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Beach Volleyball Gear Essentials

Sunshine + warm weather = sand volleyball! It’s time once again to trade in court shoes for sandals and hit the sand volleyball courts, but don’t rush out the door without these 5 essential pieces of gear:

  1. Sunglasses:

    The sand court isn’t the place for your $150 sunglasses, no matter how awesome you look in them; one good dive and they’ll be permanently scratched. On the other hand, you’ll be a lot happier and more comfortable if you opt for something a little more high end than the $5 sunglasses from the gas station around the corner. Choose sunglasses designed for active outdoor pursuits, and make sure they fit snugly so you’re not constantly trying to adjust them during a rally.
  2. Sunscreen:
    Let Karch Kiraly serve as your cautionary tale and don’t step out onto an outdoor court without a generous helping of sunblock on all exposed skin. Make sure you reapply often, as the combination of sand and sweat will quickly rob you of your UV protection.
  3. Clothing:
    If you’re playing pick-up games or in a league that doesn’t require uniforms, opt for something cool and lightweight, like a tank top and running shorts. Those of you comfortable enough to play in a swimsuit are more than welcome to do so, just make sure there’s no danger of a wardrobe malfunction during a dive or hit. It’s also important to account for the sand quality where you’re playing; if it’s rough and gravelly more clothing might be a safer choice. You can still wear spandex shorts if you choose to.
  4. Footwear:
    Flip flops or sandals are the obvious choice for beach footwear because they’re easy to get on and off and you won’t get them filthy by putting them on with sand-covered feet. But once again make sure you consider the conditions where you’re playing. If there isn’t anyone watering down the sand and it’s getting full sun all day your feet may not be able to handle it. Sand socks can be a good choice in these cases but I won’t lie to you: they look a little silly. It’s still better than trying to play sand in your tennis shoes though.
  5. Head Gear:
    A hat or visor can go a long way toward keeping the sun out of your eyes while you’re trying to track the ball. For some players, however, the brim of the hat just gets in the way and makes it harder to follow the ball’s path. Experiment with different sizes and see what works for you.

And, while it’s not really gear, don’t leave home without a water bottle! Dehydration can lead to cramps and other bad stuff that will sideline you and cut your day of volleyball tragically short, so make sure you drink lots of fluids (beer does not count in your fluid total). For a guide to indoor volleyball gear click here.

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