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Beach volleyball

Beach volleyball is a variation of indoor volleyball, and it started as a recreational sport on beaches in Hawaii and California. The sport is part of the Olympic Games and has several international competitions. Teams can qualify to be part of international games, including the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Championships and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Beach volleyball is a 2-player team game similar to indoor volleyball but played on the beach. Each team contains two players who work together to keep the ball from grounding on their side of the court. Casual beach volleyball originated from Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, but the modern competitive version came from Santa Monica in California.

The highest governing body for beach volleyball is the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), and it works with regional bodies to organize international events and competitions. Regional governing bodies are divided into:

  • North and Central America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Asia and Oceania

Most countries have national volleyball governing bodies that oversee beach volleyball. The national bodies work with the regional bodies during the organization of competitions. Membership to local beach volleyball clubs can be as little as $20 annually. The clubs help players improve their skills, and members compete under the club's name in national events.

National governing bodies have records of all members of beach volleyball clubs and some records on their performance. Overall, a player can choose which club to join to compete in beach volleyball tournaments.

History of Beach volleyball

Beach volleyball is a variant of indoor volleyball that was established in 1895 by William G. Morgan. The earliest form of beach volleyball was seen on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii in 1915. It was played with six players on each team, like indoor volleyball.

The sport's popularity began in 1920 when New Jetties in Santa Monica, California, made a sandy area for public entertainment. Later, individuals were seen hanging nets on public beaches to play beach volleyball as a recreational activity. People put up permanent beach volleyball nets in public beaches and private beaches where more people started playing the game.

In 1922, 11 clubs for beach volleyball were formed, and they had the first competitions in 1924. Matches included six players per team until 1930 when Paul Johnson got tired of waiting for team players and decided on a match using 2-man teams. It gave players more freedom to maneuver on the sand, and it became popular. Since it was an inexpensive recreation activity, it grew popular, and the 1940s saw many two-person team tournaments.

The first tournament with a prize for beach volleyball was in 1948 in Los Angeles, California. In the 1950s, Brazil had the first beach volleyball tournament, and in 1960 the first Manhattan Beach Open was held. In 1974, an indoor tournament for beach volleyball was held at the San Diego Sports Arena with a prize of $1,500.

In 1976, a professional tournament was held at the Will Rogers State Beach in California, and it is considered the first world championship for beach volleyball. David Wilk was the organizer for the event, and he formed a sports promotion company in 1978 called Event Concepts. He went on to organize three professional beach volleyball events in the next year.

The prize money increased, and by 1984 it was $300,000, and there were 16 events all over the country. FIVB organized the first tournament with a purse of $22,000 in Rio de Janeiro, and the first international circuit was in 1989. However, Event Concepts was forced out of the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) by players. The first time the sport was part of the Olympic Games is 1996, and the sport is part of the games to date.

Rules of Beach volleyball

The rules of the sport are set out by the governing body FIVB, and it publishes the official rules for beach volleyball every four years. The rules have seen an evolution over the years, and the FIVB commissions approve changes in rules before the implementations.

TEAMS: The teams have two players, and they cannot be a replacement or substituted during the game. Teams must remain in their court, but they do not have positions within the court. They can move freely in the court to prevent the ball from touching the ground.

SCORING: A team scores when the ball touches the ground on the other team's court. The team that wins a round serves for the next one. When a ball goes out of the court boundaries, the opposing team gets the point and serves the next round. The team that accumulates the most points in the first two sets wins the match.


There are several offenses that a team may commit and earn a point for the opposing team. Here are some of the common offenses in beach volleyball.

  • A player is catching or lifting a ball.
  • A serving fault because of unauthorized techniques.
  • Touching the court’s line or having a foot in the court while serving.
  • The act of touching a ball twice consecutively is an offense. A player is only supposed to touch the ball once.
  • The act of touching a ball four times before passing it over the net is an offense. A team has three touches to defend and pass the ball over the net.
  • When the ball touches the net, it should sail over the net without the net's antenna
  • When using assistance to hit the ball over the net is an offense.

Avoiding the common offenses reduces a team's odds of earning the opposing team points. Regular practice is what helps players to avoid common offenses.


A beach volleyball court is 16m long and 8m wide according to international standards. The court floor is filled with sand, and it needs to be as level as possible. Workers must rake the sand to remove any objects or stones that may cause injuries. There is a 3m space around the court, and the height clearance should be 7m.

A net is placed in the middle of the court to create two halves. The net is 8.5m long and 1m wide. It is placed 2.43m above the court for men tournaments and 2.24m for female and junior competitions. Players endeavor to pass the ball on the other side of the court without touching the net or antenna.

Beach volleyball Equipment

BALL: A beach volleyball ball is an essential equipment. It is supposed to be spherical, with a circumference of 66-68 cm and a weight of 260-280 grams. The material needs to be water-resistant, flexible, and able to withstand outdoor conditions.

UNIFORM: The original guidelines for uniforms were a two-piece bikini for women and shorts that at most 20cm long for men. There was an outrage over the female beach volleyball uniforms, and FIVB adjusted the rules to include shorts or a one-piece swimsuit for women. Women can play wearing shorts in Olympic Games because of cultural and religious observations. Overall, the two-piece bikini is still the most popular uniform for women beach volleyball players.


The officials for beach volleyball matches include a 1st referee, 2nd referee, scorer, and 2-4 line judges. Therefore, beach volleyball matches have 5-7 referees, depending on the complexity of the matches.

The 1st and 2nd referees have to blow the whistle to indicate a fault. A scorer keeps the game's score while line judges state when a hit is in or out of the court. Referees ensure that the game progresses smoothly and each team earns points for each hit or an opponent's fault. Overall, referees must keep their eye peeled because beach volleyball moves fast, and some infringements are easy to miss when no one is paying attention.

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