Olympics 2012: how to get involved in volleyball


It’s easy to forget, given the media conga that accompanies women’s beach volleyball, that there are other forms of the game involving men and roofs. All of them share the common feature of smacking a round object really hard with your hands, for which you don’t even need a bikini at all, and in fact can wear anything you like. Indoor volleyball is a popular and sociable sport, and with loads of clubs nationwide it’s one of the easier sports to get involved in.

The basics

In indoor volleyball, two teams of six strike the ball with their hands back and forth over a net that measures 2.43m for men and 2.24m for women. Each player can hit it only once in succession, though each team can hit it up to three times per phase, and a point is scored by successfully grounding (“killing”) the ball on the opposing side. A “fault” (and point) is conceded by hitting the ball out, catching it, touching the net during play or striking the ball four times before passing it over the net. Beach volleyball has similar rules but is contested by teams of two. Sitting volleyball is a Paralympic event akin to indoor volleyball, and is played at plenty of venues around the UK.

Health benefits

A superb bikini tan. I’m kidding, kidding – though a volleyball hobby won’t do your chances of looking good naked any harm. FitnessHealthZone.com estimates that 45 minutes of play burns up to 585 calories, the equivalent of four Corona beers. Which raises the question of why you were even drinking during a volleyball match in the first place.

Equipment, costs and practicalities

Nothing you probably haven’t got already. Indoor volleyball requires trainers, shorts and a T-shirt. Unless you want to round up a few mates and book a court, most local clubs offer sessions for all ability levels. The Go Spike initiative puts on regular “come and try” events nationwide. Go to the relevant national association website below and use the club finders to locate one in your area – most run beginners’ events and welcome applications for their teams.

Trendiness rating: 7/10

Few things are more exciting than an extended volleyball rally. Here’s one.

Inside line

Lisa Wainwright, chief executive of Volleyball England: “We’re hoping that the buzz around the London 2012 Olympic Games will inspire more people to try out volleyball as a fun and exciting new sport, so it’s important that we provide accessible facilities to encourage more regular spectators and players. The Go Spike campaign will help to create a legacy for volleyball and encourage people to adopt healthier, more active lifestyles, creating a sporting habit for life.”

Find out more

volleyballengland.org/ – Volleyball England: the English governing body.

scottishvolleyball.org/ – the Scottish Volleyball Association.

volleyballwales.org/ – Volleyball Wales.

nivb.com/ – Northern Ireland Volleyball.

britishvolleyball.org/ – British Volleyball Federation.

fivb.org/ – International Volleyball Federation.

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Over to you

Do you play volleyball? Help us build up this resource by sharing tips, videos, links to clubs and anything else that beginners might find useful.

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