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Definition: beach volleyball from Dictionary of Sports and Games Terminology

(volleyball) a form of the game played barefoot on an outdoor sandy court between teams of two players [originally played on a beach]


Summary Article: Beach Volleyball from The Encyclopedia of Tourism and Recreation in Marine Environments

Beach volleyball is a game in which opposing teams hit a ball somewhat smaller than a basketball back and forth over a net. Teams strive to keep the volleyball in the air at all times. After a serve, play continues in the manner of a tennis competition until the volleyball hits the ground within the playing court, falls out of bounds or an error of some kind is made by a player. A ‘three-hit’ rule limits the number of times one team can strike the volleyball before it crosses the net. The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the source of official rules. FIVB stipulates that a beach volleyball court should measure 16 × 8 m. The height of the net should be 2.43 m for men and 2.24 m for women.

Beach volleyball differs from traditional volleyball in two important respects. First, the game is played on sand rather than on a hard surface. Second, beach volleyball is played with two players on each team rather than six.

Volleyball originated in the late 19th century in the USA. Shortly thereafter the game spread first to Canada and subsequently to many other parts of the world. The first world championships were held in 1949, and volleyball became an Olympic event in 1964. Beach volleyball was developed in the 1920s in Santa Monica, California. Today, beach volleyball is extremely popular in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, France and many other nations known for sun, sand and surf amenities. The first Manhattan Beach Open (Southern California) was held in 1960. It is considered the ‘Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball’ - the most prestigious tournament in the world. Beach volleyball was added to the summer Olympics programme in 1996.

Related internet sources

Beach Volleyball: http://www.beachvolleyball.com.au

FIVB Official Beach Volleyball Rules: http://www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/Rules/en-Offi%20 Rules%202002%20mise-2.pdf

Marc L. Miller
© CAB International 2008.

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