Played on an outdoor sand court with a net by two teams of two players, Beach Volleyball demands a lot of its two players compared to its indoor cousin. Speed is a must, as players have to cover a larger area and faster in the tough conditions of a sand surface. Weather also becomes a factor as players struggle to keep the combination of wind, sun and sand from complicating matters.
A sport which rewards players with excellent communication skills and tactics, Beach Volleyball is rally based, with a three touch pattern of dig, set and spike permitted. Matches are played as best of three, with the first two sets played to 21 points and the final to just 15. At least two points must be between the teams for a winner to be declared.
1996 saw the first inclusion of Beach Volleyball in the Olympic Games in Atlanta, with 24 men’s and 18 women’s team participating. Natalie Cook and Kerrie Pottharst took bronze, and went on to take gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
The Beach Volleyball Scholarship program at the AIS has been an intrinsic part to the success seen by Australia, who has qualified at least one men’s and one women’s team at every Olympics since it debuted in 1996. With a focus on selecting and identifying elite athletes and preparing them for major events, the program offers 20 residential and camps-based scholarships per year, with athletes receiving world-class coaching and facilities aimed at maximising performance for events such as the Olympic Games, the Federation Internationale De Volleyball World Tour and the World Championships. Selected scholarship holders become members of the National Senior Squad and engage in Asian and World Tours and Championships, plus the Olympic Games.
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