First published in the Lethbridge Herald Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
Beach volleyball is finding its way in southern Alberta.
Volleyball history began in 1895 at the YMCA in Massachusetts. It reached Lethbridge in 1912 primarily as a recreational activity until the 1940s when it was introduced into the Lethbridge school system.
Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge formed men’s and women’s volleyball teams in the 1960s. The University program ended in 1988 due to financial restraints.
The Lethbridge College Kodiak’s program continues to be strong. For the first time in program history, they will host the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Men’s Volleyball Championship from Feb. 26 to 29, 2020.
Community volleyball, both indoor and outdoor, recreation and elite levels, continues to grow in popularity.
The Lethbridge Volleyball Club began in the late 1980s as a feeder system for the Lethbridge College Kodiak’s women’s volleyball program. Their goal was to promote and develop elite volleyball in southern Alberta. Today it has a membership of 150 youth who are provided competitive and development opportunities.
Founded in 2012, Ace Volleyball made its way south from Calgary in 2018 providing opportunities for over 50 players striving to play post-secondary. Ace Volleyball Club recently opened its own training centre, The Facility.
For those 18 years and over the Lethbridge Ladies Volleyball Club is a 24 team league that plays weekly from September to March.
Beach volleyball’s popularity may be on the upswing.
Volleyball Alberta’s Youth Beach Volleyball program will return to Lethbridge in preparation for the Alberta Summer Games. According to the Volleyball Alberta’s website, this 8-week program is for youth 13U to 18U who want to develop and refine their beach volleyball skills while learning to be more effective on the sand.
Two-player beach volleyball was first played in the 1930s. The courts are slightly smaller than their indoor counterpart and the sand must be at least 40cm deep.
Grab a partner because beach volleyball is in two southern Alberta multi-sport events next summer.
The 51st annual Southern Alberta Summer Games hosted by the Town of Raymond will host 2 on 2 and 4 on 4 beach volleyball for all ages and abilities. Categories include two-player teams for boys and girls 14 to 16 years of age and men and women 17 years and over. Four-player teams are required for the open co-ed category.
The Alberta Summer Games will host 14 and 15 year old beach volleyball athletes. Zone teams will include two males and two females in each age category. Beach volleyball will be held at Softball Valley in the picturesque Peenaquim Park. Besides the ten shale diamonds, Softball Valley is home to four beach volleyball courts.
To find out more about volleyball and beach volleyball visit https://lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/sport-directory
Throughout the year, Lethbridge Sport Council will publish articles about each of the 14 sports included in the 2020 Alberta Summer Games being hosted in Lethbridge from July 23 to 26.
For more local sport information visit www.lethbridgesportcouncil.ca