Spiking to success in the sand

Beach volleyball at Portside Ventura Harbor courts top row Greg, Holly, Chi, Eli, Josh, Kelly, Jason. Bottom row Jeanine, Kristen, Ashley, Andrew. And the dog is Drake!

by Patricia Schallert

Volleyball is an exciting sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages. It requires teamwork, coordination, and skill. The object of the game is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court without letting it touch the ground. With its fast-paced action and strategic plays, volleyball offers a thrilling experience for both players and spectators alike.

Beach volleyball and court volleyball are two popular variations of the same sport, each possessing unique characteristics.

While beach volleyball and court volleyball share similar rules and objectives, their differences in playing surface, number of players per team, strategy/tactics employed, scoring systems used, and equipment requirements make each version distinct. Both types offer their unique challenges and require specific skill sets from athletes who participate. Whether it’s the thrill of jumping high for a spike on the court or diving into sand to save a ball during beach play – both forms provide an exciting experience for those passionate about this globally beloved sport.

Starting in February, 2023, a small private group of friends have been playing beach volleyball regularly. Prior to that, several of members of the team played at East Beach in Santa Barbara, while others had played pickup at the San Pedro courts in Ventura. When one team member moved to Portside Harbor Ventura, a small contingent started playing at the Portside courts and it has since grown! Kristen Brown, one of the members of the team, said “they typically like to play 3 vs 3, but with the limited (2) courts at Portside lately, they’ve been having full courts of 6 vs 6 or 5 vs 5, which isn’t ideal ,but they make it work.” There are no ‘sign ups’ per se as they are a privately organized group of friends who have a private messaging platform that they use.

Kristen further related, that the players range in age from 20’s to 60’s, but average age is mid-thirties. “They enjoy each other’s company and though food is not part of the game, sometimes they will have a BBQ or a potluck usually to celebrate a birthday of some event within their group.”

The team is mostly beginner to intermediate players, all improving their skills together! Some members have been playing volleyball since high school, others are just learning. “We’re out there to have fun and get better together!”

For this team, sides are picked informally. They are all close friends. If one team looks a little stacked, they might do some rearranging, but for the most part they just divide up naturally.

The courts are located at the very end of Navigator Dr.

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