Girls Beach Volleyball and its CIF Premiere | Addie Picker
For almost a century, two-man beach volleyball has been an important piece of the laid-back West Coast beach culture. Officially born in Santa Monica, California in the 1930s, beach volleyball is the perfect illustration of the casual Southern California coastal lifestyle – no shoes or knee pads needed, just a net, ball, and three friends. Throughout its development, the sport has encapsulated athletes of all ages, offering club programs for those looking for more competitive growth, in addition to more recreational opportunities for leisurely exercise.
Due to the youth of the sport, beach volleyball has been slower to develop programs than other older and more traditional sports, for example, its indoor volleyball counterpart. In 1965, the California Beach Volleyball Association was founded, which officially standardized regulations and rules for competitive play of the sport. However, high school and collegiate programs came along, and continue to come along, at a much slower pace. 2015 came as a victory year for beach volleyball fans with the announcement of Women's sand volleyball becoming an official NCAA collegiate sport. Not only did this mean that beach volleyball players could be recruited to play their sport collegiately, but they could also receive scholarships for doing so. Unfortunately, such a decision has not yet been made for men in the sport, however, fans continue to hope for its introduction to the collegiate arena soon.
News broke the volleyball world in 2021 when CIF announced that starting in the 2021-2022 Spring season, Girls Beach Volleyball would be an official high school sport. Not only is this a huge subject of celebration for those acquainted with the sport, but it is a major turning point for the sport and its future development. With the new ability to acquire athletic credits and represent one’s high school through the sport, it is likely that beach volleyball will witness the introduction of many more athletes to the game. In addition, such a decision expands the reach of the sport to a much wider population. As high school sports are, in general, low or free of cost, many more players will have the opportunity to try the sport and develop themselves as a player. With such success for high school girls beach volleyball players, one can only hope (and expect) that the same will soon follow in the future for boys.
As the sport, which is played in partner doubles, only requires four players per match, it may bring some to question how high school teams will be organized, as well as how game days will be structured. Similar to high school tennis, coaches will organize their teams into ranks based on abilities, starting with the first, most skilled partnership. Come game time, the first team will play the first team of the opposing school, the second team will play the second, and so on. Not only does this create a friendly competition between teammates (which will, of course, inspire a harder work ethic), but it ensures that teams, however new they are to the sport, will be often matched up with teams of their similar ability.
Though introduced in relatively modern times, beach volleyball has faced a steep rise in popularity, not only on the coast, but in inland areas as well. With beach volleyball now an Olympic sport for both men and women and also a CIF and NCAA sport for women, there is a bright side to the foreseeable future. The implementation of CIF Girls Beach Volleyball will not only be a huge growth opportunity for the sport but also will hopefully inspire a similar success for many more sports in the future.