As we are approaching the end of March, your player may be sad that her indoor JO seasons are about to wrap up. Tell her to cheer up – because the outdoor season is just getting started! Even if your child has never played outdoor, she can still take part in this version of volleyball that is growing in popularity.
- Unlike indoor, outdoor volleyball is played with two players, although sometimes there is an occasional 3-player tournament (such as our local Bash Before the Clash).
- Games are played on either a grass or sand court.
- There are also a few rule differences with regards to setting and handling the serve.
- Most teams are self-coached, unless one of the players’ parents happens to be a coach or player. Since they are self-coached, players call their own time-outs during a game (I believe they get two per game.)
Where to play
There is a tournament “circuit” for outdoor, and teams may choose the events they prefer to compete in. Tournaments begin in April and the season officially wraps up in late July. The Carolina Region website has an entire area dedicated to outdoor volleyball and posts the scheduled events. However, there are additional tournaments outside of what the Region lists. Players typically hear about them through other players.
Most tournaments offer an online sign up, with fees typically in the $20 range per player. As well, players can almost always just show up at a tournament and pay to play on the spot.
Why kids love it
What’s not to love??? You get to play outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. It is much more laid back than indoor…no one gets bent out of shape if a match doesn’t start on time. Many players like the reliance of just themselves and their partner to make all the plays. If one gets the first hit, the other one gets the next hit – no wondering whose ball it is. They also enjoy getting to choose their partner and play with a good friend. Players get many more touches on the ball than with indoor – so it’s a great way to improve both their passing game and serving.
Parents love it too. Most bring along a pop-up tent, camping chairs, coolers and hang out for the day. We even brought along our hibachi grill and cooked lunch! It is definitely a family event.
how To train
Ideally, players train for outdoor play much like they would for indoor. With sand in particular, there is a definite learning curve and movement is very different than on an indoor court. There are several outdoor training programs in the works (we will post these to our blog). Finding outdoor nets is tough in our area, but we’ll try to get a list going of public nets. Let us know if you are aware of any!
future of outdoor
As the parent of a player who just started outdoor last year as a 13 year old, I can’t say enough good things about outdoor volleyball. My daughter probably enjoys it even more than indoor and plans to continue outdoor even though she’ll be busy this summer with open gym at her high school. More and more colleges are adding outdoor programs, with projections that by 2014, it will become an officially sanctioned NCAA sport. The future looks bright for outdoor volleyball – I highly encourage indoor players to give it a try, as you never know where it could take you!
– Angela Levine