A Guide to Playing Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball is a sport that keeps spectators on the edge of their seats. This game is very popular all over the world and is frequently played on the beach by people who enjoy it. You can play this entertaining game with your friends after learning a few simple rules. Basically, passing the ball to the other side of the net is the aim of the game. The game is played between two teams, and each team has three chances to pass the ball to their opponent’s court and ground it there during their turn. To play the game well, you need to know a few tricks in addition to the fundamentals.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the history, rules, and basics of beach volleyball. 

A Brief History 

Beach volleyball, more known as ‘beach volley’, was first played in Hawaii, USA. It was first played in 1915 at the outrigger canoe club on Hawaii’s Waikiki beach. In 1908, some Honolulu businessmen founded the Outrigger Canoe Club. This game was initially played with six players. But Paul “Pablo” Johnson, an indoor player at the Santa Monica Athletic Club, changed that idea and created the new two-player beach volley ball in 1930. Thus, officially, Johnson is recognized for this invention. 

In 1948, a prize-giving tournament of beach volleyball was held in Los Angeles which was witnessed by a throng of players and sports enthusiasts.  In the 1930s, beach volleyball first appeared in Europe. The Beatles tried playing it in Los Angeles, and John F. Kennedy, another big fan of the thrilling game, attended the game to watch it gain popularity in the 1960s. At California’s Will Rogers State Beach in 1976, the sport of beach volley was played for the first time by professionals. The competition was known as the Olympia World Championship.

Playing Environment of Beach Volleyball  

A light volleyball and a net that cuts the court in half are used to play beach volleyball on the sand court. Sand makes up every inch of the beach volleyball court. To avoid any injuries, all rocks and other debris are removed from the court’s surface. Inside the court, the sand should be at least 40 centimeters deep. These safety precautions are taken by the tournament organizers because the players frequently dive onto the surface. A typical volleyball court is rectangular in shape and measures 16 meters long by 8 meters wide. There is a 3-meter-wide free zone surrounding the court.

Equipment Used in Beach Volleyball 

The following list contains the essential gear needed to play beach volleyball safely and with enjoyment:

1. Net

In beach volleyball, a net is used, and the players constantly attempt to shoot the ball over the net. The beach volleyball net is approximately 8 feet tall for men and 7 feet, 4 inches tall for women. For teenagers, the net’s height varies. Beach volley ball is played with a net that is 28 feet long. The net is cushioned on both ends. Typically, the referee stand is attached to the net during official competitions. A 4-inch wide canvas border is also present on the top and bottom of the net.

2. Knee Pads

When playing beach volleyball, knee pads are crucial for the players. Knee pads are a key piece of protective equipment when playing beach volleyball to prevent injuries while playing the sport. They give the player’s legs stability so they can play to their fullest potential. One of its main benefits is that it shields players from harm given the nature and playing environment of this game. A player can use knee caps to relax his knee if it is injured. 

3. Ball 

Since volleyball is the name of the sport, the center of the play is a ball. Beach volleyball balls are spherical and either covered in leather or flexible synthetic material. Bright color stripes on the ball give it a lovely and alluring appearance. The game’s ball is about 300 grams in weight. The ball contains about 0.200 kg of air per square centimeter inside. Per standard prescription, the ball’s circumference shouldn’t be less than 65 cm or larger than 70 cm.

4. Sunglasses and Sun Protection

Since it has already been mentioned that these games are typically played outside in the sun, the players are very concerned with safeguarding their bodies, particularly their eyes. They cover their eyes with sunglasses. However, the eyeglasses they wear shouldn’t have any power. For the players’ safety, this is also a rule. They apply sun cream to their bodies to protect them from the damaging UVB and UVA rays of the sun along with a sun cap for additional protection. 

5. Uniforms 

Typically, in this game, players from the same nation or team wear similar attire. The norm for beach volleyball players is to dress in bathing suits since it is played in beach sand and under the heat of the sun. This sport actually has a governing body called Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB) which has changed some rules regarding how women should dress as a result of some unfavorable practices that some conservative parties have complained about. Some players wear sun protective clothing to shield from sun’s rays but which are lightweight and flexible for movement. Players are advised to wear athletic shoes while playing beach volleyball on a nice, smooth sandy surface to protect their feet.

How to Play Beach Volleyball?

girl athlete volleyball player on the beach playing at sunset.

Beach volleyball is a team sport played by two teams, just like some other Olympic event. A club, a nation, or a state within a nation are each represented by two players on each team. 

Since the Atlanta Olympics, held in the United States of America in 1996, beach volleyball has been a part of the summer Olympic program. In terms of style, rules, and regulations, beach volleyball is largely influenced by indoor volleyball. Shooting the ball toward the opposition over the net is the player’s primary goal. The net should not be touched while shooting because a foul will be called. The players’ primary goal is to ground the ball on their adversary’s side in addition to trying to send it over the net. Attempting to prevent the opposition from putting the ball in their side or grounding the ball in their side simultaneously. 

By skillfully repelling the assault of the adversary, this can be accomplished. Three touches are allowed on the ball after it has been received before it is sent to the opposing side by the players. The first serve of the match is made by the server, who sends the ball over the net and behind the back court line to the adversaries. 

Rally of the ball is the movement of the ball from one side of the field to the other and back again. The ball touches the ground on one side, leaves the court, or is not sent in a legal manner, ending the rally. A rally will be won by the team that can get the ball into their opponent’s end first, and that team will start the next rally. 

This sport involves a wide variety of techniques or abilities, some of which are listed below:

1. Serving 

Putting the ball into play after the referee signals it is time to do so is known as serving. For serving, the striker strikes the ball from his side behind the back court line with his hand or arm, using all of his strength. The three types of serving are jump, overarm, and underarm. There is a defensive underarm serve among all of these. However, the attacking ones are the overarm and jump serves. The strikers typically prefer these two. Wind is not an issue during indoor games, but it is more of an issue during beach volley matches. Because they have the chance to attack first, the serving team typically wins the majority of rallies.

2. Passing 

In order for the players to be in a good position to send the ball, the ball must be passed among them before sending. Players are only allowed to touch the ball three times before sending it. Although you can score points by serving and attacking, passing is what gives you the assurance.

3. Attacking 

In beach volleyball, an attack is when one player hits the ball hard to the side of the other player so that it moves downward. The ball is typically moving downward at a high rate of speed and cannot be stopped by players. Spiking is the name of this strategy. Another attacking technique involves sending the ball with softer hands, and the ball moves in an arcing trajectory in this style. This technique, which is also known as rolling, is similar to spiking. Dinking is another form of attack besides spiking and rolling. When dinking, the ball is launched over the net with a very low, small trajectory.

4. Setting and Blocking 

Setting styles are primarily used to attack after positioning the ball on the third hit. It is a second team contact, and the players frequently set their hands for the third hit. Blocking is the trickiest and most challenging technique out of all the techniques. In blocking, the player on the receiving side leaps to the top of the net with the primary goal of bouncing the ball from the opposing side back into their court. Blocking requires endurance, clear eye contact, the ability to make quick decisions, and of course experience.

What is the scoring system for beach volleyball? 

Beach volleyball matches are three sets with a best-of-three format. In a best-of-three scenario, the team that wins the first two sets wins the match. A match is won by the team that scores those 21 points first relative to the other team during each set, which consists of 21 points. The first team to 21 points must be ahead of the opposing team by two points. If the score level is 21-20, the set will go on until one team has a two point advantage.

Accordingly, the set is over if the score is 24–22 or 25–27. Instead of the 21 points in the first two sets, the third and final set will only have a maximum of 15. Teams may switch ends every seven points. In the last set, they have five points to change things. The team that can successfully touch down the ball at the opponent’s side earns a point. Every time a team fails to deliver the ball legally, the opposing team scores a point.

Safety Precautions 

Due to the fact that beach volleyball is an outdoor sport, there are safety precautions that must be taken by all participants. This can be done by using some protective gear such as knee pads or knee caps in the case of an injury. To protect their bodies from the heat of the sun, the players should also apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to avoid sun damage and burns. The players should also pick athletic uniforms and shoes that are comfortable, flexible, and breathable which will allow comfort and enough movement. 

Conclusion 

Truly, beach volleyball is among the best and thrilling sports you can engage in if you want to develop your skills in sport or just for leisure with your family or friends. However, it is advised that you follow these simple practical tips and recommendations to ensure that your next beach volleyball game will be fun, safe, and memorable.