Are you new to beach volleyball and don’t quite know where to start? Well you’re in good hands, because we’re here to tell you all there is to know for a beginning beach volleyball player. Beach volleyball is a great sport because you can be super active while having fun in the sand! Even better, San Diego has some of the best spots for beach volleyball. This sport is a great workout and a fantastic way to socialize, but we understand jumping into new sports can be intimidating. Don’t worry, we’re going to help you in this new journey by sharing 5 tips for beach volleyball beginners.

Tip #1: How to Play/Conditioning

Before you jump in and start playing an actual game of beach volleyball, it is essential to learn how to prepare and know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Obviously, this sport is played in the sand. Sand makes you move slower, get tired faster, and reduces your vertical jump. To control the rate at which you expend energy, focus on taking small steps and never forget to drink lots...and lots of water! Also, most people play barefoot, but just in case your feet get too hot during a game, you can look into purchasing a pair of sand socks to prevent burns and keep your feet cool.

In terms of physical preparation, unless you're an experienced volleyball player, you may want to consider touching up your footwork and serving skills. It can’t hurt to go out to your nearest beach and practicing walking, running, jumping, and side-stepping to prepare for an actual practice or game.

Tip #2: Equipment

Another reason this sport is so great is that it requires minimal personal equipment. You’ll obviously need a beach volleyball, which is softer, lighter, and a little bit bigger than an indoor volleyball. Another thing to think about is a net. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you plan ahead and check if there are permanent nets there.

Besides a ball and a net, there are a few other small things you might want to consider. As to clothing, you’ll want to wear loose, breathable clothing like tank tops and shorts. In order to prevent a sunburn, make sure to bring a good sweat proof sunscreen with a high SPF. There’s nothing worse than spending all day in the sun and realizing you never put on sunscreen. You may also want a hat or visor and a durable pair of sunglasses with a strap. For more on beach volleyball sunglasses, check out our blog on Best Beach Volleyball Sunglasses of 2019.

Tip #3: How to get a Game

Now that you’re ready to play in an actual game, you need to ensure you have an actual court to play on. When you go with a group, it’s better to arrive early and claim a net so you don’t have to wait for one to open up. If you show up with a partner and have experience playing, it’s always an option to “challenge” another pair if there aren’t any open nets. When you do this, it’s important to assess the level of play your opponent is at to assure it’s a good match up.

Side Note: Once you have a game going on a busy beach, it is considered bad etiquette to take breaks and leave the net empty for long periods of time because others may be waiting to play.

Tip #4: Choosing a Position

In beach volleyball, there are no specialized positions. On each side of the net there are 2 people that should both be able to block, set, dig, and hit at any time. When you get to a higher level, usually one person is dedicated to blocking, and the other to digging. But for now, just go out there, have fun, and share the responsibilities!

Tip #5: Learning the Rules

Lastly, it’s finally time to learn the official rules of beach volleyball! It consists of the same basic rules of indoor volleyball, but there are a few differences. Each side only has 3 touches to return the ball, and any ball hitting the ground calls for a point. A match consists of three sets, and the first team to win two sets wins the match. You win a set by reaching 21 points before your opponent (teams must win by two points), and the third tiebreaker set, if necessary, is only played to 15 points.

Teams switch sides every seven points and there is no rotation between the players except alternating who serves. Lines are considered in, blocks count as one touch, and sets must be clean (no spinning the ball).

And last but not least, have fun! This is a social sport and it is what you make of it. Enjoy the beach, ocean air, and the opportunity to get a great tan!

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