How It Works:

It wasn’t long after volleyball was created in 1895 that the beach version of the game came into existence. While there are accounts of volleyball being played on the beaches of Normandy and Brittany in 1915, the true birth of beach volleyball can be traced to Santa Monica in southern California where courts were put on the beaches in the late 1920s. The first two-man beach volleyball game was played in 1930.

Following the first sponsored tour being organized in the United States in 1980, the International Volleyball Federation sanctioned its first international beach volleyball tournament on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro in 1987. In 1992-93 the FIVB created a beach volleyball department, leading to the sport being added to the Olympic program at Atlanta 1996. Three years later it debuted at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

Martin Reader Josh Binstock

The playing court for beach volleyball is 16m x 8m, in contrast to the indoor volleyball court which is 18m x 9m. The sand must be at least 40cm deep and composed of fine loosely compacted grains. The nets are at the same height as the indoor game, 2.43m for men and 2.24m for women.

All matches are a best-of-three format. The first two sets go to 21 points, with a winning margin of two points, while a third and deciding set goes to 15 points, with a winning margin of two points. Teams can score a point by winning a rally, regardless of who served.