Beach Volleyball Basics
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Beach Volleyball Basics
by: Tenebris

Norton 360 Multi Device

The true basics of beach volleyball are sand, sun, a volleyball, and a net. Beyond that, the game is amazingly flexible: draw a line in the sand, and you have a court. To give an idea just how flexible, not so long ago a game of beach volleyball arose which used the fence between California and Mexico as a net. (Mexico won.)

The sides can be as small as one-on-one up to the full nine of a standard volleyball side: the Olympic standard is the two-person team. Tournament standard courts are 8 x 8 meters each side, slightly smaller than indoor volleyball. If the court is a constructed one, at least a meter of sand depth is recommended. Technically a different type of ball is used from the familiar volleyball, slightly larger and heavier and with a lower internal pressure, but this is almost never observed except in rated tournaments.

Rotation of player position is not required, although serves do rotate. Unlike indoor volleyball, a block into your own court does count as one of the three touches allowed prior to ball return. You are even allowed to go under the net, so long as you do not interfere with the opposing team.

The extremely challenging nature of a two-on-two beach volleyball set has led to the development of detailed hand signals, allowing players to communicate intended tactics. These signals are flashed behind the back of the front player, so as to hide intentions from the opposing team.

Formal scoring counts matches of three sets each, the first two being played to 21 points and the tie-breaker, if needed, played to 15 points. A set must be won by two points. Since there is no ceiling, a set continues until one team gains the two point advantage.

Even where official uniforms are worn during tournament games of beach volleyball, they harken back to swimwear and sun worship. Bikinis among female players are common even at the Olympic level. No shoes! Although socks are permissible if the sand is Arizona-hot. After all, the point is to play the game, not to gain first and second-degree burns. Along the same lines, be sure to play sun and heat-smart. Beach volleyball is a very demanding athletic activity played in blazing sunlight, and dehydration and heat exhaustion can hit very quickly. Having a water bottle nearby is only common sense.

Since its first emergence in California in the 1920s, beach volleyball has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, until now it has become a true emblem of summer - and gladly we welcome it back every year. Play on!

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