The sport is very finely balanced between power and speed. Hence while strength and height have become vital components of international teams, the ability of teams and coaches to devise new tactics, strategies and skills have been crucial for success at the Olympic Games.
Volleyball was introduced to the Olympics in 1964 but the beach volleyball phenomenon arose only at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in Atlanta. This discipline, although still very young, has become very popular.
There is a men’s and women’s volleyball event and a men’s and women’s beach volleyball event. Volleyball takes place indoors in controlled conditions. Beach volleyball takes place outside, where the athletes have to compete with the added variables of the sand, the sun and the wind.
Volleyball matches are played to the best of five sets. The first four sets are played to 25 points, with the final set being played to 15 points. A team must win a set by two points. There is no ceiling, so each set continues until one of the teams gains a two-point advantage. In beach volleyball, matches are played best of three sets using the rally point system. The first two sets are played to 21 points, with the final set being played to 15 points. Again, a team must win a set by two points.