FIVB to conduct two major beach volleyball rule tests in 2014
The first test will study the use of the block rule (14.4), as currently used in volleyball, in all FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events in 2014. In this year’s FIVB Beach Volleyball Opens, Grand Slams and the Grand Slam Final a block will not be counted as a hit, allowing players a maximum of three hits (in addition to blocking) to return the ball. The existing rule 14.4.1 stipulated that a blocking contact is counted as a team hit.
The second test, which is focused on the first hit of the team, will take place at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 and U21 World Championships that will be held in Myslowice, Poland from June 10 to 15 and Larnaca, Cyprus from July 22 to 27 respectively. These two age-group World Championships were selected since the competition conditions are similar to that of senior level tournaments with many players at this age level also competing on the FIVB World Tour.
This ‘first hit’ test will study beach volleyball players’ use of the same first hit action in volleyball (Rule 188.8.131.52) where players will be able to come in contact through overhand action with the fingers, as long as the ball rebounds immediately. Therefore the test will involve the non-application of beach volleyball rule 184.108.40.206.
In both cases, the tests will be used to gather scientific match data to study the impact on the game. Video analyses comparing relevant data from the current picture of the game against data retrieved from the tests will be used and the information analysed according to gender.
The reports will be submitted to a group of FIVB experts to be nominated from the relevant FIVB Commissions for final recommendation to the Executive Committee followed by eventual submission to the 2014 FIVB World Congress that will take place in Milan, Italy from October 31 to November 1.
The Refereeing and Rules of the Game Commissions will conduct the testing over the 2014 season, following a request from the Beach Volleyball Commission in December 2013 to study the impact of the rule changes on the game. With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio a little over two years away, players would have enough time to adjust to the changes if a decision was made to change the rules at the end of the testing period.
With the aim of providing athletes with more opportunities to participate, the FIVB has confirmed a total of 10 double-gender Grand Slams for the 2014 World Tour season, supplemented by a further six double-gender and three single-gender Open tournaments. This year’s World Tour represents a significant increase on the 10 Grand Slams and four Open tournaments which featured along with the World Championships in 2013.