Bump, Set, Spike

Some people enjoy outdoor sports, like baseball or soccer. Other fans prefer indoor sports, such as basketball or gymnastics. There's one sport out there that has a little something for everybody, volleyball.

Volleyball: No matter where you play or watch it, volleyball is a fast-paced, enjoyable activity. In the winter and in colder climates, volleyball is an indoor sport, played in a gym. In warmer seasons and climates, the game moves outside, often to courts made out of sand. For this reason, beach volleyball has become an extremely popular summertime activity.

In the gym: Typically, gym volleyball games are six-on-six. Like in every sport, the players play different positions. Hitters and blockers are typically taller players who play at the net to try and score points. The setter has the job of trying to pass the ball to the hitters. A libero is a defensive specialist, who roams all over the court to receive the serve or spikes coming from the other team. At the high school level, games are played to 15 points and the first team to win two games wins the match. In college, games are usually played to 25.

On the beach: Recently, more and more athletes are playing beach volleyball. On just about every beach, you can see volleyball nets set up and people playing casual games. Competitive beach volleyball usually consists of teams of two playing on smaller courts. Since they are playing on sand, athletes usually play barefoot. In places like California, Hawaii and Florida, professional beach volleyball matches draw many enthusiastic fans, all enjoying the sunshine and the competition. In other parts of the country and the world, players don't even need a beach to play beach volleyball! Many parks and campgrounds have sandy volleyball courts, meaning that the game can be played no matter how far you are from the ocean.

Skill sets: Competitive volleyball players are some of the best athletes in the world. For hitters and blockers, one of the most important skills is the ability to jump high. In men's volleyball, the net is almost eight-feet tall. In the women's volleyball, the net is about 7˝-feet tall. In order to spike the ball hard over the net, one of the key plays in the game, players need to be able to reach above the net. Volleyball players have to run all over the court, to chase shots hit by the other team. Players need to be quick and in shape to track these shots down.

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