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Beach Volleyball Essentials

You’ve decided to try your hand at one of the fastest growing sports in the world – beach volleyball. But now that you’ve decided to take the leap, you’re not exactly sure about how to get started.

To help you get off on the right foot, here is a list of ten things that every beach player should have.

1. Sunscreen

Don’t let a sunburn ruin your game, be sure to pack enough sunscreen to last the whole day. A ‘Sport’ or waterproof sunscreen is highly recommended because they are resistant to sweat; which means you spend more time playing and less time worrying about re-applying sun block.

2. Sunglasses and/or Hat

Protect your eyes from the harsh ultra-violet rays and take this chance to show off a stylin’ pair of shades.

Keep in mind that because you’ll be moving and diving in all directions, sunglasses that are designed for a high amount of activity are probably your best bet. If you’re having trouble choosing a pair or if you’re not sure whether the one you chose is appropriate for the sand courts, here are a few examples of features to look for:

  • U.V. coating: A U.V. coating will ensure that you are being protected from harmful rays emitted from the sun. If you are unsure if a pair of sunglasses has a U.V. coating, ask the sales person. In this case it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.
  • Polarized lenses: Anyone who has been to the beach knows that the sun’s reflection off the sand and surf can create a pretty nasty glare which can make it difficult to track the ball. Polarized lenses help eliminate the glare and enhance your vision on the beach.
  • Rubber grips: Rubber grips, usually found on the nose piece or ends of the frame, can help keep your shades where they belong.

Remember, a pair of sunglasses does not need to have all of the features mentioned above. Just try to get some that provide protection from harmful U.V. rays and are snug enough to ensure that they won’t fly off your face.

If you prefer not to wear sunglasses, or if you are looking for extra protection from the sun, consider packing a hat in your beach bag. Any hat that you choose should fit tightly enough so that constant motion won’t cause your headgear to continually fall off.

Hot Tip: Electrolytes

Numerous medical studies have shown that electrolyte-replacement drinks, when paired with sufficient amounts of water, are especially helpful in the rehydration process, because they work to restore nutrients (such as potassium, sodium, and chloride) depleted during activity.

3. Water Bottle

Monitoring hydration is important when engaging in any physical activity, but it is especially important when you are in the sun. Sweating out nutrients during competition is inevitable, so you have to make sure that you are able to replenish your fluids during every break. Having a water bottle handy will ensure easy access to the liquids your body needs.

4. Flip Flops/Sandals

Shoes and sand have never been a great combination, so make things easy on yourself and flip flop your way to the court in a pair of sandals. There’s no need to buy any specific type of flip flops. The perfect pair is the one that feels most comfortable to you.

5. Sand Socks

During a hot day the temperature of the sand can rise well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless your hobbies include walking on hot coals, you’ll probably want to invest in a pair of sand socks. True to their name, sand socks are nylon booties designed to be worn on the sand. Sand socks are usually inexpensive and can greatly increase your comfort level on sweltering days.

6. Cooler

Don’t let hunger be the reason your day of beach volleyball is cut short. Remember to bring a cooler and pack lots of water (hydration is cool) and healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and granola bars. As long as you don’t forget the ice, when break time rolls around you’ll be basking in plentitude of ice-cold refreshments.

7. Shade

After hours of fun in the sun, taking a break in the shade will feel like a small slice in heaven. So pack your umbrellas, canopies, tents, large-potted plants, or whatever source of shade you have handy. When your next break comes up, sit back and relax in the shade. You deserve it!

8. Lounge Chairs

Why sit on the sand when you don’t have to? Pull those lounge chairs out of the back of your garage and lug them on down to the beach, the hot sand is the last place you’ll want to be sitting during your well-deserved break..

9. An Outdoor Ball

Leave that old volleyball in the back of your garage where it lays. It’s probably of no use to you. Beach volleyball uses an outdoor ball which is heavier and more sturdy than its indoor counterpart (it's also slightly larger). The reason for this is simple: The indoor volleyball is so light that it is nearly impossible to track when the wind blows. So unless you’re aiming for an afternoon filled with frustration, get your hands on an outdoor volleyball before you hit the sand courts.

10. Beach Volleyball Rule Book

Although fundamentally the same, beach volleyball and indoor volleyball have significant differences. It would be very beneficial to anyone new to the game to obtain a copy of the official rule book. Check out iSport's beach volleyball rules and regulations sections for more information.

Hit the Beach

Now that you know what to pack for a day at the beach it's time to get on your way. So grab a group of friends (or use our Player Search feature to meet new volleyball players in your area) and the items listed above, because the sand courts are calling your name.

From sunglasses to sunscreen, this guide lists ten beach volleyball essentials that every new player should pick up before setting foot on the sand courts.
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