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Beach Volleyball

July 14, 1996

The growth of beach volleyball has led to another milestone: its inclusion as an Olympics event for the first time.

Following The Hits

Typically the ball is hit in this order

1. Serve: Players can serve from from anywhere behind the end line.

Jump Serve: Server jumps and hits ball with a wrist snap, servers can control spin of the ball, depending on wind conditions and opponents.

Floater Serve: Server hits ball with no spin as it travels across the net. Like a knuckle ball pitch, it drops or rises quickly and unpredictably.

2. Pass: First contact with ball. Passer often hits ball with forearms extended in v-shape. (large drawing to left)

3. Set: Setter places hands above head and places ball with every little spin for hitter.

4. Hit: Any action to direct the ball toward the opponent. Players try to hit to the open court.

Spike: Player jumps and hits down with force. If ball is not returned it's a kill.

5. Block: To defend against a hit, defensive player at net raises both arms straight above head and jumps. See detail below.

Explaining The Terms

Scoring: Only the team with the ball can score a point. Teams play one game to 15 points and must win by two. In medal round, teams play best of three games to 12 points.

Sideout: Team receiving serve wins rally and earns serve.

Service Ace: Any serve that is not received by an opponent, earning a point.

Transition attack: When the serving team scores with a kill.

Dig: Ball brought up with any part of the body, especially from a spike attempt.


Men: Usually shirts are optional. However, at the Olympics, the men will wear tank tops and shorts.

Women: One-and two-piece bathing suits will be worn.

Source: John Kessel, USA Volleyball; Researched by WENDY WITHERSPOON / Los Angeles Times

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