Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball is a variation of the traditional indoor version of the game. The sport began as a fun activity at Santa Monica, California, in the 1920s. From there it developed into a competitive sport in the 1950s and 60s and really took off in the late 1970s after becoming professional. The sport really come of age when it became an official sport at the Olympic Games. It was first introduced at the 1992 Games in Barcelona as a demonstration sport, and was a new addition as an official sport at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.

Difference from Indoor Volleyball

Beach volleyball is played with only two players per side, compared to the six on the field at any time in indoor volleyball. The court size is also different, for beach volleyball the court is 8 x 8 meters on each side, as opposed to the 9 x 9 meters in indoor volleyball. The beach ball itself is also is softer and slightly larger than an indoor volleyball. The rules of beach volleyball are essentially the same as for indoor volleyball, except you can also cross under the net to hit a ball as long as you don't interfere with the opponents attempt at hitting the ball. In beach volleyball, the block also always counts as the first contact of the ball. In beach volleyball, players are not required to rotate or change positions during play as they are in the indoor version. Due to the location of the games, there is also a difference in the attire of players. For beach volleyball no shoes are worn, and swimwear is usually the uniform.

Beach Volleyball imageSocial Games

On the social level, beach volleyball is a great impromptu game. When at the beach all you need is a net and a ball. While the competitive game is played with only two players per side, a friendly game on the beach can have many more, and should have too otherwise it is a very strenuous game. Beach volleyball has also become a popular organized social sport, with indoor and outdoor sand courts being set up, some with netting around the outside which keeps the ball in play.

Physical Preparation for Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball requires unique skills, and would not suit all successful players of the indoor game. The style of play on the sand tends to be a bit different than on a court. The players must have outstanding ball skills and court speed, but they must also be able to handle the many difficulties of playing outdoors, such as the soft unstable sand, the environmental effects such as the sun and wind. Partners must be well matched or opponents will win easy points by exploiting the weaker player.

The difficulty of moving around on the sand makes it a very strenuous game. To train for beach volleyball, athletes must spend a lot of time developing their lower body strength so they can move quickly and accurately across the ground, despite the friction and resistance of the sand. While powerful legs are an important part of successful volleyball play, the ability to jump high and hard and land without injury are substantially more vital in beach volleyball than in court volleyball.

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