Why beach volleyball is the perfect summer sport
After our beach volleyball master class we caught up with USC Munich team captain Karim, to find out how he got into the sport and what advice he has for us first-time beach volleyball players…
USC: What’s your background in sport?
I do lots of sports – mostly football but I also play ping pong and tennis. I started playing beach volleyball with my friends when I was 16 and now I’m studying Sports Science in Munich.
USC: What do you enjoy about beach volleyball?
Lots of things. You can play it everywhere – you just need a ball. We used to play it without a net and just with slack lines.
I also like the fact that anyone can play. Some moves are difficult but you can learn the basics really fast and improve really quickly which makes it a lot of fun from the beginning.
And of course the people. You meet a lot of people because you always need a partner to play. So when you play in the same place you get to know the people and it doesn’t take long to build a really great community.
I grew up by Chiemsee which is a big lake about an hour away, between Munich and Salzburg. I play beach volleyball there – we have a big community of beach volleyballers. If I ever want to play a game I just ask in the WhatsApp group and if people are there we’ll play together.
It’s really great how the USC community has grown since we started it this year. Now people are beginning to ask on days that aren’t fixed if anybody wants to play, so people are getting to know each other already.
USC: How many people are in the USC Munich beach volleyball community?
At the moment about 15 but more join every week. At the beginning of summer, in April, there there weren’t enough players but now we have at least two new members every time we play.
USC: Beginners or just people who’ve played beach volleyball before?
It’s also for beginners. Most people have played beach volleyball before but last week we had a girl who was nervous to play because she’s a beginner and one of our guys said “if you play this time then next time you will have played before!”
So everyone is welcome. And if people don’t know the rules we explain them as we go.
Have you had any moments in your sports career that you’ve been really proud of?
At the beginning when you start to learn how to spike you don’t get it, but the moment it clicked was great for me. Also when I played in the Halle competition which was 6 vs 6.
I’d like to participate in an amateurs tournament next year perhaps – it’s always in a different part of Bavaria and it’s a lot of fun.
Is there a beach volleyball player you admire? Any role models?
Yes the German beach volleyball team who won gold in the London Olympics in 2012. And then there are two women from Germany, Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, who won gold in Rio. It was pretty amazing because they both had shoulder injuries but they won every game.
What advice would you give to USC members who are thinking about starting beach volleyball?
Just start. Even if you have concerns about starting because you have to play with other people and you think you’re not good enough and you’ll get a ball in the face. But beach volleyballers are so open-minded – just come, you’ll learn so fast, it’s easy to get to know the basics and you’ll just get better and better.
So don’t worry about not being good enough. We’re playing sport in the sun in the sand in the summer – what more can you want?