MARQUETTE - Summer is here, and that means sand between the toes, tan lines and of course, beach volleyball.
Playing the game is fun and not always hard, but playing it well can be a challenge as running barefoot on hot sand is different then running on the road or a track.
The sport usually is played with six people on each team. Competitive beach volleyball is played two on two. The number of players depends on the participants.
A vigorous pick up game of beach volleyball involved several participants near McCarty’s Cove in Marquette recently. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
The game consists of hitting the ball into your component's court. Getting vertical to jump, block and spike is just part of the fun. Hanging out with friends just adds to the good time.
Nick Harrington recently moved to the Marquette area from Kalamazoo and said he uses volleyball as a way to meet new people and to stay active while he is not working.
"It is a good way to meet new people, like right now, some of the people I'm playing with are friends and others I have no idea who they are," he said.
The sport is also a great way to get exercise and burn some calories.
Ben Miller a fifth-grade teacher in Atlanta and former resident of Marquette, said he plays beach volleyball because it allows him to get out and work up a sweat. "It gives me a chance to enjoy the beautiful Marquette weather while staying active," he said.
The average calories burned are approximately 526 per hour. Each game averages an hour or longer but can last as long as you have the energy to play.
Beach volleyball is characterized by repetitive bursts of action ranging from zero to five seconds with short periods of rest were each player prepares for the next play of the game.
Staying hydrated is a key factor. Most stores offer a five-gallon water cooler for around $60. There are many other fun and beach friendly accessories.
The most valuable things to have are a sturdy net and a fun beach volleyball. The average price for a portable net is $120 with a ball running around $30. Included in the cost of the net are the poles to mark the boundaries. Although places like McCarty's Cove Park, Shiras Park, Miners Park in Negaunee and Ishpeming Township Recreational Area offer nets and areas ready to play.
While at the beach, digging a slight line around in the sand or using drift wood found a long the beach can be used to mark the boundaries. The tempo of play all depends on the people involved.
Common injuries usually involve the knee. There are knee sport braces available for around $15. Other injuries can occur from the ball hitting a player's face or a player landing on something hidden in the sand. Injuries are rare but participants should be prepare for them and have a first aid kit near the playing area.
Beach volleyball is a fast-paced, outdoor sport that involves the sun, sand, friends and plain old summer fun. So get vertical this year!
Andy Nelson-Zaleski can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 256. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.