08 July, 2011
The dimensions of a beach volleyball court include not only the area of the court itself, but a “run-off” space around it so players can avoid making contact with onlookers during play. The depth of the sand must also meet requirements. Since Olympic standards are measured by the metric system, it is necessary to convert them in the United States. One meter is equal to 3.28, or approximately 3 ¼, feet.
International volleyball is played on a court measuring 8 m by 16 m, or approximately 26¼ ft. by 52½ ft, for doubles. This represents the court itself with no additional boundary to keep spectators back. For play with teams of three, four or six players, the area size increases to 14 m by 24 m, or approximately 46 ft. by 79 ft.
A run-off space, or perimeter, must be laid out around the court itself. Olympic play requires a minimum of 5/6 of a meter on all sides. Three meters, or roughly 10 feet, are recommended for recreational play, and other professional competitions require four meters at the sides and five at the ends. The American Volleyball Coaches Association advises measuring your initial pit to an area of at least 14 m by 24 m, or 46 ft. by 79 ft., to allow for adequate run-off space around a regulation court.
Footing is important, and the depth of your court matters. The initial pit should be at least 70 cm but not more than 100 cm deep. An inch equals approximately 2.5 centimeters, which equates to between 28 and 40 in. Sand should then be filled in to a depth of not less than 40 cm, or about 16 in.
Equally as important as the dimensions of your court is where you place it. The American Volleyball Coaches Association recommends orienting it from north to south to accommodate the sun. If it runs east-west, players will encounter sun glare that can detract from play. The court should also be situated somewhere away from trees, rooflines and eaves -- anything that can interfere with the air space above it. Ideally, you should incline the base of your pit to accommodate water drainage after a rain. However, if your area is well above sea level, you might be able to dispense with this consideration if you increase the depth of your pit.
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