Viking Tries: Beach Volleyball

Ben Cleasby, Staff Writer

Volleyball is everywhere: at schools, with friends in the park, and even played as a year-round sport. However, as soon as some sand is thrown under the feet of those who attempt to play this sport, it becomes a whole lot harder and a whole lot more tiring.

Beach volleyball is nearly the same as court volleyball except that it’s played on an entirely different surface. Rules-wise, there are some minor scoring changes, a different amount of players and a smaller court size.

This spinoff sport was created sometime around the 1920s and is credited to have started in either Waikiki, Hawaii or in Santa Monica, California according to NCSA athletic recruiting.

 Considering that it is still summer, and California is known for its beaches, The Viking decided to take on this popular sport. There are courts located on the Stanford campus right here in our own backyard and the only thing that you need to bring is the beach volleyball itself. However, if you are looking to play on one of California’s beaches, there are no well-known places with nets already set up. Occasionally a few spots by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk have nets set up for sanctioned tournaments. An alternative would be to buy your own net or to borrow one and go set up on any of the beaches nearby, which would only take roughly fifteen minutes.

The game is simple to pick up, and a beginner can easily have fun with a couple of friends. Rallying, or simply hitting the ball back to one another counting points depending on which side the ball falls, is a fun and easy way for new players to get the hang of the game. For The Viking, that is exactly what we did. It was a casual game between friends, ignoring a lot

of the rules that we didn’t even know about. The two-on-two games were tightly contested as we never even served from behind the line and added a “no outs on serves rule” to help get things rolling for us. Usually the server needs to serve the ball from behind the line. Servers in volleyball switch in an order so that no one server is allowed to serve three times in a row, but in beach volleyball there is no penalty for switching servers out of order. We ignored rules such as this simply because they made the game too difficult for us.

Just having to try to hit the ball back over the net was a challenge for us. A lot of the time the ball would randomly spring in any direction other than where we wanted it to go. Another difficulty was communication. Often times the ball would be hit between my partner and me and we would both first lunge to hit the ball. With the lack of communication, we would both get out of the way allowing the ball to fall right in front of our faces.

Despite these small factors that make the game of beach volleyball difficult, there was still one factor that conquered all, the sand. Trying to run on those tiny grains of rock completely diminishes your speed, causing you to dive for a lot of balls you would usually be able to reach with ease. Oh, and say goodbye to your agility as you try to make one quick turn and your foot is planted in the sand not allowing you to budge in the other direction.

Beach volleyball reaches its prime every four years when the summer Olympics hits the television as Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings dominate in the sport, winning gold medals three Olympics in a row in 2004, 2008, 2012 according to Team USA. However, these two athletes will soon be retiring which may lead to the sport losing popularity, as the public is unaware of any new rising players.

The game may seem very difficult, but it’s incredibly entertaining trying to push your body to the limit and spending a nice day out on the sand with a couple of good friends. Also, beware of unwanted sand that just so happens to fall down your pants or the next thing you know you’ll have a beach of your own. <<<