1. Who to play with
To get started you need a group of like-minded people interested in beach volleyball that play roughly on the same level as you do (i.e. beginners). It usually makes sense to attend some beginners’ training courses (see chapter “Who to learn from”) to learn the basic techniques before starting with the above-mentioned group. Once you have done that, you should look out for a beginners’ group in your area. There are several options:
- Many universities and schools offer courts and playing options to students and non-students. Check out the extra-curricular activities of these institutions in your area.
- In many cities/regions Facebook groups have been established that organize regular events for beginners.
- Most major cities have active Meetup communities that connect beach volleyball enthusiasts. Check out Meetup.com.
Once you took some training classes and found your group to regularly play, you might consider finding a fixed partner to regularly train and play with. When it comes to (long-term) partner selection you should have in mind that there are different main types of players to differentiate based on their offense and defense preferences.
On offense, there are players rather playing on the right side of the court when they pass, set and hit (right-side players). Left-side players rather play on the left side of the court. On defense, there are defenders and blockers. Some players can do both, but especially in more professional teams there are clear roles. Based on these differentiations, four groups can be distinguished (see below). The most compatible combinations are the exact opposite ones. Others are possible but in these cases players have to be flexible in their preferences and/or diverse in their skills. Therefore, players being able to play on both sides of the court on the offense and play blocker or defender in the defense are the most compatible ones. Especially for beginners it is recommended not to focus on one specific skill set but to learn all aspects of the game and keep options open.
Figure 10: Player Types
2. Who to learn from
When it comes to learning beach volleyball, you should consider training courses, beach camps and (personal) coaches.
In contrast to indoor volleyball there are still only few beach volleyball clubs which can be addressed to get started with beach volleyball on club level and with professional support. Often beach volleyball is a part/subdivision of a regular indoor volleyball club.
To get started with (professional) training, the first option is to address a regular indoor volleyball club in your region. This will probably also provide the opportunity to play beach volleyball.
A second option is to attend training courses offered by universities and schools as mentioned above. This is even for non-students a convenient and often inexpensive way to get involved in regular training.
Finally, beach court operators have also started to fill the gap and provide training classes with certified trainers. Some operators even offer indoor courts and training classes for continuous playing during the winter season. For listings of beach court operators please refer to the online resources.
A great way to get started and to combine beach volleyball with a taste of vacation are beach volleyball camps. These camps offer professional training courses in attractive beach locations with other motivated players for a certain amount of time. Beach volleyball camps vary widely by duration, level, location and of course training and trainer quality. For more information, refer to the online resources.
A coach is a great way to receive individual, professional support. When looking for a coach to get started, several aspects have to be kept in mind:
Check what the coach has done before and who he has coached. What was his focus and which “schools” does he recommend?
- Teaching style and philosophy
Make sure that the coach’s teaching and communication style fits your requirements. If you need someone to take you by your hand, you shouldn’t go for a beach volleyball professor. Also make sure to know and trust your coaches training philosophy.
- Required attention
Make sure your potential coach has enough time and attention for you. If he is dealing with a big number of players, getting his full attention might prove difficult.
To limit cost and to have a motivating group experience it is recommended to have a group of like-minded beginners and to look for a coach together.
For more information on coaches refer to the online resources.
3. Where to play
Depending on where you live, looking for a beach volleyball court may be a challenge. Major cities usually offer decent options but in small cities and in the countryside it is a different story. In principle there are three options for finding a court: indoor, outdoor and “bring your own net”.
Especially during the summer playing outdoor is supposedly the best option. There is a good amount of outdoor court operators that offer professional courts often combined with beach and even party atmosphere. Playing outdoor represents the original spirit of beach volleyball because it is closest to experiencing a beach atmosphere. This usually compensates for some disturbances by wind and weather.
In bad weather conditions and during winter time, playing indoor is a wide-spread option as well. There are way less indoor beach volleyball court operators than outdoor, but a quick research usually provides sufficient options. Playing indoor can be fun as well, especially since you are not prone to wind and weather. On the other hand, it is usually associated with higher cost and longer travel times.
Finally, you can buy your own net and play where you want. Parks, public green areas and beaches provide dedicated sandboxes / sand areas where you can set up your own net. Buying your own net might prove beneficial in the mid- and long-term. A net of average quality costs between 70-200 $ and after the initial investment you can save significantly because no more court fees are incurred. However, these savings come along with making sure to secure the rare public space spots that are usually available in most areas.
For court listings refer to the online resources.
Next: Tips & Tricks