Beach Volleyball is making its second appearance at a Commonwealth Youth Games and with 18 countries competing at this summer’s Games, it is sure to be an exciting display of raw talent and power. The beautiful Pigeon Point Beach will be the competition’s home for the six days of competition, from 5-10 August.

For part two of our Beach Volleyball Sport Focus, here are 5 things you need to know about the sport at the Games and in Scotland:

1. Beach Volleyball is only a recent addition to the Commonwealth Games programme, making its Youth Games debut at Bahamas 2017 and senior Games debut at Gold Coast 2018.  

2. A Beach Volleyball team is made up of two players, and the first team to reach 21 points, with a two-point lead, wins the set. Matches are best of three sets with third sets played to fifteen. Teams switch sides every seven points (five in the third set) so that any advantage from the wind is split.

3. While a Beach Volleyball side has two players instead of the six per side of the Indoor game, the court is just one metre shorter, and one metre narrower than an Indoor Volleyball court – that’s a lot of ground to cover per player!

4. Beach Volleyball is played all over Scotland on beaches in Troon, Ayr, St Andrews, Portobello, Aberdeen, as well as on inland (fake) beaches in Perth, Edinburgh, and Ayr.

5. Iona Bell and Sasha Clegg-Mckeown, the duo representing Team Scotland in Beach Volleyball at Trinbago 2023, both play out of West Coast Beach Volleyball Club, one of the four Beach Volleyball clubs in Scotland.

With just over a month to go until the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, the countdown has begun and the excitement is starting to build. Over the final few weeks until Team Scotland head out to Trinidad and Tobago, we will be taking a further look into each of our seven sports being represented at the Youth Games and chatting with the athletes competing.

Our first ‘Sport Focus’ of these Youth Games will be on Beach Volleyball, with Team Scotland being represented in the Women’s competition.

Meet Iona Bell and Sasha Clegg-Mckeown, who have been selected to represent Team Scotland in the Women’s Beach Volleyball at this summer’s 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

We spoke with Iona, 16, and Sasha, 14, ahead of the Team Camp, and they spoke of their excitement to represent their country on the world stage and how they want to encourage others to try out the sport:

Ahead of them heading out to Trinidad and Tobago we asked Iona and Sasha to tell us more about their sport and being selected for the Games:

Congratulations on becoming part of Team Scotland, what are you most looking forward to about the Youth Games? 

Iona: I’m very excited to represent my country at such a big event and in such a cool location. It’s definitely a huge honour and it will be great to be among so many talented athletes within Team Scotland. 

Sasha: I’m most looking forward to representing the whole of my country for the very first time on the beach and at such a young age.

Can you tell us what the biggest difference, as a player, is between Volleyball and Beach Volleyball?

Iona: Beach Volleyball is definitely more physically demanding than indoor as there are only two players to cover the whole court and playing on sand is tough. I also tend to play setter on indoor, so I enjoy getting more opportunities to attack on the beach.

Sasha: For me the difference between indoor and Beach Volleyball is that in Beach Volleyball you have to be very smart at your offence and tenacious and skilful at defence (one have to be a really smart and well-rounded player), when in Indoor Volleyball it’s more about power shots and being good at one or two specific skills. 

Tell us an interesting fact about your sport that people may not know?

Iona: On average players jump 300 times in a Beach Volleyball game.

Sasha: Beach Volleyball players use secret signal to communicate with each other and unlike in Indoor Volleyball you can’t have substitutions in Beach Volleyball.

What would you say to people, particularly young people, to try and get them involved in Beach Volleyball?

Iona: I definitely think it’s worth giving a go. I won’t lie it’s not for everyone and you have to be willing to brave some grim weather and deal with the tough physical demand of the sport. However, of all the sports I’ve tried it’s definitely the most fun. It’s great to get outdoors in the summer and let off some steam.

Sasha: If you are full of energy and love running about, then Beach Volleyball is made for people like you. You even get to whack the ball as hard as you can, play as a team with your friends and keep fit. It’s a great fun game that everyone should try! 

Commonwealth Games Scotland has today announced that Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts have been selected to represent Team Scotland in women’s beach volleyball at this summer’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The selection comes after the pair secured Scotland’s qualification for the Games after a brilliant second-place finish in last summer’s Eurozone Commonwealth Games qualifier, which was hosted by Scottish Volleyball at Portobello Beach in Edinburgh.

Coutts and Beattie, who both took to the sand in Australia in 2018, faced a tough Cypriot team to secure Scotland’s qualification and the second place finish was enough to grant the Scots back-to-back Games qualifications.

The Edinburgh based pairing, who are currently ranked 140 in the world, have been a partnership since 2015, training and competing for Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club in Portobello.

They reached the quarter-finals of the beach volleyball competition in Gold Coast 2018, losing to the Canadian pairing of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan, who would go on to claim gold in the competition.

Talking about her selection for Team Scotland, Coutts said, “It is great to be selected for Team Scotland for a second consecutive Commonwealth Games.

“We’ve got many great memories from four years ago, and the atmosphere was really special in Australia, but with it being a UK-based games I’m sure this one will be even better. I can’t wait.”

Beattie, who captained Team GB in indoor volleyball at the London 2012 Olympic Games said, “As soon as the last Commonwealth Games finished we were back on tour immediately because we knew how important it was to contribute to qualification the next time around.

“It has been a long process but this was obviously the ultimate goal and we achieved it, so we are very excited.

“Being part of the wider Team Scotland is a special experience – representing your country, mixing with athletes from other sports, cheering them all on. Being part of a large team isn’t something we get to do very often so we’ll be looking to make the most of it.”

Team Scotland Chef de Mission, Elinor Middlemiss said “I am delighted to welcome Lynne and Melissa back to Team Scotland for their second Commonwealth Games. It is fitting that they have ben selected after securing the team’s qualification for Birmingham 2022.

“The Beach Volleyball competition will be played in a stunning venue in the middle of Birmingham and I am looking forward to watching the team out on the sand. I have no doubt that the Scottish public will get behind the girls both at home and in Birmingham.”

The beach volleyball competition runs from 30 July to 7 August and will be held at the former Smithfield Market at a temporary Games venue in the heart of Birmingham city centre.

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