HULAREUS, BRAZIL – After only one event, pro beach players are already grumbling about the new “non-mesh” nets recently approved by the Global Volleyball Federation in January. The new nets use a fabric material on either side which can be branded by sponsors, but create a solid barrier with only 10% see through opacity. The new rule was adopted to generate more scoring and create more reactive defense plays.
In March, the first tournament with the virtually non-transparent nets was played in Brazil, and at many times during the day opposing players’ torsos were only visible when they were near the net for blocks or attacks.
Feedback from some teams was positive, with specific players enjoying an offensive advantage. “As a shorter player on the tour I immediately saw the benefit when making cut shots,” explained pro tour player Kris Pleibad. “I made sure to contact the ball below the height of the net so the other team couldn’t read my shots.”
However, some of the tour veterans publicly voiced their displeasure after the tournament. “It’s ridiculous, I couldn’t see where the ball was half the time so I found myself staring at their feet under the net,” said current points leader Derte Footé
Sources in the gear industry have indicated that all of the major net manufacturers have already phased out production of the traditional nets, which means that even recreational and league beach players will be using the new non-mesh nets by next year.
“We know this is a big change for our sport, but it’s been a long time coming and both the governing body and the rules commission agreed that the new nets will offer the best chance for our sport to grow and gain attention in the future”, explained South American GVF equipment advisor Hisa Fulahotáire. “With this new format, beach volleyball will be more exciting and can compete with the growing number of extreme sports now televised.”
While the rule change has been adopted for the 2016-2017 seasons, the ratification of the equipment change won’t be made final until January 2018. The GVF Commission is currently accepting feedback from North American volleyball organizations and recreation centres until July at firstname.lastname@example.org