High-spirited cries and laughs resound! Grown men and women dive, lunge, scream and high-five on a sand court with a high net as they attempt to spike a ball and win a point for their team.
What am I talking about? Beach volleyball, of course!
Originally conceived in 1915 at the Outrigger Canoe Club, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, Beach Volleyball has grown in popularity from casual pastime to an Olympic sport.
It’s also a part of Barcelona Beach culture with players of all standards and ages competing to be Lords of the Sand.
Two teams of two players play on a court of dimensions sixteen by eight meters. Of course, having more players is sometimes more fun and often seen in friendly games.
One team will serve and send the ball over the net to start a point. A team is allowed up to three touches to return the ball across the net with the intention of grounding the ball on the opponent’s court.
The point is completed when the ball is either grounded within the confines of the court or lands outside of the court (marked by lines), much like tennis. The team that scores a point serves to start the next one.
The first team to reach 21 points wins the set, and the first team to win two sets wins the match. In a deciding set, teams must win by 2 points.
If you don’t want to stand out as a newbie then here are some useful terms to boost your beach credibility:
Digging – is when a player attempts to prevent an opponent’s attack hit from touching the court.
The Set – is the second team contact. Its purpose is to position the ball for an attack on the third hit.
Spiking – hitting the ball hard with one open hand on a downward trajectory from above the top of the net.
Rolling – a similar motion to spiking, but softer and with an arcing trajectory.
Dinking – directing the ball very softly, low over the net.
Where to play
Groups like meetup.com invite players to take part in friendly but competitive matches. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn to score and count in Spanish, while at the same time improving your skills. Simply arrange a match via the group’s website
For a more structured learning facility contact Barcelona Beach Club (BBC). BBC can boast an academy of professional courts on various beaches in Barcelona. Their system follows a program divided into 4 different levels, combining progressive objectives with a weekly competition.
Stag and Hen parties looking for activity based fun should contact Barcelona Tours who will organise a beach volleyball tournament, supply all necessary equipment, including a referee, and water for rehydration in the summer heat.
With permanent beach courts and a relaxed, friendly vibe, Barcelona is an ideal place to begin your beach volleyball career!