Volleyball in Brazil

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Beach volleyball, or sand volleyball, is an Olympic team sport. Like other variations of volleyball, 2 teams, separated by a high net, try to score points against the other by grounding a ball on the other team's court. Teams can contact the ball no more than 3 times before the ball crosses the net, and consecutive contacts must be made by different players.

The major differences between beach and indoor volleyball are:

*Playing surface: sand, rather than a hard floor

*Team size: 2 players per team, rather than 6

*A match consists of a best 2 out of 3 set format. The first team to reach 21 points with a 2-point advantage wins the set.

*The ball is softer, has a lower internal pressure and is slightly bigger than an indoor volleyball.

Insider's Tip:

Beach volleyball players use hand signals to indicate the type of block they intend to make, also known as block signals. Block signals are made behind the back to hide them from the opposing team. Common block signals include:

*Closed fist: No block should be attempted for the opponent on that side of the court.

*One finger: The blocker should block an opponent's "line" attack, or a ball hit perpendicularly from the net and parallel to the sideline.

*Two fingers: The blocker should block an opponent's "angle" attack, or a ball hit diagonally from the net and across the court.

*Open hand: The blocker should block "ball," deciding how to block based upon the opposing team's set and the hitter's approach.