Have you ever been at the beach and seen the ones playing volleyball and thought, I should try that? Maybe you don’t though as you are not to familiar with how to play beach volleyball. Here are some tips to get started to help you, and after this you may just know more than a lot of the people playing on beach.

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This is for those that are just getting started, or maybe you aspire to be an Olympian in beach volleyball and want to take the first step.

Here are some Beach volleyball Olympians that are the tops of beach volleyball, and you know what? They all started somewhere. We respect these Beach Volleyball Olympians for making us proud!

Dain Blanton, 2000 (gold), 2004

Nicole Branagh, 2008

Gail Castro Kehl, 1996

Phil Dalhausser, 2008 (gold), 2012, 2016

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Annett Davis, 2000

Mike Dodd, 1996 (silver)

Lauren Fendrick, 2016

Eric Fonoimoana, 2000 (gold)

Barbra Fontana, 1996

Jake Gibb, 2008, 2012, 2016

Linda Hanley, 1996

Rob Heidger, 2000

Carl Henkel, 1996

Dax Holdren, 2004

Jenny Johnson Jordan, 2000

Jennifer Kessy, 2012 (silver)

Karch Kiraly, 1996 (gold)

Nick Lucena, 2016

Misty May-Treanor, 2000, 2004 (gold), 2008 (gold), 2012 (gold)

Holly McPeak, 1996, 2000, 2004 (bronze)

Stein Metzger, 2004

Jeff Nygaard, 2004

Casey Patterson, 2016

Nancy Reno, 1996

Deb Richardson, 1996

Todd Rogers, 2008 (gold), 2012

Sean Rosenthal, 2008, 2012

April Ross, 2012 (silver), 2016 (bronze)

Sinjin Smith, 1996

Kent Steffes, 1996 (gold)

Brooke Sweat, 2016

Kerri Walsh Jennings, 2000 (indoor), 2004 (gold), 2008 (gold), 2012 (gold), 2016 (bronze)

Mike Whitmarsh, 1996 (silver)

Kevin Wong, 2000

Elaine Youngs, 1996 (indoor), 2004 (bronze), 2008

The ones just listed are the best of the best in beach volleyball, though let’s get started on getting you started to play some on the beach.

Starting Beach Volleyball

You are laying there on the beach on your beach towel with generous amounts of sun screen on. And you want to get active and you see a beach volleyball game going on with a few people.


Beach volleyball is great exercise and social, though you are feeling a little intimidated in asking to join them because you have never played

beach volleyball before. Here are some tips to get past your fear and walk up and say, “Can I join?”. We are sure you will get a sure!

How to play

Sand is tough to play in. You’ll be slower, you’ll tire faster, and your vertical jump will be reduced to inches. Most important, you are in the sun doing this, do not be drinking alcohol, you will pay the price quick with dehydrations, possible heat stroke. Don’t be dumb on this one.

To do good, economize your energy. Take small steps – you lose power on long strides. Beach volleyball is played barefoot, so when the sand gets hot, dig your feet a few inches under the top layers to cool them off. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Sand is forgiving on your joints, so you can enjoy the game well into your golden years.

The equipment

Beach volleyballs are softer, lighter and a bit bigger than indoor balls and beach courts are smaller than indoor courts. Men’s nets are 7.5 inches higher than women’s nets.

If you are a group of men playing on a women’s net or vice versa, don’t be surprised if you get kicked off when the beach gets busy. It’s good etiquette to play on the appropriate net height and if you have a co-ed group, you should play on a men’s net.

Getting a game

First option, ask if you can join if not many playing. Next option, if you have a group, it’s best to arrive at the beach early to claim a net without waiting for one to open.

If you show up with only a partner, you can “challenge on” to a court: ask the people currently playing if you and your partner can play the winner of their match. If you beat the winners, you stay on the court.

This can be a bit risky as it is extremely important to assess the skill level of the court you are challenging on to before you throw down the gauntlet. For example, if the court has a pile of balls at the end line and the average height of the players is over 6’0″, avoid this court. They are pros and they would not take kindly to challengers.

Note: Once on a court, keep the games continuous if the beach is busy. It is considered bad etiquette to leave the net empty for long periods of time to take breaks while others are waiting to play.

Choose your position

Beach volleyball is typically played with two people per side. There are no specialized positions as with indoor – only a left and right side. Most beach players are well-rounded and can hit, dig and block. At the higher levels, one player is dedicated to blocking and one to digging, but if you’re just out for fun, grab a side and share the responsibilities.

The Rules

A match consists of three sets, or games. The first team to reach 21 points wins the set (teams must win by two points). Two sets wins the match, and the third tiebreaker set, if necessary, is only played to 15 points.

Teams switch sides every seven points. There is no rotation between partners but serving alternates. Lines are considered in and let serves (when the ball grazes the net and goes over) are legal. Three touches are allowed per side and a block counts as one touch. Sets must be clean (no spinning of the ball). It is best to bump set unless you are an advanced player with hands of gold. Feel free to let the smack talk fly — volleyball is a social, argumentative sport.

Enjoy ocean air, time with friends and a great workout on the beach volleyball court. Tan included. Give it a try!

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