Beach Volleyball is a sport played by two teams of two players each on a playing court divided by a net. The court is one meter narrower and one meter shorter than a Volleyball court.

The object of the game is to send the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent's court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent.  Each team has three hits for returning the ball.  The usual pattern is dig, set and spike.  The defending team will try to block the opponent's spike as it crosses the net and go to any length to keep the ball off the floor.

The ball is put in play with a service and the rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes "out", or a team fails to return it properly.  As teams have three touches, the server can be quite tactical as to who he serves towards as this person is likely to be the one attacking.

In Beach Volleyball, the team winning a rally scores a point (Rally Point System). When the receiving team wins a rally, it gains a point and the right to serve, and the next player moves to serve – therefore alternating each service run.

The first team to score 21 points and be a minimum of two clear from the opposition wins a set, and the first team to get 2 sets wins the match.  Should a match go to a third and deciding set, this is played to 15 points and two clear.

A team is two players on the court with no substitutes.

The birth of Beach Volleyball

The game of volleyball which gave “root” to beach volleyball is invented in 1895 by American William G. Morgan who blended elements of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball to create a less physical game for his classes of businessmen.  The original name of the game is Mintonette, which is derived from badminton, since the nature of the game is to volley a ball back and forth across the net.

Pictured: The beginnings of Beach Volleyball on Hawaiian beaches in 1915 [FIVB]

In 1900 Canada becomes the first country outside of the USA to take up volleyball, followed by Cuba in 1906, Japan in 1908, China in 1911, France in 1915 (during World War I on the beaches of Normandy and Brittany). The true birth of beach volleyball most likely begins on the beaches of Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, also in 1915, then in Italy, Russia and India in 1917 and the rest of Europe in 1918 via the American Expeditionary Forces.

Pictured: Paris hosts it's first Beach Volleyball in the 1930s

As all teams needed was a bathing suit, a net, a ball and sand to play, the fever caught on rapidly by those going to the beach. Beach volleyball first appeared in Europe in Palavas, Lacanau and Royan in France; around Sofia, Bulgaria; Prague, Czech Republic; and Riga, Latvia in the 1930s with team size varying in size drastically.

The first official two-man beach volleyball tournament was held at State Beach, California, with no prize money. It was organised by Bernie Holtzman and won by Saenez-Harris.

Pictured: Beach Volleyball in the 60s

Full History
1
American Roots

In the 1920s the first beach volleyball courts were constructed in Santa Monica, California. The first two man game played on the beach took place in 1930.

2
Individual

No coaching is allowed during matches, and there are no substitutes in case of bad form or injury permitted.

3
Start of EuroBeachVolley

The first European Championships were organised in Almeria (Spain) in 1993 for men only and then in 1994 for both genders.

4
Lifestyle

Beach Volleyball teams pick which competitions they wish to attend, often deciding based on the prize money available and ranking points of offer – all aimed at moving up the ladder and ultimately qualifying for an Olympic Games.

5
Olympic Journey

In 1992, beach volleyball was introduced at the Summer Olympics. In 1996, beach volleyball finally became an official Olympic sport for both women and men. To date it is the only Olympic sport that has a rule prohibiting players from wearing too much!

Players are required to perform all aspects of the game, but usually consist of a specialised blocker and a defender.

Fact

The ball:

Due to the ball being used outside, potentially in wet weather the ball is required to be more water resistant than an Indoor Volleyball. Mikasa VLS 300 balls are currently used in all CEV Beach Volleyball competitions.