Ailsa Harvey


In beach volleyball, two teams of two players aim to hit the ball over the net and to the ground, while keeping the ball inside the court. The sport is very similar to regular volleyball but is played on sand.

Teams are allowed up to three touches of the ball among them before they are required to send the ball over the net. Teams continue to send the ball back and forth, and the tally ends when a team gains a point by ‘grounding’ the ball on the opposing team’s side of the net, or if the ball falls outside of the court.

The sport is thought to have originated in 1915, on Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. The modern, two player version of the game originated in Santa Monica, California. It was there that the first permanent nets were put in place, on a large sandy area created by jetties. This was a catalyst for the development of beach volleyball in the area.

Did you know…

Beach volleyball debuted at the Olympic Games in 1996.
– The uniform for women competitors has gained much controversy over the years, with accusations that the uniform was intended to be revealing. In 2012, the FIVB – International Volleyball Federation announced it would allow shorts and sleeved tops, as opposed to purely swimwear. This was to allow teams with more religious and cultural requirements to take part.
– On average, volleyball players will jump 300 times one match!
– Beach volleyball is the only Olympic sport which has a rule prohibiting players from wearing too much.
– Quick reactions are essential in a beach volleyball player. The fastest recorded serve on the FIVB World Tour was 114km/h from Russian player Igor Kolodinsky. This is roughly the same top speed as a cheetah!

Have you ever played beach volleyball? Why not give it a try next time you’re at the beach?