4 Interesting Facts about Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball is more than a variation of indoor volleyball. It’s a different sport entirely, with its own rules and techniques.
4 Interesting Facts about Beach Volleyball

Last update: 25 March, 2021

Beach volleyball is a fairly popular sport, especially in coastal countries or cities. It’s quite different from indoor volleyball. There are many interesting facts about this sport that you should definitely know!

Interesting facts about beach volleyball

From its origins to its game rules, this is a sport that attracts a lot of attention and has several interesting facts. Below, we’ll tell you all about some of them:

1. Controversy over its creation

For some, the sport’s creators were members of the Georgia Morgan family from the city of Massachusetts, United States, in 1895. However, other versions claim that people played beach volleyball for the first time in Uruguay in 1914.

Therefore, it isn’t very clear when it arose. Some hypotheses also led to the beaches of California, as its athletes were very creative. And, of course, to Brazil, as a championship on the sand was organized in 1941. People played on the beaches of Lebrones, Emancipa, and Achabacana.

And that’s not all! France is also credited with the creation of beach volleyball. Experts say that its first tournaments date back to 1935, before the establishment of the French Volleyball Federation.

A beach volleyball ball in the sand.
Beach volleyball is a very popular sport in several countries.

2. The game system: beach volleyball

This is one of the main differences between traditional or indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. In the latter, there are only two players per team, instead of six. In turn, the players can’t leave or change position at any time during the game. The players don’t have fixed positions and one of the two is the captain.

Both men and women should play barefoot and in bathing suits. A controversy recently arose regarding this rule during the Olympic Games Rio 2016. This is because the Egyptian women’s team wore clothing that covered them completely, except for the face, feet, and hands.

3. Playing field

People play this sport outdoors, although not always on the beach. Actually, they can simply play on the sand. The playing field is 52 x 26 feet and is only delimited by the back and sidelines.

A team can score a goal when one of the players drops the ball into the opponent’s court. Each team can hit the ball a maximum of three times before passing it to the other side of the net. No team member can hold it or touch it twice in a row.

A match has three sets and the team that wins two sets wins, whether they’re consecutive or not. Each set is 21 points and a team must have a two-point advantage to win. For example, for a team to win, their score must be 21-19. In case of a tie, the teams should play a third 15-point set. To win, the team must also have a two-point advantage. Every seven disputed points, the volleyball teams switch ends of the court.

4. International competitions: beach volleyball

Beach volleyball was annexed to the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (In English: International Volleyball Federation), in 1986. In 1992, it was introduced at the Summer Olympic Games as a demonstration event. Atlanta 1996 was the first Olympic Beach Volleyball competition. Since then, it’s played every four years.

People playing beach volleyball.
One of the main differences between indoor volleyball and beach volleyball is the playing surface.

The United States has won six gold medals, followed by Brazil with three, Germany with two, and Australia with one. However, with 13 medals, Brazil has won the most. In addition to three gold medals, they’ve seven silver and three bronze.

The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship, the most prestigious international competition, has been held since 1997. The latest took place in Hamburg, Germany in 2019. It’s awarded every two years, both in the male and female categories. Brazil is the country with the most titles so far, 12. It’s followed by the United States and Germany.

In short, this is a sport that isn’t only played at a professional level. Every summer, you can enjoy it with your friends or strangers on any beach in the world. However, most people usually play a mix between indoor and beach volleyball, mainly due to the number of players per team.

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