Pointing Technique: Regard the Donnée

Jim Knapp lands at his donnée and awaits the resulting roll-up during a Bastille Day match. (photo by Kathy Sowers)
Jim Knapp lands at his donnée and awaits the resulting roll-up during a Bastille Day match. (photo by Kathy Sowers)

Aiming to hit the cochonnet when pointing invariably results in passing it long while aiming at it to get close often falls victim to surface irregularities. In contrast, Alec Stone Sweet of La Boule New Yorkais Club describes basic pointing technique: carefully consider the cochonnet’s position and distance, then assess the surface and aim at a landing spot from which the boule will run up to the cochonnet: “Focus only on the spot you are trying to hit,” Sweet advises. “Pick a specific landing spot on the ground [the donnée (duh-nay)] and then try to hit that spot.”

By focusing close attention on exactly where the throw lands – instead of only watching where the boule ends up – the pointer can then adjust the landing spot and needed height and velocity for the next throw. Furthermore, watching – and remembering – the données of opposing players “is like having extra boules with which to experiment” Sweet notes. “You can learn something about the surface from every boule. Often, once the court is ‘solved’ [for a given round], players copy each other” in their choice of donnée.

Santa Susanna, Spain hosted teams from 47 nations in the 2021 Pétanque World Championships November 11-21. Three local players, members of the Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club in Sonoma, played on the USA teams.
Sonoma Valley High School seniors Rosie Houghton and Natalie Wetzel played on the USA Juniors team that lost 13-5 to Poland in the first round of the Nations Cup consolante. France won the Juniors World Championship 13-11 over Madagascar.

Wolfgang Kurz from VOMPC in Sonoma played on the USA Men’s team that advanced to the World Championship concours before losing 13-11 to Sweden in the first round. Kurz also placed 19th in the world in the precision shooting competition. France defeated Spain 13-10 to claim the Men’s World Championship.

The USA Women’s team advanced to the Finals of the Nations Cup consolante where they lost 13-6 to Morocco. Thailand won the Women’s World Championship 13-12 over France.

The Club encourages all Oakmonters who may be interested in playing or learning to play pétanque (pay-tonk’) to come to the courts (between Berger and the OVA offices beside the Shuffleboard courts) at 9:45 a.m. on the Club play days of Wednesday and Saturday.

The Club has boules to lend, the game is easy to learn, and you’ll be playing right away. Anyone interested, regardless of experience, is welcome to join in. No dues are required – just sign up to be on the Club roster. Club play days are casual friendly games with teams randomly assigned. The courts are also reserved 10 a.m. – noon for Club player-arranged pickup games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.


Gordon Blumenfeld throws toward his chosen landing spot during Wednesday morning play.

Jim Knapp lands at his donnée and awaits the resulting roll-up during a Bastille Day match. (photo by Kathy Sowers)


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