When you think about Perth summers spent on the beach, you think about the searing heat of the sun, dashing across hot sand to get to the cooling ocean waters and that uncomfortable feeling of gritty sand caught up in your bathers and stuck to your body by the sunblock. Then you jump back into a sauna like car, wrapped only in a towel so as not to wet the seat and not wanting to put your clothes back on to avoid a sweaty ride home.
Now imagine playing competitive volleyball in these very same conditions. Teams of only two must cover the entire court, heroically diving to make the pass, blocking their opponents at the net, and leaping metres off the sand to attack the ball. Beach Volleyball is a particularly physical sport; athletes require strength and aerobic fitness to maneuver around the sandy surface. Across a two-day competition players could play 6 games lasting up to two hours each to make the grand final.
Beach Volleyball is a popular summer sport across the globe, so these conditions are not unique to Perth. For those athletes who travel overseas to compete the weather conditions often include humidity as well as heat, as seen at the Tokyo Olympics our beach volleyballers sheltered under shade with fans and misting systems and were still losing an incredible amount of water through sweat.
Concern is rightly raised about sunburn and the consequences of spending too much time in the sun and the heat. Looking at the WA beaches every summer this is not only a volleyball concern but a societal worry. The sport is very good at protecting and managing the player’s health in these conditions, we have an established heat policy as part of our event risk management procedures, our fixtures allow for adequate rest between games, and we provide shade, water, sunblock, and education. All staff, referees, and players also have long sleeve uniform options to help protect them against the conditions.
Uniforms in any sport should be fit for purpose and provide the necessary physical protection. Fabrics to suit the weather conditions and designs to allow freedom of movement among the chief considerations. Lots of money has been spent by the world’s largest apparel manufacturers to develop fabrics like dry fit for comfort, compression garments to increase recovery and so on.
It seems that before the start of our beach season we are often questioned about our beach uniform and that worn by some of our female athletes.
Much like their Olympic idols did in Tokyo several of our female players opt for the crop top and bikini bottom style uniform to help them prevent overheating. Shelby Maher, Alcohol, Think Again Volleyball WA Ambassador said “Volleyball is a sport which is very inclusive, athletes have a broad choice in uniform to suit their personal, health and religious preference, nothing is mandated, and they are free to choose, the style, cut and coverage.
Our indoor and beach athletes, male and female are free to choose a style of uniform that meets their needs for comfort and protection. Attendees at any of our beach volleyball events will see players in several variations of the uniform some choosing long sleeves and leggings for sun protection and religious reasons and other in singlets and shorts or crop tops and bikini bottoms for temperature control. See the options here for yourself.
Volleyball is a game which builds personal confidence so even as a junior I chose to wear the bikini style uniform to prevent overheating. Because it is hot, the material is ideal for swimming, comfortable and quick drying, there is no excessive material to stick to your body and trap in heat. I would encourage everyone to head to the beach this summer to check out the action on court and the incredible athleticism and skill of all players on the tour”.
The Alcohol. Think Again Beach Tour series starts on November 27 & 28 at City Beach for more information visit the website volleyballwa.com.au.