Whether you’re transitioning from indoor volleyball or trying your hand at this game for the first time, here’s everything you need to know to get started on the right foot.
Understanding the Basics of Beach Volleyball
The Game Setup:
Beach volleyball is typically played in teams of two. There are no fixed positions like in indoor volleyball, allowing for greater freedom of movement. The server stands behind the line while the partner positions at the net or mid-court to block or defend. After losing a point on your serve, the other team serves; if you win the point, the other player on your team serves next.
Beach volleyball uses a rally scoring system, where you score points whether you’re serving or not. Matches are best out of three sets, with the first two sets going to 21 points and a tie-breaker third set, if necessary, going to 15 points.
Preparing to Play
Finding a Court and Equipment:
Search online for local sand courts, which are often available in public parks or beaches. If there’s no fixed net, you can set up a portable net system. Ensure you use a beach volleyball, which is lighter and larger than an indoor volleyball, making it more suitable for outdoor play.
What to Wear:
Most beach volleyball players play barefoot, but in cold or wet conditions, sand socks are a good option. Men typically wear flexible shorts and quick-drying shirts, while women often opt for bikinis, spandex shorts, and sporty tops.
Tips for Beginners
Be Honest About Your Skill Level:
Understanding your current skill level helps you find appropriate games and improve more effectively. It’s important to be upfront about your volleyball experience.
Adjusting to Sand Play:
Playing in sand can be challenging initially. To get accustomed to the uneven surface, try running or training on the beach. This will help improve your balance and movement in the sand.
High Contact Point in Arm Swing:
A high contact point is essential for effective hitting. Practice this by throwing a ball against a wall, ensuring your arm is straight and high above your head.
Mastering the Serve:
Start with simple underhand serves, focusing on consistency rather than power. This will help you get a feel for the game and build your serving skills gradually.
Remember the mantra ‘high, middle’ for passing. This approach gives your partner time to set up and offers more options for a return attack.
Simplifying Your Setting:
As a beginner, focus on bump setting using your forearms. This technique is simpler and more reliable when starting out.
Avoiding Blocks Initially:
For beginners, blocking can be challenging and often leads to more running and chasing. Focus on other aspects of the game as you develop your skills.
Avoid backpedaling. It’s generally slower and less efficient. Instead, turn and run towards the ball for better positioning and play.
Most importantly, beach volleyball is about enjoyment. Embrace the learning process, meet new people, and enjoy the unique atmosphere of beach volleyball.
Embarking on your beach volleyball journey is about more than just learning a new sport; it’s about joining a vibrant community that celebrates every bump, set, and spike. Remember, every expert was once a beginner. So, step onto the sand with enthusiasm, and let’s dive into the joyous and challenging world of beach volleyball together!