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The passionate world of beach volleyball in Germany and all around the world

Recognized as an Olympic discipline in 1996, beach volleyball has become a popular sport and has millions of followers around the world. In this article, we will walk you through its main rules and how you can get started in this healthy, fun, summer competition. Beach volleyball is an energetic, technical, and fun sport, ideal for playing with friends this summer. 

In beach volleyball, two teams compete on a court separated by a central net. The goal of both teams is to pass the ball over this net to the opposing ground. The ball can be hit with the hand, but it cannot be caught or held.

Each team has a limited number of touches to return the ball to the opposing court. It can be touched with the hands, arms, or any other part of the body.

What are the specific rules for Beach volleyball?

The official rules of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) are as follows:

Field measurements: the field is a rectangle 16 meters long by 8 meters wide, starting from the outer edge of the lines delimiting the playing field. Around the playing field, there is a safety strip without obstacles of 3 meters wide. The playing area must be separate from the public areas.

Players: the official game field is set for two people versus two people.

Allowed hits: when the ball is in the game field, players of a team can only make a maximum of three hits in a row.

Net: it is 8.5 meters long and 1 meter wide when stretched. It is placed vertically on the central axis of the land. For men, the height of the upper edge of the net is 2.43 meters; for women, 2.24 meters; for 16 years old and under 2.24 meters; 14 years old and under 2.12 meters; 12 years old and under 2 meters.

Ball: the outer surface must be made of soft material (leather or synthetic), which does not absorb moisture, with a rubber interior. Bright colors like orange, yellow, pink … or a combination of colors. The circumference of the balloon will be 66 to 68 centimeters and its weight from 260 to 280 grams.

Equipment: the outfit consists of a top (sleeveless T-shirt for men and “top” for women) and bottom (shorts for men and bikini for women or swimsuit). T-shirts must be numbered from 1 to 12 on the front, with a different color from that of the T-shirt or pants. Players may also wear a cap, visor or headband, sunglasses, knee pads (approved by the technical committee of the event), a watch or bracelets.

Signs, lines: they are made by elastic bands, flexible, resistant and without sharp edges, about 5 centimeters wide. Anchors in the sand should be synthetic or wooden, to a depth of at least 25 centimeters.

Sand: the playing field must be composed of level sand, as flat and uniform as possible, without stones or shells.

According to the FIVB Beach Volleyball Exercise Manual, training or warming up for beach volleyball helps reduce the risk of injury and promote play situations.

Players not only need to be skilled with the ball but also need to be able to deal with the adversities of outdoor play, such as loose sand, sun, and wind.

We mainly work on the resistance of the legs and balance, since the body must adapt to an environment to which we are not used: the sand (where we also practice sandboarding), a surface where we weigh more and lose of mobility.

Volleyball is less demanding on the cardiovascular level, but the aerobic part (jump, speed, and lightness) is fundamental. The calves, glutes, and quads are exercised through the constant squat position (legs bent) and jump.

How different are traditional volleyball and beach volleyball from each other?

Beach volleyball is a variation of volleyball, but with a few differences:

Court: Beach volleyball is played on the sand, usually on the beach, although tournaments on artificial courts are also common.

Dimensions: the beach volleyball court is smaller (18 x 6) than the volleyball court (18 x 8).

Players: in beach volleyball, there are 2 players and there is no possibility of substitution. In volleyball, there are 6 players and there may be changes, as well as a rotation of positions.

Equipment: volleyball equipment consists of sports shoes, socks, shorts, team shirts, and knee pads. Beach volleyball, on the other hand, is played barefoot.

Coaching: the volleyball coach can give instructions to the players during the match; the beach volleyball coach cannot do it.

Sets: in beach volleyball, you play in 3 sets, and to win a set you just have to reach 21 points with a difference of 2 points; in volleyball, it can be 3, 4, or 5 sets, and to win a set you have to reach 25 points with an advantage of 2.

In volleyball, you need a playing area of ​​18 by 9 meters while in Beach volleyball, you just need 16 by 8 meters. The Beach volleyball team is made up of two players without staff or substitutes. that in volleyball, we have 6 players, 6 substitutes; a staff, and a coach.

In beach volleyball, any ball sent by the opponent must be hit; which would result in penalties in volleyball where certain balls must be pushed or faked. The beach volleyball match is played in 2 winning sets of 21 points while that of volleyball has 3 winning sets of 25 points with the same duration for the tie-break.

In volleyball it is only at the time of the tie-break that you change sides, in beach volleyball, it happens every 7 points. The pressure of the beach volleyball is lower compared to that of the volleyball. The position of the player does not matter in beach volleyball, it is sufficient to respect the order of service, while in volleyball both rules are mandatory.

As you can see, these two hand sports seem to merge, but all the same, keep their specific characteristics of the rules to the types of balls which makes them two disciplines at the Olympics.

How beneficial beach volleyball is for your health?

Volleyball is a fun, non-contact sport with simple principles. Indoors, on the grass or the sand, you should always start with having fun.

Volleyball is a sport where you can start at your own pace. In leisure and between friends, you can easily adapt the rhythm of the exchanges and therefore of the match according to your capacities. In the game, you repeat short and energetic efforts: it means that you can start without having great endurance because you develop it as you practice without losing sight of the initial pleasure of volleyball.

Are you more cardio or a force player? In volleyball, you can combine the two. With volleyball, you practice short, intense, and repeated efforts. Your races, your jumps, and your strikes are done over a few meters and a few seconds. You work on your explosiveness – it’s your ability to accelerate during your movement – and your power: it is the force you put into your movement after the acceleration.

We’re not going to lie to you, you’ll still be doing laps at the start of the warm-up. But you gradually improve your endurance and gain tone thanks to the alternation between rest phases and short exertion phases.

In volleyball, you run, jump and sometimes you dive. For your muscles, it’s complete!

The suit is one of the synonyms of the receiver-attacker position. And it’s also your muscles with volleyball! Your legs are constantly solicited: defense involves flexible and lively support, legs bent. Short runs and jumps strengthen your calves, thighs, and glutes.

In attack, you work your arms, shoulders, and pecs. And as you jump, your back and core strength.

Volleyball works your coordination. In attack and defense, it’s all about balance. Even in beach volleyball, you can make overall progress on your balance and coordination. In attack as in defense, you use your reflexes and your skill. You must be flexible and toned on your supports and the many jumps stimulate your proprioception.

With the technique and gestures of volleyball, you will therefore benefit from a complete and balanced work on your speed, your reflexes, your address, and your coordination.

In the ball game as in the team game, volleyball is a trading sport.

The rules of volleyball transform it into the ultimate team sport: no contact with the opponent and no one keeps the ball!

Indeed, with three touches to return the ball and the prohibition to make a double touch, you exchange constantly with your partners.

Besides, some positions give you special responsibilities: in passing, you organize the game and you put your partners in good attacking conditions. At the libero post, you specialize in receiving to relieve your attackers. To keep the ball alive, you, therefore, rely on trust in your partners and team cohesion.

In conclusion, you will gain strength and health at the same time that you train your mind and your teamwork/leadership skills

A brief history of beach volleyball in Germany

According to “Kings of the Beach: The Story of Beach Volleyball by Smith/Feinman”, beach volleyball was first played in Santa Monica in the 1920s. The first world championships took place in the 1970s. Since then the professionalization of beach volleyball could no longer be stopped. In 1996, beach volleyball was considered for the first time an Olympic sport during the games hosted in Atlanta, USA. Beach volleyball also developed rapidly in Germany. The first beach volleyball tournament took place on German soil as early as 1989.

  • In 1991 the DVV organized this first national series
  • In 1992 the first German Beach Volleyball Championships are held in Damp
  • In 1994 a total of 15,400 volleyball players took part in beach volleyball events of all kinds in Germany
  • In 1995 the first Beach Volleyball World Series tournament took place in Berlin
  • In 1996 at the first Olympic beach volleyball tournament, Beate Bühler/Danja Müsch took 7th place and Jörg Ahmann/Axel Hager took 9th place at the Olympic Games in Atlanta
  • As early as in 1997 there were over 5,000 stationary beach volleyball facilities in Germany
  • In 1999 the German Beach Volleyball Championships took place in Timmendorf for the first time
  • In 2000, Jörg Ahmann/Axel Hager sensationally won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney

At least since then, volleyball has emerged from its niche in Germany. But it is a long way to go before we get to the SMART Beach Volleyball series that exists today, the national beach volleyball series of the German Volleyball Association (DVV):

  • From 1993 to 1999 Liptonice was the sponsor and namesake of the German Masters and Cups series
  • from 2000 to 2002, deodorant manufacturer Mum lends its name to the German beach volleyball series
  • In 2003 Renault (Cups) and Vodafone (Masters) share the naming rights: The German Vodafone Beach Volleyball Championships take place in Timmendorf
  • In 2004, Renault and Zurich Insurance will again share the series, which will culminate in the German Zurich Beach Volleyball Championships in Timmendorf
  • In 2005 Nokia joins the Cup, Zurich remains the namesake for the Masters and the German Championships
  • SMART will take over the series from 2006 – until today!

Nowadays, participation in the tournaments is equally possible for both German and foreign teams. Teams of mixed nationalities can also compete. In all tournaments of this series points can be collected for the German ranking list, 75 points for a tournament victory, 100 points for the victory in a SuperCups (tournaments with double prize money), 150 points for the victory of the German championship. The tournaments are played on three to five playing fields.

The best 16 teams in the German rankings qualify for the German smart beach volleyball championships. Entry to all tournaments on the smart beach tour and the German smart beach volleyball championships is free.

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