Getting on the Beach Court and Playing Games is Easier
In many areas, access to sand, clay or grass volleyball courts is free. You do not need a coach or a club, you just have to get there with a ball. Pick up games are common so you only need four people (not 12) to play a real game. In many cases, you will not need anyone to come along–just show up and work your way into a game. It is beach volleyball after all and the culture is (usually) friendly and laid back. If you don’t have four people, you can play a game of “Threes.” Only two people? Work on drills. Out there by yourself? Work on your serve. The point is this, outdoor courts are plentiful in many public places and you do not need to pay a club for court access.
Tournament Play Requires Just 2 People
Want to play in a beach volleyball tournament? You just need a partner, registration fee for the tournament (usually $30-$60 per team for single day tournaments but check the website for a given tournament) and (in most cases) a standard annual USAV or AAU (again, check with the tournament host) membership for insurance purposes. Here is what you don’t need:
- a club,
- a coach (in fact, coaching during matches is generally banned at beach volleyball tournaments),
- a uniform
You can play in shorts and a tee shirt, a bathing suit or whatever (well, not literally whatever). You don’t even need shoes!
Pick and Choose When You Play
Playing beach volleyball means you show up to tournaments when you want to based on each tournament location and schedule. There is no season season schedule as with typical indoor club teams. If you want to play one tournament during the indoor schedule just to have fun or keep in form? No problem. Want to play every tournament you can get to all year long? All the better!
The Path to A Scholarship in Indoor is Complicated
So you did your research and you have found out that college recruiting for indoor volleyball is almost exclusively conducted through private volleyball clubs and not through high schools. In fact, you can easily find college coaches that will tell you that, for a lot of reasons, playing high school volleyball is not even in the best interests of elite players with high potential. So if you must be in a volleyball club (and maybe even a really good club) in order to get noticed by college coaches, what happens if you cannot afford the often extremely high private club fees? What happens if your indoor team cannot put six players on the court at any given time that are good enough to play in the “Gold” divisions of regional tournaments where your play can be noticed by recruiters? What happens if crazy club “politics” keep you off the court or prevent you from getting sets when you are on it?
In Beach Volleyball, You Can Either Play or You Can’t
Because beach volleyball has only two players per team, each player much touch the ball on almost every point. There is no place to hide on the beach court. If your team can beat the team with the local high school coach’s daughter on it, you advance and they do not. Stuck on the bench behind a big club donor’s daughter in indoor? There is no bench in beach volleyball.
For all of these reasons and more, beach volleyball is a sport for almost everyone and playing, advancing, event at the NCAA or professional ranks, is not restricted by a coach or club. Without a doubt, a club or coach may get you there faster and easier, but it is not required to succeed.