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Beach volleyball is fundamentally similar to indoor volleyball: a team scores points by grounding the ball on the opponents' court, or when the opposing team commits a fault (error or illegal action); consecutive contacts must be made by different players (except after a block touch, when any player may legally contact the ball). The major differences between beach and indoor volleyball are: Playing surface – sand rather than hard court Bare feet are allowed for the players The dimensions of the court are 16 by 8 meters, compared to 18 by 9 meters in the indoor game. The beach court has no "attack line", unlike the indoor court, which has such a line 3 meters from the net. Team size – two rather than six, with no substitutions allowed Scoring system – best of 3 sets played to 21 (15 for a deciding set) rather than best of 5 to 25 Open hand touches, tips and dinks are illegal A block at the net counts as one of the three allowed touches in the beach game, but not in the indoor game Open-hand setting standards are different in the beach game – double hitting is called tighter but lifts are slightly more lenient, directing the ball while open hand setting is also illegal in beach Coaching during matches is not allowed There are no rotation errors on the beach – players may switch sides at will It is legal to cross under the net in beach volleyball as long as it does not interfere with opponents' play Teams switch ends of the court every seven points, rather than between sets There is no Libero in beach like there is in indoor Beach volleyball matches play best 3 of 5 or best 2 out of 3 sets - Indoor volleyball plays best 2 out of 3 sets.  The only similarity in the courts used in the two forms of volleyball is the net. In both versions, the height of the net is 2.43 meters for men and 2.24 meters for women
Beach volleyball is a team sport played by two teams of two players on a sand court divided by a net. It has been an Olympic discipline since the 1996 Games. As in indoor volleyball, the object of the game is to send the ball over the net and to ground it on the opponent's court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent. A team is allowed up to three touches to return the ball across the net. The ball is put in play with a serve —a hit by the server from behind the rear court boundary over the net to the opponents. The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes "out", or is not returned properly.  The team winning a rally scores a point and serves to start the following rally. The four players serve in the same sequence throughout the match, changing server each time a rally is won by the receiving team. Beach volleyball Originated in Southern California, and has achieved worldwide popularity.
In 1920, new jetties in Santa Monica, California created a large sandy area for public enjoyment, planting the seed for beach volleyball development in that region. The first permanent nets began to appear, and people soon began playing recreational games on public parts of the beach and in private beach clubs. Eleven such beach clubs appeared in the Santa Monica area, beginning in late 1922. The first inter-club competitions were staged in 1924. Most of these early beach volleyball matches were played with teams of at least six players per side, much like indoor volleyball. The concept of the modern two-man beach volleyball game is credited to Paul "Pablo" Johnson, an indoor player of Santa Monica Athletic Club. In the summer of 1930, while waiting for players to show up for a six-man game, Johnson decided to try playing with only the two people present. The game was forever changed. Though recreational games continue to be played with more players, the most widely played version of the game, and the only one contested at an elite level, has only two players per team. Beach volleyball players in Hawaii, ca. 1935 Beach volleyball began to appear in Europe in the 1930s. By the 1940s, doubles tournaments were being played on the beaches of Santa Monica for trophies. In 1948 the first tournament to offer a prize was held in Los Angeles, California. It awarded the best teams with a case of Pepsi, supplied by Dr. Caleb Mohrhauser, often noted as one of the most enthusiastic patrons of early beach volleyball. In the 1960s, an attempt to start a professional volleyball league was made in Santa Monica. It failed, but a professional tournament was held in France for 30,000 French francs. The first Manhattan Beach Open was held in 1960, a tournament which grew in prestige to become, in the eyes of some, the "Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball". In the meanwhile, beach volleyball gained big popularity: in the 1960s The Beatles tried playing in Los Angeles and even US president John F. Kennedy was seen attending a match. In 1974 there was an indoor tournament: "The $1500.00 World Indoor Two-Man Volleyball Championship" played in front of 4,000 volleyball enthusiast at the San Diego Sports Arena. Fred Zuelich teamed with Dennis Hare to defeat Ron Von Hagen and Matt Gage in the championship match, Winston Cigarettes was the sponsor. Dennis Hare went on to write the first book on the subject of Beach Volleyball: The Art of Beach Volleyball. The first professional beach volleyball tournament was the Olympia World Championship of Beach Volleyball, staged on Labor Day weekend, 1976, at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, California. The event was organized by David Wilk of Volleyball Magazine, based in Santa Barbara. The winners, the first "world champions", were Greg Lee and Jim Menges. They split $2,500 out of a total prize purse of $5,000. Volleyball Magazine staged the event the next year at the same location, this time sponsored by Schlitz Light Beer. In 1978 Wilk formed a sports promotion company named Event Concepts with Craig Masuoka and moved the World Championship of Beach Volleyball to Redondo Beach. Jose Cuervo tequila signed on as sponsor and the prize purse. The event was successful and Cuervo funded an expansion the next year to three events. The California Pro Beach Tour debuted with events in Laguna Beach, Santa Barbara and the World Championship in Redondo. In following years the tour expanded nationally and was renamed the Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. It consisted of five events in California and tournaments in Florida, Colorado, and Chicago. Top players included Karch Kiraly, Randy Stoklos, Singin Smith, Andy Fishburn, and Steve Obradovich. By 1984 the Pro Beach consisted of 16 events around the country and had a total prize purse of $300,000. At the end of the year, however, Event Concepts was forced out of the sport by a players' strike at the World Championship and the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was founded. At the professional level, the sport remained fairly obscure until the 1980s when beach volleyball experienced a surge in popularity with high profile players such as Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos, and Karch Kiraly. Kiraly won an Olympic gold medal in beach volleyball in its first Olympic appearance in 1996, adding that to the two Olympic golds he won as part of the USA men's indoor team, and has won 142 titles. In 1987, the FIVB created the first World Beach Volleyball Championships, played in Rio Janeiro, Brazil won By Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos. The FIVB began organizing worldwide professional tournaments, and laid the groundwork for the sport's Olympic debut in 1996. Despite its increased popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, American beach volleyball suffered setbacks. In early 1998, the American women's professional tour – the WPVA – closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. Later that same year, the American professional men's tour – the AVP – also filed for bankruptcy, plagued by problems as a player-run organization. In 2001, the AVP reemerged as a for-profit, publicly traded company that combined the men's and women's professional tours, with equal prize money for both sexes. In 2010, the AVP shut its doors once again and filed bankruptcy. Beach volleyball has become a global sport, with international competition organized by the FIVB. Brazil and the USA are dominant, with 20 of the 30 Olympic medals awarded to date between them, and 16 of the 20 gold and silver medals. But the sport's popularity has spread to the rest of the world as well.