Serving in the sand

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Volleyball: Bob Lewis, left, sets a spike for Larry Thames in a sand volleyball game at the Suffolk Family YMCA Tuesday. The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday to play volleyball on a sand court behind the YMCA building.

You don’t have to travel to Virginia Beach to feel the squish of sand between your toes and hear waves crashing behind you as you serve, set and spike.

Suffolk Family YMCA brings a bit of the beach to the area with its sand volleyball program that is held every Tuesday and Thursday.

YMCA senior program director Mario Faulk said the idea for sand volleyball came about last year as a way for members to enjoy the game but also free up space in the building.


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He said indoor volleyball was attracting a large group, and the organization wanted to offer them a new space.

The YMCA added the sand volleyball court behind its building last year, near the outdoor pool, which adds the water to the ambiance. A group arrives at the court at 5:30 p.m. and plays until it’s too dark to see the ball.

The games are usually played with four players on each side, and the group uses rally scoring, which means a side gets a point whenever the ball touches the opposite side of the court.

The group is open to YMCA members and guests ages 13 and up.

Faulk said many of the people who play have volleyball experience, but it is open to all levels of experience.

“It’s a free play, but it’s organized and they teach them as they go,” he said.

He said group leader Lisa Lewis, a YMCA group exercise leader and former college volleyball player, tries to keep the games competitive while working with the various skill levels.

He said she originally joined the group to play but enjoyed it so much she wanted to help coordinate the program.

Faulk said Lewis gets the court set up with boundary lines and organizes the games.

“She takes a lot of pride in that sand volleyball,” Faulk said. “She’s the one who’s out there. She’s put a lot into it.”

Trevor Tomas, who also works for the YMCA, said he used to play and coach volleyball and he comes out to play because he loves the game.

“I love (volleyball),” he said. “There’s not a lot of places to play around here, so I’m glad we got it started.”

Tomas said sand volleyball is a little more laid back than indoor volleyball, and it’s an opportunity to relax and have a good time.

Faulk said the program is a chance for Suffolk residents to get a great workout without the long drive to the beach.

“It’s a very, very active sport,” he said. “They get a good workout while they are playing, but they’re actually having fun at the same time.”

He said the organization plans to hold the program into September, but it depends on the weather.

For more information on the program, contact the Suffolk Family YMCA at 934-9622.