by Philippe Geraud
Philippe Geraud is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has continued his post-graduate work in China Regional Studies at the University of Washington, and in TESL at SPU. He joined the Seattle Pétanque Club in 2005 and is now the President. Currently Philippe focuses his study on training, sports psychology, and team dynamics. He leads clinics and workshops throughout the Northwest sports community.
Peter Mathis of the Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club displaying the kind of focus Philippe Geraud discusses in this blog. Photo courtesy of Juan Garcia.
The greatest breakthrough in performance enhancement in the next century will be in the mental game.
— Lanny Bassham
In my last article, I explored the concept of “deliberate practice” and how its application is now considered by a large body of researchers in sport science, top athletes, and Olympic coaches as the optimal path towards higher level, “peak” performance. I looked at the three stages of skill development in athletes: the cognitive, the associative, and the autonomous.
In this article, I explore in more depth the third stage of skill-building: the autonomous stage, and how mental training and the development of mental skills cannot take place until our physical skills have been perfected and have become “automatic.” For the same reasons scientific research has debunked “multitasking,” sports psychologists have determined that our brain is wired to concentrate either on conscious execution of physical movement or on the application of mental skills, we simply cannot focus on both at the same time. Thus, for mental skills to be fully effective, physical execution needs to function “unconsciously” at the autonomous level.
by Robert Force
Want to start a pétanque club? Let Robert Force of the Port Townsend Pétanque Alliance show you what it takes to go from a great notion to a terrain-based organization in this comprehensive account of the highs and lows in the formation of one FPUSA club.—NW
If you build it…Dave Robison, CEO of the PDA, in light blue shirt, overlooks the Fort Worden terrain, home courts of the Port Townsend Pétanque Alliance. Photo courtesy of Robert Force.
My house is full of strange knick-knacks and historical jetsam like my chunk of the first transatlantic cable and a section of the wooden main bearing of the USS Oregon. A touring musician for almost 50 years, I always had a few hours to while away after sound checks and before the show. I’d hit the streets on my pre-gig prowls, on the lookout for odd-things to discover, ponder, and eventually squirrel away. There I was in an “opportunity” shop in Killarney, Ireland, and could not believe my luck—for sale was a set of eight, baseball-size, hollow steel balls for only $25! What a find! Most musicians on tour don’t readily add 12 pounds to their luggage, but I did. Over the next several years they entertained my friends and I in cross-county games of heaving them as far as we could while trying to get closer to that small ball.
by Nan Walter
When Gerda Jorgenson was assigned a project as part of the coursework at the Nutritional Therapy Association, the idea for the Petanque+Nutrition brochure was, dare we say it, a natural. The intersection of her two interests, boules and health, has yielded a handsome and handy trifold that is loaded with useful information for both the recreational and competitive boules player.
Nutrition and hydration information is both proscriptive (don't overindulge in diuretics—looking at you, morning coffee) and prescriptive (do consume high-quality fats like nuts for long-burning energy). She even provides checklists on what to look for to determine if someone is suffering from dehydration or heat exhaustion and suggestions for calculating amounts of fluid for proper hydration. The latter has become a real concern for pétanque players, as each year we seem to set a new record for summer heat. Indeed, reminding fellow players to be proactive was one of Gerda's objectives in creating the brochure, "…the summers are getting hotter and for long days of play, it's so important to take care of oneself."
by Gina De Joy
Gina De Joy of the South Florida Pétanque Club reports from Ghent, Belgium, where she competed on Team USA for the prestigious Henri Bernard Trophy.
After a few days at the Ghent venue, we, Team USA knew our way around. We were sent down the track, under the stands to line up for the parade of Countries. Each country was lead by a child who would carry the country team sign. Teams, lined up alphabetically. The thrill and excitement was not only ours, but belonged to all teams and each sign-carrying child. We were given a USA flag and immediately decided to have Peter Matthis carry it in honor of Paul Yang who could not be there with us. He was with us in spirit and we were reminded of it as Peter wore Paul’s uniform with “YANG” across the back.
One of the most useful tools available to every member club is our free FPUSA photo/video gallery on Smugmug. There's no limit to the number of photo or video files you can have in your galleries, be they jpgs, gifs, pngs, etc. Keep all your club photos in one tidy folder, accessible to all members and fellow boulistes from around the country. Link seamlessly to your Facebook or web page.
How do you get started? Start by checking out the Smugmug page on the FPUSA website. After reading that introduction, ask your club president to write to SECRETARY@USAPETANQUE.ORG to receive a link to your own club folder on the FPUSA website. That's about it. Tell your club president you want to take advantage of this no-strings-attached, quality method of presenting and preserving your club photos. We're looking forward to working with you.
by Philippe Geraud
This blog introduces the first article in a series by Seattle Pétanque Club president Philippe Geraud. Philippe, a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has continued his post-graduate work in China Regional Studies at the University of Washington, and in TESL at SPU. He joined the Seattle Pétanque Club in 2005 and is now the President. Currently Philippe focuses his study on training, sports psychology, and team dynamics. He leads clinics and workshops throughout the Northwest sports community. Click here to link to a downloadable version of the article on the FPUSA website in the Education section…Dan
Ask ten pétanque players what their practice routine is and you’re bound to get ten different answers ranging from “I usually practice one or two hours per day” to “I don’t think practice is necessary” or “I usually get all the practice I need when I play.” This is not surprising, given that our approaches to training and practice are often very individual and largely influenced by whether or not we believe that practice is useful, our age, the amount of available time at our disposal for practice, our level of energy, discipline, and whether or not we aspire to higher levels of competition.
New players with adequate hand-and-eye coordination can easily learn the mechanics of pétanque. The basic rules governing how the game is played are fairly easy to remember. Most new players find it relatively manageable to pick-up a boule and throw it without too much difficulty. In fact, anyone who has been exposed to and played games that involve body mechanics similar to those used in playing pétanque, be it golf, bowling, or bocce, may already have certain “natural” advantages since their neural pathways are already wired for gauging distance, follow-through, and “reading the terrain.” These new players may also be somewhat familiar with focusing techniques they may have picked-up playing other sports, techniques that can be applied when playing pétanque.
Since 2010 the Edmonds Pétanque Club has been doing something right. At least that's what the Edmonds Washington chapter of the Pacific Northwest Kiwanis thinks. In its 23-year history they have only awarded their highest accolade, Citizen of the Year, to a group two times. This year the Edmonds Pétanque Club became the second organizational recipient of that prestigious award. What does it take to be nominated? In general the Kiwanis are looking for citizens who are trying to make their community a better place. Specifically they are looking for people who are endeavoring to: privilege humanity and the spiritual over the material, live the Golden Rule, encourage exemplary standards in social and professional contacts, evolve a more enlightened model of citizenship, provide a crucible for the formation of friendship and community, and maintain the conditions that facilitate the increase of “justice, patriotism, and goodwill.”
by Liz Hebbard
Bienvenue! Welcome to the Seacoast Boulaines of Nottingham, New Hampshire, the FPUSA's newest club. Pending approval of our three latest applications, that makes us 50 clubs. As Liz explains below, the Seacoast Boulaines have enlisted the help of the UNH chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers to assist in the creation of an on campus terrain. We eagerly await news before the snow flies! Dan
Liz Hebbard, her husband Trevor Verrot, and many of Liz’s colleagues who teach French at the University of New Hampshire, have personal connections to the south of France, the birthplace of pétanque. Trevor’s family immigrated to the US from Marseilles, and Liz taught in the Vaucluse on the French Consulate’s TAPIF program after she graduated from college. She is very proud to be an honorary citizen of Villelaure. On their honeymoon this summer, Liz and Trevor played pétanque with friends in L’Estaque, Martigues, and of course Villelaure. At the end of the trip, the couple invested in their own triplettes to bring home. Back in New Hampshire, they began playing on a local baseball field. While researching pétanque clubs in the United States, they discovered the FPUSA website, and decided right away to found a club in southern New Hamp-shire. Liz’s colleagues at UNH joined in enthusiastically. The club, called the Seacoast Boulaines, is currently playing informally on dirt spaces on campus, but they recently teamed up with the UNH student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to collaborate on the construction of a terrain on campus, and are consulting with university architects to plan for the project’s next steps. Hopefully the new terrain will be here before the first snowfall (although, here in New England, it could snow before I finish writing this!).
Liz and Trevor hope that pétanque will bring their friends, colleagues, and the university community together to celebrate the Francophone heritage of New Hampshire, and to help these newlyweds “tanquent” their “pieds” and set down new roots in their life together as husband/tireur and wife/pointeuse.
Canada was nothing short of fabulous. We were welcomed with open arms and treated so very well by all the opponents and spectators. We had numerous people ask to be photographed with us (nothing like that to boost one's ego!) and all games ran very smoothly with exceptional sportsmanship displayed by all. Although disappointed by the change of tournament mid day, we had a great time and suggest anyone who has the opportunity to travel to Montreal to play should do so.
by Jo Ella Manalan
Southeast Region Representative Jo Ella is a former teacher and an enthusiastic bouleswoman. She serves on both the national and South Florida Pétanque Club boards, and is a founder of the Facebook Page, Pétanquewomen. Here is her dispatch from the 2016 WWQ.
The 2016 National Women's Triples Championship and World Qualifier was held in Blue Hill, Maine, September 10–11, 2016. Teams representing every region of the FPUSA were present.
What a weekend! We had 11 teams competing in triples competition, and seven of those teams included members of the Maine Boules Club, organizers of the tournament, who were fantastic hosts. The event even included a torch lighting by an “almost Olympian," lovely lunches, gourmet snacks, and above all, superb organization of the tournament. This was all capped off by a lobster fest on Sunday night.
Dan is the President of the FPUSA
Shannon is the Secretary of the FPUSA and Chairman of the Communications Committee.
Nan is a Member of the Communications Committee, Editor of this Blog, and Webmaster of the FPUSA Website.