Forced Outdoors, is Beach Volleyball on the Rise?
Players featured in this article:
Caleigh Ponn | 2025
L | NC Academy

We’ve noticed that beach volleyball has become more popular as of late and we did a deeper dive to see if it’s true – and if the trend is supported enough to continue upward. Perhaps it is out of necessity that athletes are playing outside as they can’t get to a gym due to the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide shutdown. As the states phased in fewer restrictions, clubs turned to the great outdoors for lessons and small group training. Over the last couple of months, playing beach or grass volleyball may have been some athletes’ first time playing the sport outside of a gym, aside from the casual pepper session on the front lawn.

“The popularity of beach volleyball (formally known as sand) has exploded over the last few years,” stated the AVCA on its website. “It made the quickest transition from an emerging sport to a championship sport in NCAA history. It’s also the fastest growing NCAA sport over the last five years in Division I.”

The sport, however, has been gaining interest and growing each year already. In the 2018-19 season, there were over 1,000 roster spots on the 75 NCAA teams, with 126 total college programs outfitting a team. Eight new NCAA programs added beach volleyball as a sport for the 2019-20 season that was inevitably cut too short.

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