Being from the Caribbean island of Barbados, means that I have some of the worldâ€™s most beautiful beaches at my disposal (Yes I am biased, but can you blame me? Just Google our beaches!). From a young age, beach day was always a day I could hardly wait for. I would be fascinated with the clear, blue water, the glorious white sand and the many beach crazed people who shared my obsession. Always the active one in the group, people exercising would normally catch my eye. Those who werenâ€™t playing paddle ball in the sand were playing beach cricket, while men were enjoying a game of grueling football or taking a run on the beach. I wanted to do them all, and many times I did! It was because of this, that I would then grow up to spend the majority of my time engaging in any activity on the beach which then led to my all-time favorite beach activity; beach volleyball.
How I Got Started With Beach Volleyball
My name is Stacey and I am an Administrative Services Manager for a car parts retail store. When I am not in the office, I transform into a multi-sport athlete who enjoys vigorous training at the gym or BootCamps. I also play Netball and recently started learning to play Beach Handball. I started training for Beach Volleyball around the age of 18, after transitioning from Indoor Volleyball. Let me tell you, it was not easy! My legs felt like rubber after the first couple of sessions, I was moving slower than a garden snail through syrup and I felt like the sun had taken my energy hostage and held it for ransom. However, after a few weeks, I noticed that my legs started to tone and became stronger, my movement in the sand was a lot faster and my endurance during training drastically improved from when I had first started.
Fun Fact: I represented my country for the first time at the age of 20, in a Beach Volleyball tournament hosted by NORCECA in Cuba back in 2014. I felt every emotion on that trip, but nothing could outdo excitement, making it an experience I could never forget. But donâ€™t worry, now at the age of 25 soon to be 26, I intend to dust off my sand socks and get back to competing very soon.
Playing beach volleyball can be extremely challenging as a result of the sand and sun, which makes it an excellent way to get fit. So hereâ€™s a few reasons, why beach volleyball is all you need to get and stay fit, but first, a brief summary on how to play.
How to Play Beach Volleyball
Itâ€™s a fun sport that anyone can play, where the object of the game is to keep the ball in the air on your side of the court, while trying to score points on your opponentsâ€™ side. Finding a court is easy, as most beaches usually have nets set up. All you need is a group of four or more people (two or more per side) and a ball.Â The ball can hit any part of your body just as long as it stays in the air for your teammate to play. Thereâ€™s a catch, one person canâ€™t contact the ball twice in a row. Each side has three chances to get the ball over to the opponentsâ€™ side. You win the point when you and your team make it difficult for your opponents to return the ball to your side. Professional Beach volleyball has 2 players to a side but when you play for recreation and to work out the more the merrier! Whichever team has the most points (set to 21) wins the set! However, if you just want to have fun while getting fit at the same time, just dash away the points and enjoy the game. Youâ€™llÂ have such a great time, releasing stress and almost forget youâ€™re working out! (Almost). Now onto the reasons why beach volleyball keeps you fit.
Reason 1: Sand Resistance Burns a Ton of Calories
Doing any physical activity in the sand will naturally build stamina, strength, and endurance over time. Not to mention a killer beach bod! Sand is the perfect resistance tool, while playing beach volleyball because it helps to build a stronger and more toned physique. So its always best to keep hydrated and eat well to fuel your body for movement in the sand while playing beach volleyball as it makes you exert a lot of energy, thus burning calories.
Reason 2: The Environment Is A Stress-Reliever
The open-air and scenery helps to relieve stress in addition to playing. But did you know it can also improve your mood? Playing volleyball in the sun will ensure that you get your vitamin D, so long as you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from too much sun exposure (like wearing sunscreen, a hat and shades, like I do!).
Reason 3: Meet People Who Can Keep You Motivated
You can find many people all around the world participating in a game of beach volleyball, whether professionally or for recreation and fitness. Therefore making it a great way to network and find other beach volleyball enthusiasts or possible workout partners to help you on your fitness journey. Make it a date, form a group of 3 or more, so you can encourage and motivate each other. Itâ€™s so much more fun when you workout with others on the same fit trail as you are.
Indoor Beach Volleyball Facilities
Between the sun if you live in a tropical area and the cold weather conditions in other areas, may be tough on your body at first, if youâ€™re not accustomed to it. Trust me, those of us who have trained and played in these conditions completely understand. This is why there has been a steady growth of Indoor Beach Volleyball Facilities all across the United States and also around the world. Where players wonâ€™t be interrupted by the rain, be affected by stubborn winds moving the ball out of reach (been there!) or forced to retire a good game because the sunâ€™s rays prove to be a stronger opponent. Some facilities may offer training or lessons, while most may cater to Beach volleyball Competitions or Leagues. Some Indoor Beach Facilities around the world include Beach House Volleyball, which as of 2018 was the first and currently only Indoor Beach Volleyball Facility in the state of Arizona, The Beach Volleyball Centre in Canada, Highline Arena and a facility at Oak Academy School in Bournemouth, both in the UK. The worldâ€™s largest Indoor Beach Volleyball facility, however, is the SEFA Beach Centre located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Unfortunately, even if you live in the area of any of the indoor facilities, most of them are by booking only as there is limited space and may have a fee attached. Nevertheless, good old fashioned outdoors Beach Volleyball will always be available and free.
To Beach? Or not to Beach? Why Is It Even A Question?
So for those of you who are already packing your sunscreen and workout gear as youâ€™re reading this, letâ€™s get to work! Maybe Iâ€™ll see you on a beach somewhere in the future and we can have a game. In Barbados maybe? A little birdie may have told you they have some of the best beaches everâ€¦