Beach volleyball is a great impromptu game. Almost anywhere that there is sand and a net; groups of friends, acquaintances, and sometimes even strangers will gather for a few rounds of beach volleyball. A playful game of beach volleyball doesn't have to be too strenuous, so it is easy to have teams with people of all different ages and with mixed levels of fitness. This makes beach volleyball an ideal family game for a lively summer afternoon.
Of course, beach volleyball can be also be a very strenuous game in a competitive setting. When serious athletes get together for a beach volleyball tournament, the ball flies through the air fast and viciously.
To play beach volleyball, you only need a minimum of two people per team for a total of four players. However, the less experienced and skilled the players are, the more people you will probably want to have on each team in order to keep the ball in the air. The more players that are involved, the less ground each player will be responsible for covering. A game with just a few participants is likely to be quite a workout as everybody scrambles across the sand to reach the ball; whereas in a game with a large team different players can concentrate on their own areas of the sand, enabling them to rest a bit when the ball is elsewhere. The fact that beach volleyball can be a fun, low-key game for a friendly crowd of casual players or a serious endeavor with a quartet of accomplished athletes makes it one of the most versatile sports.
The rules of beach volleyball are the same as the rules for any form of volleyball, but play on the sand tends to be a bit different than play on a court. It is much more difficult to move quickly on sand than it is on most surfaces, so play is generally slower than in court volleyball. To train for beach volleyball, athletes must spend a lot of time developing their lower body strength so they can move quickly and accurately across the ground despite the friction and resistance of the sand. While powerful legs are an important part of successful volleyball play, the ability to jump high and hard and land without injury are substantially more vital in beach volleyball than in court volleyball.
Even experienced court players often don't anticipate how difficult it will be to run and jump on sand, so volleyball players who are new to the beach often sustain injuries because they misjudged how much resistance the sand would give them. Skinned knees and elbows are par for the course among players at all levels of the game, especially because a player often forgets to protect him or herself when diving for the ball in the heat of the game.
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