Beach volleyball, the next big thing?
Beach volleyball is not the first sport that comes to mind when you think of a British university. Although, could that about to change?
Beach volleyball comprises of teams of two divided by a net, attempting to hit the volleyball onto the ground on the other side.
Sounds fun, clean, down to the point. The slight hindrance to British players is the surface on which it is played. Sand is delightful to run around in when it’s warm, but relying on Britain to provide weather adequate for training all year round is somewhat ridiculous.
The British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) disagrees. In an attempt to increase the popularity of the Sport in the UK, BUCS just held the first ever Beach Volleyball Championships in Sandbanks Beach, Poole, from the 3rd to the 4th of June.
This initiative was brought forward by Volleyball England and Sport BU (Bournemouth University) to replace the old Student Beach Cup.
The primary improvement made has been the addition of BUCS points which are awarded to institutions competing at one or more of the three levels; Championship, Trophy and Shield.
These BUCS points seemed to be a prime attraction and incentive for the universities to participate in the competition.
Samantha Jamieson, Core Market Officer at Volleyball England even commented that the BUCS points would motivate the universities to “invest yet more time, effort and money into the sport.”
Fortuitously, the popularity of the event was substantial. The Men and Women’s sections reeled in a remarkable 87 pairs and the mixed teams of four managed 13.
This popularity is expected to continue its increase exponentially in the near future due to the recent addition of Beach Volleyball to the Commonwealth Games at both Junior and Senior levels.
The BUCS’ Beach Volleyball Championship's is a great start to this cause, its primary function as a catalyst for more competitions to be held throughout the rest of the academic year could be successful.
Unfortunately, the academic year in most places in Britain consists of: approaching winter, winter, extended winter and exam time.
Furthermore, having browsed the results of this competition it is evident that the majority of entrants and especially winners were from universities in England.
No universities from Scotland other than St Andrews were visible on the list, suggesting that the BUCS have a fair way to go in attracting Scottish competitors.
In order to truly increase the popularity of a sport, the training has to be attractive and enjoyable as well as the competitions.
The improvement and increased number of training facilities i.e. indoor beach volleyball courts, should be an aspect of this process that is equally shared with the increase of competitions.
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