I find it incredible that no matter where I am, if someone mentions the word ‘beach,’ I see the same picture: It’s a bright, hot, sunny day, and two laughing girls in swimsuits are about to hit a volleyball over the net to their opponents. What is it with a beach that makes you think ‘sports’?
The 7 best sports to play on the beach are:
- Volleyball – very energetic and tiring
- Bocce – more skill and fun than hard work
- Beach Soccer – a full workout
- Beach Paddleball – great fun
- Beach Rugby – hard work, but rewarding
- Spikeball – exhausting but fun
- Frisbee Football – a full workout
There is just something very healthy – mentally and physically – about playing sport on the beach. It can draw you out of your shell or introduce new people into your group, and it destroys many social barriers. As for toning muscles and getting some rays into that white skin, nothing beats fun in the sun.
Seven Best Sports To Play On The Beach
It is impossible to start any list of this nature with anything other than this ubiquitous game. Played by a maximum of six people per side, each team is allowed to touch the ball no more than three times before it must cross the net into the opponents’ court.
All you really need is a net, a ball, and some friends. (Or strangers, who will become friends) Volleyball is the original dating/friendship app. One of the best beach adaptations ever, volleyball will have you sweating in no time. Getting your body to move quickly over the loose sand, jumping, and diving for the volleyball is a complete workout for anyone.
Bocce, or Bocce Ball as some folk prefer, is an ancient game and the probable precursor to lawn bowls, still played around the world today. Two people can play against one another, or you can play with two teams of two. Of course, if you have enough balls, there is no reason you can’t have bigger groups also.
A fun game rather than a cardio workout, the goal of Bocce is to get your ball closer to the Pallino or Jack (the target ball) than your opponents. The first team that scores 12 points wins the game (they must win by 2). A match will usually consist of 3 rounds, but that’s up to you.
Put four boys and a ball on the beach, and you will have a game of beach soccer within minutes. Goalposts are not required, and a pair of shoes or two baseball caps are perfectly adequate for marking out the goal. I first played this in South Africa, where they used flip-flops (sandals!) as goalposts.
Rules are invented as you go along, and teams can swell to upward of twenty as hopeful candidates arrive at the beach. The goalposts will usually start just a few feet apart, then widen as new players join.
For this you need several wooden paddles and a ball – a tennis ball works perfectly. The players stand in a rough circular group. The game’s object is for players to keep the ball bouncing on their paddle several times before passing the ball to another player without allowing the ball to drop.
The game starts with the first player maintaining a volley of two bounces on his paddle before passing the ball onward. If a team lets the ball hit the sand or water, they are out of the round. The last team to maintain their volley at the end of each round scores one point. The first team to get to five points is the winner of the game.
Rugby is becoming increasingly popular in the US after the recent tour by the All Blacks, by far the most successful rugby team globally, and this popularity has also translated to our beaches.
Like Beach Soccer, the rugby version is also played with at least two players on a side, but this will usually swell to 15 or more. The ball has to be tossed or given by hand from player to player but can only be passed backward, and if ever passed forward, it is a ‘foul,’ and the opposition team gets the ball.
A score is called a ‘try’ (why not a ‘succeed,’ since you scored??) and is made by dotting the oval ball down behind the opponents’ goal line. A bit confusing at first, but a full-body workout and great fun.
Ever since spikeball was revived some years back, it’s been one of the most popular ball games for the beach. Two players on each team battle it out in this game which combines volleyball and four square. The ball is bounced off a round-framed net about a yard across, sitting parallel to and just above the sand.
Players circle the net, knocking the ball down onto it for three alternating touches before the opposition team steps in. Naturally, the last bounce from each team is made as difficult as possible for the opposition to reach. This is a sport, not a game, as you will see from the sweat produced by all players… Check this out!
As the name suggests, this is beach football at its finest. Teams of varying sizes diving, running, and passing their favorite frisbee (Mine’s an Aerobie) into the endzone. Tackling, as with Beach Rugby, is touch only, and for the rest, scoring is the same as gridiron. (Minus the goal-kicks)
Healthy Sporting Activities To Enjoy On The Beach
An alternative to playing sport on the beach when there are not enough people around for a game is to exercise on your own. Let’s say you tend to rise with the sun and hit the beach while it’s still cool but would like a workout, despite the hour; what do you do?
If you are in Asia or have an Asian population nearby, there is an excellent chance that dawn will find them on the beach practicing their art. Tai chi, short for T’ai chi ch’üan or Tàijíquán, is also known as “Shadowboxing,” and is an ancient Chinese martial art.
Practiced in theory for defense training, health benefits, and meditation, in reality, Tai Chi is also a wonderful way of relaxing, stretching the body, and staying supple. This non-contact sport will have you exercising muscles you had long forgotten you had.
This activity may sound mundane but is exceptionally relaxing, particularly without crowds to worry about falling over, and brings great inner peace. Choose a day when the wind is not blowing too strongly if you want tranquility or a windier day if you’d prefer a workout.
We’ve all seen them, jogging out of sight in one direction and then returning much later, having covered several miles of open beach. If that’s your bag, early morning is a perfect time, before crowds and the harsh sun make life less than idyllic.
No matter what sport you do on the beach, you will have far more fun than any day in the classroom or at work. You’ll probably meet new people and get your heart rate up in a healthy environment. Sounds like a win-win, eh?