beach volleyball

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Scene from a beach volleyball game
Beach volleyball pictogram

Beach volleyball or beach volleyball (from English beach = beach and volleyball ) is an Olympic team sport from the group of return games , in which two teams with two players each face each other on a field made of sand divided by a net. The aim of the game is to play a ball over the net onto the floor of the opposing half of the field or to force the opposing team to make a mistake.

The volleyball in the hall this sport differs mainly by the number of players, the nature of the pitch and the lower playing time. In view of the other conditions that the beach volleyball rules prescribe, some technical peculiarities such as the Pokeshot have developed that cannot be seen in the hall.

Beach volleyball developed in the United States in the early 20th century . Over time, the sport has become more and more professional in order to shed its image as a pure recreational sport. In the 1996 Olympic Games beach volleyball was one of the first to the official program, and in 1997 took place in Los Angeles , the first official World Cup place. Teams from the United States and Brazil have dominated this sport since the early days , but other nations are now also celebrating successes, including Germany with two Olympic victories .

Beach volleyball - like indoor volleyball - is organized by the world association FIVB , continental associations like the CEV in Europe and the national volleyball associations, including DVV , ÖVV and Swiss Volley . In addition to the Olympic Games, the World Championship and continental tournaments such as the European Championship , the most important international competition is the FIVB World Tour . Tournament series also take place at national level. These include the Techniker Beach Tour in Germany, the Austrian Beach Volleyball Tour in Austria, the Coop Beach Tour in Switzerland and the AVP Tour in the United States.

Beach volleyball is largely a marginal sport in the media . The skimpy playing attire of the athletes, however, has already led to some controversy. In leisure time, the sport is particularly popular on the beach, but there are more and more facilities in cities too. Related activities include Snow Volleyball and Footvolley .


Goller / Ludwig with suitable clothing for bad weather

The official rules of the sport are set by the international volleyball federation FIVB . The current version of the set of rules, which was established at the association's 35th World Congress, has been in effect since 2017. Additional provisions are possible for continental and national competitions and there are deviations for unofficial games in leisure time.

Players and clothes

A beach volleyball team officially consists of two players. One player from each duo acts as the team captain. In recreational teams there are also more than two players per team.

The players compete barefoot on the field. The men wear shorts and a shirt. For a long time, women were only allowed to play in a bikini , which led to allegations of sexism (see below). In 2012, this rule was revised so that women can now play with shorts above the knee and shirts with sleeves. In bad weather conditions, warmer clothing such as leggings are allowed.


Playing field at the 2004 Olympic Games

Since a rule change in 2001, the rectangular playing field has an area of ​​16 by 8 meters (previously 18 by 9 meters), which is completely covered with sand. So each team plays in one half of 8 by 8 meters. This means that each edge is one meter shorter than in indoor volleyball. The playing field is delimited by five centimeter wide lines made of elastic bands. A free zone of at least three meters is required outside the border lines. There is no center line, but a player may only enter the opposing half if the opponent is not disturbed by it.

In the middle, the playing field is separated by a net, which, like indoor volleyball, hangs 2.43 m (men) or 2.24 m (women) on the upper edge. The 8.5 m long net has an antenna on each side, which hangs exactly above the sidelines.

Official match ball


The outside of the ball is made of a water-repellent, soft material (mostly synthetic leather ) and a rubber bladder inside. It must be able to withstand outdoor conditions such as water and sand and should be bright in color. With a circumference of 66 to 68 cm and a weight of 260 to 280 g, it is slightly larger than indoor volleyball. The internal pressure of the ball, at 171 to 221  mbar, is lower than that of indoor volleyball (294 to 319 mbar).

Game flow

The scene from the 2012 Olympic round of 16 between Liliana / Baquerizo and Cicolari / Menegatti shows the typical sequence of a rally: serve, acceptance, pass, attack

The rally begins with the serve, which is executed behind the baseline and must pass the net between the two antennas directly. The opposing team must have a clear view of the serving player and can demand this if necessary. When the receiving team scores a point, the right to serve changes. The player of the team who did not serve last becomes the new server and serves until the right to serve goes back to the opponent.

The opposing team basically has two options when responding to the serve. A player standing close to the net can block the ball directly. If this does not succeed or is tried, the other player can take the ball and play it to his teammate. This can then prepare an attack by the first player with a pass.

A team must play the ball no later than the third time it touches the net. The block counts - in contrast to indoor volleyball - as the first ball contact, which is why only two further contacts are allowed afterwards. The two players must take turns touching the ball. Exceptions are only made directly after the block (the blocking player may touch the ball a second time) or if there is a double touch during the first ball contact "within the same action" (e.g. from the arms to another part of the body). The ball may be played with any part of the body.

Both the upper pass and the lower pass are possible. In the case of the upper pass (plank), the rules require a "clean" technology. The ball may only be thrown over the net if it is played at right angles to the shoulder axis, i.e. straight forwards or backwards, but not to the side. Otherwise, bouncing over the net is only permitted if it is done “unintentionally”, i.e. with the clearly recognizable intention of a pass (for example if the wind blows the ball on the opposing side). Placing with the open hand or the praise known from the hall (attack fake in the technique of one-handed upper pass with an open hand) is not permitted and is considered a technical error. In defense against the field, the upper pass with the aid of the fingers (open hands) is also strictly regulated. The ball may not be guided (touched for too long), caught or thrown. The only exception is a hard hit ball by the opponent, where light guidance is permitted (so-called "beachdig"), whereby the hands are brought to the ball with cupped palms and this is played by actively stretching the arms. When a ball is considered to be "hit hard" depends on the available reaction time of the defending player, the distance the ball covers, as well as the speed and the flight curve. A serve does not count as a hard attack blow.

A rally ends when a team makes a mistake:

  • A player hits the ball out of bounds, i.e. in the area outside the opposing half of the field.
  • A player does not play the ball over the net in accordance with the rules or drops it on the ground in his own half of the field.
  • A player makes a technical error.

Counting method

Recorder with counting device

If a team fails to return the ball properly, the opponent receives a point. The rally point system, according to which a team can score points both on its own and on an opponent's serve, was introduced in 2001. A game is played over two sets of wins. In the first two sets you need 21 to win, in the eventual third set (tiebreak) 15 points. A set is only considered won if it is at least two points ahead. In order to compensate for disadvantages that can occur in the open air, for example the blinding sun or wind, the sides are changed after every seven (five in the decision set) played points. There is a one-minute break between each set.

Time out

Each team is entitled to a time-out for 30 seconds per set, the time of which they can freely choose. In addition, after 21 points are played, there is a technical time-out prescribed in the rules, which also lasts 30 seconds. But this does not apply to the decisive third sentence. In addition, the players can briefly pause the game to clean their sunglasses. However, since this action is used in many cases to disturb the flow of the game of the opponent, the referee must warn a player if he uses this tactical means too often. If a player is injured during the game, the team concerned has five minutes to get him back into an operational state (medical time-out). If this does not succeed, the game is aborted and scored for the opponent. Unfavorable external conditions (e.g. heavy rain) lead to an interruption of the game, which is later continued with the same intermediate result.


First referee

An official game is presided over by two referees. The first referee stands on a pedestal on the net post. He makes the decisions, especially about which team won a rally. The second referee stands across from him at the other end of the network and assists. His area of ​​responsibility includes, above all, the evaluation of network-related actions such as hindrance caused by penetration into the opponent's playing field or incorrect contact with the network. He also controls the work of the scribes who sit at a table behind him and note down points and other data on the course of the game. On the lines, up to four line judges monitor, among other things, whether a ball is in the field or out, and use flags to give appropriate signals.

Video evidence (challenge)

In order to clarify controversial referee decisions, there is also video evidence in beach volleyball , which is usually referred to as a challenge. In addition to the question of whether a ball was in the field, block contact, network contacts, a ball on the antenna and crossing the baseline can also be checked. Players can request video evidence at least twice per set. If successful, they keep both challenges. If you have wrongly objected, you lose an opportunity.

The video evidence was introduced by the FIVB at the 2016 Olympics . At the beginning of 2018, the FIVB published a new set of rules. If there is a corresponding screen on the field, the scene and the decision about the challenge are displayed there for everyone to see. At the Techniker Beach Tour games in Germany there has been video evidence on the Center Court since 2018.


Since beach volleyball developed from playing in the hall, the basic techniques correspond to those used in volleyball.

Each rally begins with a serve. The player hits the ball over the net with his hand or arm. A distinction is made between a jump serve and a standing serve. In "topspin" the ball is hit with a quick movement and a lot of force, while in "floatserve" it is hit without rotation and therefore flutters.

As in the hall, there is a distinction between upper and lower pass. In the upper pass ("plank"), the player touches the ball with spread hands, mostly in front of or above the head. The feed can be practiced both in the line of sight and as an overhead feed. Since the upper pass is associated with technical difficulties and is subject to strict rules, the lower pass (“digging”) is more important in beach volleyball, especially for professionals than in the hall. The ball is played with arms stretched forward and held next to each other, which form a kind of board.

When attacking, the ball can be brought over the net with a hard blow, as in the hall. Placed balls are possible with "shots". While the "cutshot" is played diagonally just behind the net, the "lineshot" goes parallel to the sideline in the back of the playing field. A technique used specifically in beach volleyball is the "poke shot" (English: poke = push), in which the ball is played with the knuckles. The similar “Cobrashot” is done with the fingertips. These two techniques are often used to avoid forbidden "praise" (fake attack with an open hand).

In addition to dredging, other techniques are used to accept opposing serves and attacks, some of which are only common in beach volleyball. The "poke defense" is the defensive version of the poke shot and is used for balls that are difficult to reach. During the "Beachdig" the bowl-shaped hands are actively moved towards the ball. In the "Tomahawk" (named after the weapon of the same name ), the ball is played with hands clasped and fingers crossed above the shoulder. The "Chickenwing" can be used for hard hit balls that come close to the body; the ball is hit with the bent arm and elbow next to the body. The "gatordig" (English: gator = alligator ) has a similar posture to the beachdig, except that the arms are at hip height.

The block is performed just like in the hall, with the player jumping up close to the net with arms straight. If the block is successful, the ball bounces straight back to the opponent. Otherwise the ball can continue to be played on your own side.

A study by the University of Graz showed that on a professional level there is no difference in the quality of actions between men and women: Assumptions are similarly precise in both sexes and attacks and blocks are equally often successful. However, there are some clear differences in the selected techniques. Jump serves are observed more frequently in men than in women, while the latter opt for the float reserve more often. For both genders, the ball is usually played three times within the team and not directly over the net with the first or second ball contact. However, overhead passes are about as common to men as passes to the front; For women, feeds in the visual axis occur almost ten times as often as overhead feeds. When attacking, men choose the (harder) spike more often, while women play a spike or a (more placed) shot in something with the same frequency. Men are around 3% more likely to score direct points, but around 3% more likely to make a mistake.


Hand signals

Instructions from a coach are not allowed during the game. Therefore, the players on a team need to develop a tactic to motivate each other and express constructive criticism. Verbal communication mainly takes place between the rallies, during the time-outs and in the breaks in sentences.

In professional teams, the two players are usually composed in such a way that one of them specializes mainly in the block and the other in the acceptance. Anyone who masters both equally is called a universal player. To communicate their strategy, the players developed a simple system of hand signals . Before the service, the player standing in the field shows his partner with his fingers behind his back how the block is to be placed and in which direction or which of the two opposing players the service should go. If a new block is necessary during a longer rally, the block player gives further signals for his partner. The two hands usually refer to the two opponents. The following symbols are widely used.

  • A stretched finger: the opposing attacker is blocked parallel to the sideline ("longline") and the defender fends off the diagonally hit balls.
  • two stretched fingers: the opposing attacker is blocked in the diagonal and the defender has to cover the rest of the field.
  • Whole hand stretched: The player on the net takes the block offensively.
  • Faust: The block is only faked and the block player withdraws into the field.

However, professionals also develop their own characters with other meanings in order not to be easily seen through by the opponent.

In addition to the hand signals, short commands are also used to give the other player instructions for his attack. The most frequent instructions are the "line" (longline), "cross" (diagonally struck attack), "shot" (play over the block on the line) and "cut" (short, diagonal feint ), also in combination with “over” (it is blocked, so the attack has to take place across the block), for example “line over”. In the German-speaking world, the commands “with” and “without” (block) are also common. They are called to the attacking player depending on how the defensive team has positioned themselves on their side of the field.

A tactical peculiarity of Blocking is the so-called Fake block (English: fake = fooled), in which the player initially positioned to the block at the net, but then retreats into the defense. This tactic is more common among women.

Agreements are also important when it comes to acceptance. Especially with balls that come in the middle of their own half of the field, the players must clarify who accepts the ball. This area is referred to as "Husband and Wife" in reference to a dispute between spouses.

History and international competitions

Beach volleyball originated on the beaches of the United States. Brazil is the second country where the sport has been successful from the start. There are now many competitions at all levels. In international and national competitions it is common that the games for men and women are played in parallel. Accordingly, the prize money and ranking points that can be won are distributed equally between both genders.

Origins in the USA and Brazil

Beach volleyball game in Florida in 1950

After William G. Morgan to volleyball was invented in the hall, there was the first known beach volleyball game 1915th George David Center, who actually worked as a swim coach, was a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club on Waikīkī Beach in Hawaii . There he set up a net and started playing beach volleyball with friends on the beach. In the following years the first players were successful and playing in the sand became an integral part of the club. One of the members was Duke Kahanamoku . The surfer and three-time Olympic swimming champion established beach volleyball as a sports director in Santa Monica and helped make it a serious sport rather than a leisure activity. The first beach volleyball activities in Santa Monica had developed in the early 1920s. There were beach clubs there that held tournaments against swimmers, but the active people also met on public beaches such as Muscle Beach. Usually, six against six was played in the early phase as in the hall. The sport continued to expand in the 1920s and 1930s. The first universities began to offer beach volleyball courses. The popularity of the sport in beach clubs and at universities initially shaped the image of an elite sport.

The now common version with two players per team was invented by Paul Johnson in the summer of 1930. After a few attempts, he and his three teammates realized that two of them could use the entire field. Johnson later also starred with Olympic swimming champion and actor Buster Crabbe . Some of the best players in Santa Monica in the 1930s included brothers Sam and Nat Shargo, who insisted on creating more fields. Technically, the players in the two-on-two games, also known as "Finesse Games", were still pretty much limited to shots. Beach volleyball reached Europe around 1930, especially France and the eastern states of Bulgaria, Latvia and Czechoslovakia. In France, the nudists in Franconville near Paris also contributed to the spread.

In 1944, the first public beach volleyball tournament took place on Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. Other tournaments sprang up in various locations from San Diego to Santa Barbara by the end of the decade , including a series of tournaments known as the Beach Olympics. The beach of Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles County is still regarded as one of the most popular venues.

Gene Selznick , who formed a successful duo with Bernie Holtzman in the 1950s, introduced the hard attack (Spike) into the game. During this time, open tournaments were also set up on various beaches in the USA. Other stars like Ron Von Hagen were added. Gradually there were also successful female players.

From 1960 the beach of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles County became important, where Charlie Saikley, known as the "Godfather of Beach Volleyball" organized the first Beach Open, which has been held annually since 1965 and is known in the USA as the " Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball". Karch Kiraly , who made beach volleyball more popular and helped ensure that the previous recreational sport was recognized as a professional sport from the 1980s, described it as follows: “You talk to any player and when you tell them that they will be in their entire career could only win a single tournament, everyone would choose Manhattan. "

The first commercially sponsored tournaments were held in the United States in the 1970s, and the first national championship was held in 1976, drawing 30,000 spectators. The first series of tournaments followed in the early 1980s. At this time, the sport was also becoming popular in Brazil and was practiced on the beaches of Copacabana , Ipanema and Leblon . Rio de Janeiro was then also the venue for the first international tournament in 1986. A year later there was the first international tournament run by the FIVB on Ipanema Beach. This led to the development of the FIVB World Series, which began in 1989 with tournaments in Brazil, Italy and Japan and was expanded to include other tournaments in the following years. In the course of this, international tournament calendars were coordinated and sports event marketing was professionalized by the FIVB. The modern era of beach volleyball began with the first Olympic competition in 1996 and the first official world championship.

Olympic games

Olympic final women 2016: Ludwig / Walkenhorst versus Àgatha / Bárbara

In 1992 in Barcelona the game on clay was presented as a demonstration sport. Karch Kiraly was the only player so far to win Olympic gold both indoors and in the sand. In 1996 in Atlanta he prevailed with his partner Kent Steffes in an all-US final against Michael Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh . Four years later, at the Sydney Games , the gold medal stayed in the home country of beach volleyball as Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana defeated Brazilians Zé Marco and Ricardo Santos . The latter won the final in Athens in 2004 with Emanuel Rego against the Spaniards Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera Allepuz . The Germans Jörg Ahmann and Axel Hager and the Swiss Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel won the bronze medals in 2000 and 2004 respectively. The third gold medal for the Americans was won by Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser at the 2008 tournament in Beijing , while the Brazilians took silver and bronze. Four years later, the Germans Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann became the first European duo to win the Olympic gold medal at the Games in London . In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro , a team from the host country won with the duo Alison Cerutti / Bruno Oscar Schmidt .

In the women's category, the nine medals from the first three Olympic tournaments went exclusively to teams from Brazil, the USA and Australia. Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva (1996), Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst (2000) and Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor (2004) each defeated a Brazilian duo in the finals. In 2008 Walsh / May-Treanor repeated their Olympic victory, but this time the Chinese Tian Jia and Wang Jie faced them in the final . The bronze medal also went to China. In 2012, the two Americans won gold for the third time in a row. In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the German duo Laura Ludwig / Kira Walkenhorst won and for the first time a team from Europe.

The next Olympic tournament has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will take place in Tokyo in 2021 . In addition to the current world champions, the winners of an international qualifying tournament and the best 15 teams in each case, other duos qualify for this via the Continental Cups in the individual continental associations. How the qualification will be adjusted in view of the postponement of the Olympic Games is currently unclear.

In addition to the world rankings, the Continental Cups serve as qualifications for the Olympic Games. These are held in every continental association in the two years before an Olympic tournament.

World Championship

Quarter-final match at the 2015 World Cup in Amsterdam

The dominance of the players as well as players from the USA and Brazil is also evident in the results of the world championships. After ten international tournaments in Rio de Janeiro , the first official World Cup took place in 1997 in Los Angeles . In the women’s category, Walsh and May-Treanor won three titles in a row after three Brazilian victories. In 2007 in Gstaad , the Americans faced the duo Tian / Wang - like a year later at the Olympic final. The Chinese women were the first finalists who did not come from Brazil or the USA. On the winners podium of the 2009 World Cup in Stavanger , the two leading nations were again among themselves. The Brazilians Larissa and Juliana Felisberta da Silva ended the dominance of the United States in Rome in 2011 with a tiebreak win against Walsh / May-Treanor and won the fourth title for the South Americans. At the 2013 World Cup , there was no team from the USA or Brazil in the final for the first time. The reigning world champions Xue Chen / Zhang Xi from China prevailed against the Germans Karla Borger and Britta Büthe . In 2017 the German double Ludwig / Walkenhorst won . In 2019 in Hamburg , Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes became the first Canadians to win the title, while the American April Ross lost her second final in a row.

For men, all gold medals up to and including 2005 went to South America (four times Brazil, one time Argentina). Two Swiss duos made it into the finals. It was not until 2007 that the Americans Todd Rogers and Philip Dalhausser were able to end the South American series. Julius Brink , who had already won bronze with Kjell Schneider in Berlin in 2005 , and Jonas Reckermann defeated the Brazilians Harley / Alison in the 2009 final and became the first Europeans to win the World Cup. In 2011 the South Americans were among themselves in the final, while Brink / Reckermann came third. At the 2013 World Cup in Stare Jabłonki , the title went to the young Dutch duo Brouwer / Meeuwsen , while the German team Erdmann / Matysik secured the bronze medal. In 2015 and 2017 the Brazilians were victorious again, with the local duo Doppler / Horst in the final in Vienna . In 2019 this was achieved by the Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler , who were defeated by the Russians Stojanowski / Krassilnikow .

The next World Cup was originally scheduled for 2021 but has been postponed to June 2022 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic , with Rome expected to remain the host.

European Championship

Medal winners of the EM 2008 in Hamburg

The first European men's championship took place in Almería in 1993 . In the first four tournaments, the winners came from four different countries. The German duo Ahmann / Hager came third in 1994 and second in 1996. The remaining bronze medals from the first few years went to Italians. After a purely Norwegian final in 1997, the Swiss team began their winning streak, with the Laciga brothers and the Egger / Heyer duo winning four gold medals. Then the Germans Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann were in the final three times in a row. After the first Spanish success in Moscow in 2005, Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann won the next title for Germany. The Dutch Numbersdor / Schuil , who were still inferior to the Austrians Doppler / Peter Gartmayer in 2007 , dominated the next three European Championships. 2011 in Kristiansand there was a purely German final for the first time and in 2012 Brink / Reckermann successfully defended their title. After the victory of the Spaniards Gavira / Herrera , the successful streak of the Italian duo Nicolai / Lupo began in 2014 , winning the title three times. In 2015, the Latvians Samoilovs / Šmēdiņš, who had previously lost twice in the final, won . In 2018 they were the final opponents of the new European champions Mol / Sørum from Norway. In 2019, the Norwegians successfully defended their title against the Russians Semjonow / Leschukow , while the Austrian duo Ermacora / Pristauz came third. Overall, Germany and Switzerland are the most successful nations in the men's European championships.

At the first European Women 1994 in Espinho with was Beate Buhler and Danja Müsch as a German duo successful as a year later in Saint-Quay-Portrieux with Beate Paetow and Cordula Borger . Then the Czech Celbová / Nováková and the Italian Bruschini / Solazzi dominated the competition. It wasn't until 2001 in Jesolo that neither duo won a medal. In 2003 in Alanya there was a purely German final between Pohl / Rau and Ahmann / Vollmer , while the hosts in Timmendorfer Strand won the Swiss Kuhn / Schnyder-Benoit without medals the following year . In 2005 and 2007 two titles went to Greece and one in between to Russia. In 2007, Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig's streak of success began, reaching the final four times in a row. In 2011 there was bronze, while Cicolari / Menegatti won the fifth gold medal for Italy. Then two Dutch duos and the Schwaiger sisters from Austria won. From 2015 to 2017 there were three European Championship titles in a row for Germany. Keizer / Meppelink from the Netherlands won the final against the Swiss Betschart / Hüberli in the 2018 European Championship . In the 2019 final, the Latvians Graudiņa / Kravčenoka prevailed against the Poles Wojtasik and Kociołek . Overall, the German and Italian women are the most successful participants in the European Championships.

The next edition is scheduled to take place in the Netherlands in late summer 2020, if this is possible despite the COVID-19 pandemic .

FIVB World Tour and world rankings

The World Tour is the international tournament series of the world association. After the first international tournaments had taken place at the beginning of the 1990s, a first tournament series was set up under the name World Series. Until 2016 the tournaments were divided into the categories major, grand slam and open. Since 2017 there has been a more extensive classification with five stars for the most highly endowed tournaments and one star for the smallest tournaments. The prize money ranges from $ 600,000 to $ 20,000 and there are also 600 to 100 points for the world ranking. This world ranking is updated after each tournament weekend. The introduction of the new World Tour regulations caused criticism from some athletes, who particularly criticized the low-rated tournaments. In the current World Tour 2019/20 , many tournaments were canceled from spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic .

The World Tour Final has been taking place at the end of the world series since 2015. In addition, the FIVB World Tour Champions will be chosen. For men, Brazilians have dominated this rating so far. The only German winners in 2009 were the then world champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann . In the women's category, Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst succeeded in doing this in 2016 . Three titles went to players from the United States and the other awards to Brazilians.

Other continental competitions

The European association CEV organized a tournament series with Masters and Challenger tournaments until 2017. Through the reorganization of the FIVB World Tour (see below), the European tournaments were integrated into the world series.

Championships or tournament series are also held regularly in other continents.

Beach volleyball is also part of other multisport events. These include the Pan American Games and the Asian Games .

Young talent competitions

The Russian women Marija Alexandrovna Botscharowa and Marija Alexandrovna Voronina currently dominate the female junior competitions.

The world association FIVB organizes world championships for the age groups U21 and U19. At the U21 World Cup 2019 in Udon Thani (Thailand), the Brazilians Victoria Lopez Pereira and Vitoria de Souza and their compatriots Renato and Rafael Lima de Carvalho won . The most recent U19 World Cup took place in Nanjing (China) in July 2018 . The Russian duos Botscharowa / Voronina and Tschekunow / Weretyuk prevailed. The next edition will take place from September 1 to 6, 2020 in Ban Nong Ya Ma (Thailand).

There are European championships for the age groups U22, U20 and U18. The Russian duo Botscharowa / Voronina and Gussew / Schustrow won the 2019 U22 tournament in Antalya . At the U20 championship in Gothenburg in 2019, Botscharowa / Voronina also won the women; the men's title went to the Dutch Yorick de Groot and Matthew Immers . Botscharowa won the 2019 U18 tournament in Baden with Jelisaweta Gubina , while Germans Leon Meier and Lui Wüst prevailed in the male competition.

Beach volleyball is also a discipline at the Youth Olympic Games . The 2018 tournament was won by the Russians Botscharowa / Voronina and the Swedes David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig . The next edition is planned for 2022 in Dakar .

Organization and competitions in individual countries


Techniker Beach Tour 2019 in Münster, women's final

The history of beach volleyball tournaments in Germany began in the late 1980s. In 1991 there was the first German tournament series. Since 1992 the German championship has been the culmination and climax of the tournament series. The first German championship was held in Damp , before Timmendorfer Strand established itself as a permanent venue in 1993 .

The development of the sport continued with the Masters series. The number of tournaments rose temporarily to over 30 events by the mid-1990s. When the number was reduced, the interest of the audience remained - also because of the international success of German players. In 2005 the national beach volleyball sport fell into a crisis. After only five Masters tournaments had already taken place in the previous year, TV broadcasts on RTL were supposed to give the series new attention, but after a summer the television station ended the cooperation. Since 2006, the Smart Beach Tour was the only German tournament series. The highest tournament series was redesigned in 2018 as the Techniker Beach Tour. It took place in eight venues in 2019, half of which are in cities and half on the beach. The 2020 tour was initially canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany . The DVV later set up the Comdirect Beach Tour 2020 , which consists of tournaments for the top teams and qualifying tournaments for the German championship. National tournaments in Germany are organized by the German Volleyball Association with Deutsche Volleyball Sport GmbH.

In view of the cancellation of other competitions, a group around the professionals Alexander Walkenhorst and Daniel Wernitz organized the Beach League as a new competition in June / July 2020 .

At the beginning of 2017, the DVV set up a central base in Hamburg to promote its top duo. In the first few months, the establishment led to critical comments from the players, who often organize themselves before the association agreed on individual solutions.

Numerous international tournaments have already taken place in Germany. First, Berlin established itself as a regular host. From 1995 to 2008 the FIVB World Tour made a guest appearance in the capital every year, starting in 2003 with a Grand Slam, which was only canceled in 2006 because of the World Cup . In 2005 the world championship took place in Berlin . In 2002 in Timmendorfer Strand , 2008 in Hamburg and 2010 in Berlin European championships were held. This was followed by the 2015 World Cup . Hamburg later became the most important location for international tournaments in Germany. In 2016 there was a tournament of the beach volleyball world series for the first time and in 2017 and 2018 the final of the World Tour took place there. The “ Am Rothenbaum ” stadium was also the venue for the 2019 Beach Volleyball World Cup .


The national champions of women and men have been determined at the Austrian championship since 1994. A series of tournaments takes place at national level. This was reorganized in 2013 when the previous marketer of the German tournament series took over the organization. The Austrian Beach Volleyball Tour has existed since 2015 . The Pro Tour will be held in 2020 with eight tournaments. There will also be an amateur and a junior tour. In previous years tournament series took place under different sponsor names.

The largest tournament in Austria took place in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee for a long time . In 2017, the tournament organized by Hannes Jagerhofer ended . From 1997 to 2000 it had the rank of an open tournament on the FIVB World Tour . In 2001 the city hosted the World Cup and the following year Klagenfurt was promoted to Grand Slam. In 2013 and 2015 the European Championships were held in Klagenfurt. In 2017, the second World Cup on Austrian soil took place in Vienna .


The first Swiss championship in beach volleyball took place in Lucerne in 1992 , after the first tournament ever two years earlier. In 1993 a tournament series was held for the first time, which became more and more extensive over the next few years. As in Germany, the national championship marks the end of the tour. Bern has been the permanent venue for this event since 1996 ; only in 2003 the championship was moved to Zurich main station. In 2019, six tournaments and the championship in Bern took place on the Coop Beach Tour at the end of August. In 2020 the tournament series was completely canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland .

Gstaad hosted the beach volleyball world championship in 2007 and is the venue for a World Tour tournament . Furthermore, European championships were held in Basel in 2002 and in Biel / Bienne in 2016 .

United States

In July 1983, American professional players founded the Association of Volleyball Professionals to better enforce their rights in marketing and financial matters. The new association started its own tournament series after a strike by the players at an unofficial World Cup in 1984 in Redondo Beach .

The AVP Tour developed in the following years with attractive prize money in competition with the FIVB World Tour . Many players decided not to participate in some other international tournaments in favor of the AVP Tour. Because of the consequences of the global financial crisis , the series had to be canceled in 2010. With the help of a new investor, a complete series of the AVP Tour was held for the first time in 2013. In 2017, the AVP introduced two of its own rules that differ from the FIVB set of rules. The AVP Tour 2019 consisted of eight tournaments, three of which belonged to the higher-quality Gold Series. The 2020 AVP Tour has been shortened to a Champion Cup Series with three tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States . For players who are not yet professionals and for the younger generation, there is the subordinate tournament series AVP Next and AVP First.

The NCAA accepted beach volleyball for women in 2009 as an “emerging sport” in the university's sports program. In 2015, the organization decided to hold an NCAA championship for the first time the following year.


The beach volleyball competitions in Brazil are organized by the national volleyball association Confederação Brasileira de Voleibol (CBV). The largest national tournament series is the Circuito Brasileiro Open . The series spans about nine months. The first edition was only for men in 1991, before women were added a year later. The most successful participants are Emanuel Rego and Larissa França . The second series has been the Challenger tournaments under the title Circuito Banco do Brasil Nacional since 2012 . The teams that do not qualify for the Open Series compete here. The Superpraia has been a national championship at the end of the season since 2014 . The 14 best teams of the current season and two wildcard winners qualify for this.

Other national competitions

There are other national tournament series outside of German-speaking countries. The following countries have competitions in 2019 that are officially recognized by the FIVB world association: Australia , Belgium , France , Greece , Italy , Japan , Latvia , the Netherlands , Poland , Spain , the Czech Republic , Turkey .

Most successful players


Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst at the award ceremony for the 2016 Olympic Games
Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann 2012 in Moscow

German teams have already won Olympic gold twice. London 2012 sat Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann by and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro won Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst .

Ludwig is also the most successful German player overall. With Sara Goller she became European champion in 2008 and 2010, twice vice European champion and four times German champion. With Walkenhorst, two more European championship titles followed in 2015 and 2016, three German championships, the Olympic victory and winning the 2017 World Championship . Ludwig was also voted beach volleyball player of the year ten times . Together with Clemens Wickler, she was also elected in 2019.

German players had already been internationally successful before that. The first two European Championship tournaments ended with German victories. Danja Müsch and Beate Bühler were particularly successful, winning the tournament in 1994 and finishing third and second in the next two years. Müsch made it to the final again at the EM 2000. The multiple beach volleyball player of the year took part in three Olympic Games. and also played with Susanne Lahme , who had previously played 263 international matches as an indoor volleyball player.

Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau won the all-German European Championship final in 2003 and they represented their country at the Olympic tournaments in Athens and Beijing. In July 2008, they were the first German women's team to win a FIVB World Tour tournament in Marseille . In 2010 there was another German European Championship final between Goller / Ludwig and Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick , who had become German champions the previous year and in 2007 had already topped the continental rankings. Another top German duo were Karla Borger and Britta Büthe , who became vice world champions in 2013 and German champions in 2014. In 2016 they took part in the Olympic Games and came third in the European Championship. After further medals in 2017, the German women are clearly ahead in the all-time ranking of the European Championship.

When the first major beach volleyball tournaments took place, Jörg Ahmann and Axel Hager were the most successful German men's duo. They achieved their greatest success when they won the Olympic bronze medal in Sydney in 2000. They finished third in the 1994 European Championship and were in the final two years later. The organizers of the German championship honored the five-time title holders by naming the Ahmann-Hager-Arena in Timmendorfer Strand after them. Andreas Scheuerpflug was represented twice at the Olympic Games, in 2000 with Oliver Oetke and in 2004 with Christoph Dieckmann , who had previously played with his brother Markus Dieckmann . The latter was in the European Championship finals three times with the eventual Olympic champion Jonas Reckermann from 2002 to 2004 and won two titles; In 2005 a third place was added.

Christoph Dieckmann was European champion in 2006 with Julius Brink, who had finished third at the side of Kjell Schneider in Berlin last year . Brink and Reckermann later came together and became the most successful German male duo. In 2009 you became the first European ever to win the World Cup. In 2011 they reached third place in Rome and then became European champions together for the first time in a German final. In 2012, in addition to the Olympic victory, the next joint European title followed. After Brink / Reckermann's career ended, there was a weaker phase among the German men. Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler were fourth in the World Tour final and German champions in 2018, before becoming vice world champions in Hamburg in 2019.


Doppler / Horst 2014 The Schwaiger sisters before the 2012 Olympics
Doppler / Horst 2014
The Schwaiger sisters before the 2012 Olympics

Austria established itself as a successful nation in international beach volleyball by 2003 at the latest. This year Nik Berger and Clemens Doppler won the first FIVB bronze medal for Austria in Rhodes and then the European championship in Alanya. In 2007 Doppler won the next title in Valencia, this time alongside Peter Gartmayer . They defeated Numberdor / Schuil , who then won the title three times in a row. The Dutch faced two Austrian duos. In 2014 Doppler / Horst won bronze at the EC in Cagliari. In 2017 they reached the World Cup final in Vienna.

The Austrian women have so far been less successful in the major tournaments. It was not until 2011 in Kristiansand that Barbara Hansel and Sara Montagnolli won the first European Championship medal for their country. The second national team was formed by the sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger . They reached fifth place at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and at the 2009 and 2013 World Championships, before becoming European champions in 2013 in front of their own audience in Klagenfurt.


Paul Laciga Simone Kuhn
Paul Laciga
Simone Kuhn

After Germany, the Swiss men are the most successful nation at European championships. The brothers Martin and Paul Laciga , who won the tournament three times in a row from 1998 to 2000 after finishing third in 1997, played the largest part in this success . After the three victories, they were also twice in the final. Markus Egger and Sascha Heyer , who were still inferior to the Laciga brothers in Getxo, managed to get their revenge in 2001. They also came third in 2003 and second in 2004. Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel completed the track record with three podium places. In 2004 in Athens you also won Switzerland's only Olympic medal to date. At world championships Paul Laciga was twice in the finals: in 1999 with his brother and in 2005 with Heyer, he was defeated by Brazilian teams.

The Swiss women have not yet won any medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships. Simone Kuhn was involved in all three medals at the European Championships . In 2001 she reached the final with Nicole Schnyder-Benoit and in 2004 the duo won the tournament in Timmendorfer Strand. In 2012 Kuhn / Zumkehr finished third in the World Tour tournament in Gstaad .

United States

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor with then US President George Bush
Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor with then US President George Bush

Since the origins of beach volleyball lie in the United States, the United States produced many strong players in the first few decades. Together with Brazil, they dominated the first major tournaments. With their own series of tournaments at home, they gained additional experience at a high level.

Karch Kiraly was one of the most prominent players who tried to professionalize the sport. With his partner Kent Steffes he won the Olympic tournament in Atlanta in an all-American final against Michael Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh , becoming the first player to win gold medals both indoors and in the sand. At the World Cup in Los Angeles, US duos finished second and third behind the Brazilians. The second Olympic gold went to the USA in 2000 when Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana triumphed in Sydney. Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger were runner-up in 2003 and fifth in Athens the following year. With the 2007 World Cup victory, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser's streak of success began , who also won the Olympic final a year later in Beijing and were third in 2009 in Stavanger. In the following years, however, the medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships went to the competition from Brazil and Europe.

The US women's duos finished second and third behind the Brazilian winners at the first two World Championships. Two of these players, Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs , finished third in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The gold medal went to Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor , who have dominated the international competition since the 2003 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. They successfully defended their World Championship title twice and achieved two more Olympic victories in 2008 and 2012. Walsh also won the bronze medal together with April Ross in 2016, making her the most successful beach volleyball Olympian. In 2009 , April Ross and Jennifer Kessy won the World Championships. In 2011 Walsh / May-Treanor were again in the World Cup final, which they lost to the Brazilians Larissa / Juliana. At the 2017 World Cup, April Ross and her new partner Lauren Fendrick had to admit defeat to the German duo Ludwig / Walkenhorst in the final.


Juliana and Larissa Emanuel and Alison
Juliana and Larissa
Emanuel and Alison

After the United States, Brazil is the second country of origin of beach volleyball. That is why the South Americans produced many successful players who shared the medals with the Americans in the first tournaments. You have won a total of twelve finals at world championships so far. For women, Brazilian teams have won at least one medal at every World Cup tournament so far; With one exception ( Gstaad 2007 ), this also succeeded in every World Cup tournament for men . At the Olympic Games, Brazil won a total of thirteen medals, including three gold. There were also numerous victories at international FIVB tournaments.

Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva won their first titles at the most important beach volleyball events. In 1996 in Atlanta they became the first Olympic champions in a Brazilian duel and a year later they also won the World Championships in Los Angeles. Sandra Pires continued to do well in other pairings. With her previous opponent Adriana Samuel Ramos , she won Olympic bronze in 2000 and with Tatiana Minello she was in the 2001 World Cup final. In this game Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede defended their title, who had already finished third in 1997. The second place in 2003 completed her collection of medals at world championships. They also made it to the Olympic finals in 2000 and 2004. Larissa and Juliana's success story began at the 2005 World Cup in Berlin . After three podium places in a row, they became world champions for the first time in 2011 by beating the Americans Walsh / May-Treanor. In 2015, Brazilian duos won all three World Cup medals with Ágatha Bednarczuk and Bárbara Seixas as the winners. This duo won the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

With the men, Guilherme and Pará ensured the first Brazilian successes. They won the 1997 World Cup and came third in 1999. The title went to Emanuel Rego and José Loiola in Marseille . The latter was again in the final in 2001 with the Olympic silver medalist Ricardo Santos . Emanuel / Ricardo then formed a new duo that became world champions in front of a home crowd in 2003 and triumphed at the Olympic tournament in Athens a year later. At the next World Cup in Berlin in 2005, the previous third Márcio Araújo won with his new partner Fabio Luiz . At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the duo came second ahead of Emanuel / Ricardo. In 2011 there was a Brazilian final at the World Cup in Rome, in which Emanuel and Alison , who lost to Brink / Reckermann with Harley in 2009, defeated Márcio Araújo and Ricardo. Brazilian teams continued their success story at the 2015 World Championships ( Alison / Bruno Schmidt ) and 2017 ( Evandro / André Loyola ).

Beach volleyball in the media

Beach volleyball is largely a fringe sport in the German media that receives relatively little attention. High ratings are also possible. At the 2016 Olympic Games , the women's beach volleyball semi-final between the German duo Ludwig / Walkenhorst and the Brazilians Talita / Larissa was the most watched broadcast in Germany with 8.52 million viewers. The documentary Ludwig / Walkenhorst - The Path to Gold shows the German duo on their way to Olympic victory; it appeared on DVD and was shown in an abridged version on Das Erste on free TV.

The Techniker Beach Tour, the highest German tournament series, is partially broadcast live by the TV station ProSieben Maxx . Sportdeutschland.TV also shows beach volleyball. Beach volleyball players also sometimes appear on TV shows outside of sports broadcasts. For example, the Holtwick / Semmler duo performed on TV total and TV total tower diving .

The monthly volleyball magazine (1977 to 2002 Deutsche Volleyball-Zeitschrift ) is the most widespread print medium for volleyball and beach volleyball in Germany with a circulation of around 4,400 copies. In addition to current reports and reports, it also provides information on training.

There are various media partners for beach volleyball in the United States. The games of the national AVP tour 2019 can be seen on Amazon Prime . In previous years, NBC was the TV partner of the AVP tour. The sports broadcaster ESPN shows some international competitions that take place in the USA . The NCAA championship is also broadcast there.

Beach volleyball was first televised in Brazil in 1985. The national tournament series is now shown on television by the sports channel SporTV, which is part of the Rede Globo network. There are also broadcasts on the Facebook page of the volleyball association CBV.

Further broadcasts of beach volleyball competitions from various countries are available online in live streams and on-demand videos . The FIVB operates a YouTube channel and the portal also shows this sport.

Controversy over playwear and sexism

Scarce playing clothes of a beach volleyball player

On the occasion of the 2004 Olympic Games, the FIVB issued an official regulation that women's bikini bottoms may only be seven centimeters wide on the side. The scarce clothing in beach volleyball has repeatedly led to controversy. A study of the TV broadcasts of the women's games in the 2004 Olympic beach volleyball competition showed that almost 40% of the camera settings focused on the chest or buttocks of the players, which led to the assumption that the focus was less on the sporting component than on the women's appearance .

Critics complained that the Olympic regulations meant that all beach volleyball players had to contribute to marketing the beach volleyball product with the help of sexual charisma . Athletes from Islamic countries were thereby disadvantaged.

Players point out that the bikini is beneficial for marketing and that athletes in other sports such as athletics and swimming also wear tight, tight clothing. Some players market erotic photos.

In March 2012, the FIVB changed the dress code for the players out of consideration for religious restrictions. Since then, in addition to the previously common bikinis, they have also been allowed to wear shorts that must end at least three centimeters above the knee.

At the 2016 Olympic Games , the topic received international attention at a preliminary round game when the German duo Ludwig / Walkenhorst in their usual bikinis met the Egyptians el-Ghobashy / Meawad , who competed in long clothes .

Recreational sports

Leisure tournament in Eilenburg

Beach volleyball has long been a trendy or recreational sport since its inception on the beaches of the USA . Today the sport is practiced by both professionals and numerous amateurs. In recreational tournaments, the rules are often relaxed. For example, some tournaments can have more than two players per team and there are mixed teams of men and women. In addition, the rules regarding clean technology are not seen as strictly. Since 2007 the fan clubs of the German volleyball league have held a championship as a beach volleyball tournament every year.

Beach volleyball is played on vacation on the beach or as a leisure activity. Playing fields are also created in inner cities that are far from the sea. In some cities there are also indoor facilities for training in winter or in bad weather.

Related sports

Snow volleyball

Player at snow volleyball

The winter sport of snow volleyball was created as a counterpart to beach volleyball in summer . It is played on snow instead of sand and with three instead of two players. The first tournaments took place in Austria in 2008. In 2016 the first tournament series of the CEV took place and in 2018 there was the first German championship and the first European championship. Snow volleyball is set to become an Olympic sport in the future as part of the Winter Olympic Games .


In the 1960s, a new trend sport emerged on the beaches of Brazil . Footvolley combines beach volleyball and soccer . The first German association was founded in 2003. Since then, the active people have been trying to make their sport more professional.

Literature / DVDs

  • Jörg Ahmann: Beach volleyball tactics for winners. 2nd Edition. Neuer Sportverlag, Stuttgart 2017, ISBN 978-3-938023-00-6 .
  • Jörg Ahmann: Beach volleyball exercises for winners. 2nd Edition. Neuer Sportverlag, Stuttgart 2017, ISBN 978-3-944526-67-6 .
  • Markus Hederer, Christian Kolb: Beach volleyball. Training - technology - fun. Pietsch, 2004, ISBN 3-613-50464-2 .
  • Karch Kiraly, Byron Shewman: The Sand Man: An Autobiography. Renaissance Books, 1999, ISBN 1-58063-054-5 . (English)
  • Christina Koch, Markus Tilp: Beach Volleyball Techiniques and Tactics: A comparison of male and female playing characteristics. (English) In: Kinesiology. Volume 41, No. 1, 2009, pp. 52-59. (PDF)
  • Rüdiger Naffin: Beach volleyball for beginners and advanced players. Neuer Sportverlag, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-938023-07-4 .
  • Jörg Schlockermann, Frank Mackerodt: Beach volleyball. Rowohlt, Reinbek 2000, ISBN 3-499-19485-6 .
  • Volleyball magazine. Philippka-Sportverlag, Münster, ISSN  1610-336X .
  • Max Hauser: Beach volleyball training | Exercises for more fun and success in the sand. DVD 2015.
  • Laura Ludwig, Kira Walkenhorst: Ludwig / Walkenhorst - The way to gold. DVD. 2016, OCLC 1073762989 .

Web links

Portal: Volleyball  - Overview of Wikipedia content on indoor and beach volleyball
Commons : Beach volleyball  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Beach volleyball  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

General information



Live broadcasts and video on demand

Individual evidence

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on June 26, 2019 .