as well – people communicate in different languages, both verbally and non-verbally – and a referee just wouldn’t be able to police that.

    It may seem like athletes with communication impairments would be at a disadvantage, but they may also be at an advantage. I don’t think there’s a lot of time to be discussing strategy – if I was a part of the team I certainly wouldn’t want to contribute to that side of things. I know that there will be coaches who become sport assistants in order to tell the athlete everything but that would be the loss of that team, and it shouldn’t affect the sport as a whole.

  • Cheol-hyeon, Kwon

    I am a BC3 Sport Assistant of Korea team and
    have attended the international games for 12 years..

    I want to give my opinion about communication in BC3 event.

    <Two way communication between BC3 athlete and Sport Assistant
    I agree with Josh's opinion partially.
    Boccia rule for communication between athlete and Sport Assistan is forbidden strickly.. We BC3 Sport Assistan becomes dumb in court..
    We cannot even encourage our athletes for good play..
    and cannot ask again even though we didn't hear and understand..
    It is considered inhumane to team mate.
    and some disadvantageous to non verbal athlete.
    But if communication is allowed fully..
    there could be some side effect that Kirsten mentioned.
    Athlete can explain the situation of play in court,
    so Sport Assistant may instruct how to throw and play.
    If it is allowed, we cannot also prohibit the intervention of coach out of court in other event.
    I think only one who determine how to play should be an athlete.
    So I suggest only two kind of communication should be allowed.

    1. clarification when Sport Assistant cannot hear and if non verbal athlete
    (eg / pardon? which ball? which ramp extansion?)
    2. encouragement when athlete throws successfully or before throwing
    (how can we know it? we can feel with athlete's face..^^;)
    (eg / well done. you can do it! come on!)

    but unfortunately..
    our new rule(in draft) becomes more strictly to Sport Assistant.
    (Many rules were added about communication between athlete and Sport Assistan in BC1, BC3 event)
    We Sport Assiatants are not a Robert.
    We also want share a joy with our athletes during the match.

    I hope more discussion about boccia rule is expressed like in your site.
    There is no perfert rule in the world and in the Sport.
    Thanks for chance to give my opinion in your site.
    and All opinion and discussion by you and your friends was very helpful to me. Thanks again. ^^;

  • Cheol-hyeon, Kwon

    I am sorry..there is some problem in my commemt.
    But I can not find to delete my comment, Josh..
    Please delete below my comment (including this)
    I will post again..

  • Cheol-hyeon, Kwon

    I am a BC3 Sport Assistant of Korea team and
    have attended the international games for 12 years..

    I want to give my opinion about communication in BC3 event.

    I agree with Josh’s opinion partially.
    Boccia rule for communication between athlete and Sport Assistan is forbidden strickly.. We BC3 Sport Assistan becomes dumb in court..
    We cannot even encourage our athletes for good play..
    and cannot ask again even though we didn’t hear and understand..
    It is considered inhumane to team mate.
    and some disadvantageous to non verbal athlete.
    But if communication is allowed fully..
    there could be some side effect that Kirsten already mentioned.
    If athlete explain the situation of play in court,
    Sport Assistant may instruct how to throw and play.
    If it is allowed,
    we cannot also prohibit the intervention of coach out of court in other event.
    I think only one who determine how to play should be an athlete.
    So I suggest only two kind of communication should be allowed.

    1. clarification when Sport Assistant cannot hear and if non verbal athlete
    (eg / pardon? which ball? which ramp extansion?)

    2. encouragement when athlete throws successfully or before important throwing.
    (how can we know it? we can feel with athlete’s face..^^;)
    (eg / well done. you can do it! come on!)

    but unfortunately..
    our new rule(in draft) becomes more strictly to Sport Assistant.
    (Many rules were added about communication between athlete and Sport Assistan
    in BC1, BC3 event)
    We Sport Assiatants are not a Robert.
    We also want share a joy with our athletes in the court during the match.

    I hope more discussion about boccia rule is expressed like in your site.
    There is no perfert rule in the world and in the Sport.
    Thanks for chance to give my opinion in your site.
    and All opinion and discussion by you and your friends was very helpful to me.
    Thanks again. ^^;

    • Thanks for this comment. It is great to hear from you and Sarah. Good thing we are not in a boccia game, or you two sport assistants would not be allowed to communicate at all!!