Whether you’re playing volleyball in the backyard, on the beach or at a gym, you don’t want to arrive and find out you’ve left a critical piece of equipment at home. In addition to the equipment needed to play the game, make sure you have the creature comforts that make the experience fun for everyone.
Depending on whether you’re playing on grass, sand, wood or another surface, you’ll need a court system that keeps the net in place and has boundaries. In addition to the net and poles, you’ll need some type of weighting or anchoring system to keep the net up. Check each rope, weight and stake to make sure it’s in working order, and consider bringing extra rope or anchors in case something breaks during set up or the match. Don’t assume your location has lines, even if you’re in a gym. Always bring rope lines and a tape measure to make sure you can mark out a court. If you’re playing an official match, determine your needs for officials and if you’ll need a scoreboard or scorecards. Arrange to have a portable barrier system if you don’t want to be chasing balls. You’ll need one ball -- bring a backup and a pump to be prepared.
Some leagues have clothing regulations, down to how numbers on uniforms are marked and what women and men are allowed to wear during beach volleyball matches. Your league may have prohibitions regarding advertising on clothes, so check your rules and let team members know. If you’re playing for fun, wear athletic shorts, a comfortable T-shirt and shoes or sand socks if the sand is hot or has debris in it. If it will be hot out, wear a light-colored cap made of a breathable material.
On hard surfaces, elbow and kneepads are important for serious players. Women should wear a sports bra and men should consider a cup. Wear shoes made for gripping a floor and those made for multidirectional stability. Have water, sports drinks and energy bars or gel packs on hand. Have individual towels and water cups. Invest in a form-fitting mouthguard if you’ll be playing often and at high levels of play. Depending on your ankle strength, think about how jumping up and down will affect you and consider ankle braces.
To reduce the glare of the sun on the sand when playing on the beach, wear sunglasses. Bring your own water bottle and snacks, sunscreen, an extra shirt or blouse and a personal towel. Don’t forget the music if it’s a fun outing. A cooler with ice, water, soda or other drinks will make you a hit with thirsty friends who forgot to bring their own. If you’re organizing the event, make sure there is seating for everyone, even if it’s letting everyone know beforehand that they should bring their own chair. If you’re running a tournament, a small public address system will help make it easy to page team captains or add excitement to games. Have a first-aid kit on hand to treat minor cuts, bumps and bruises.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.