Indoor and beach volleyball are fairly well-known in the Triad, but some people I talk to aren't aware of the wonderful world of grass volleyball, so I figured it could use a little more publicity! Whether you're looking to compete at a high level, learn the game for the first time, pick up where you left off in high school, improve your fitness, or just make new friends, grass volleyball offers opportunities to do all of these things.
I grew up playing indoor volleyball in middle and high school and went on to play beach recreationally in college. Thanks to my older brothers who both played volleyball, I started playing grass volleyball tournaments when I was in high school.
Here are just a few reasons I love competing on grass:
- More forgiving surface to dive on than an indoor court.
- You get a great workout in while hanging out with your friends.
- You can serve the highest skyball you want and you'll never have a ball get stuck in the rafters!
- Easier to jump and feel like you have a vertical compared to sand.
- There is a lot of strategies involved in outdoor since it's usually doubles or triples - you can utilize cut shots and more finesse rather than just power.
- No burning sand underfoot.
- Playing in the wind and rain make for some hilarious rallies.
- You can set up a net almost anywhere you can find a flat surface!
I spent my formative volleyball years in Columbia, SC which coincidentally hosts two of the largest grass tournaments in the Southeast: The Clash and The Crown. Because I've played in those two tournaments for the past 15+ years, I may be biased, but they've definitely turned into my two favorite weekends of the year. They give away over $14,000 in cash and prizes, so as you can imagine, the competition is fierce!
If you can't make it to the Clash or Crown, here are some other tournaments around the US that are a lot of fun:
- Hang 10 Volleyball - Hillsborough, NC - multiple tournaments
- Frenemies - Charlotte, NC - multiple tournaments
- A-Town - Anderson, SC - multiple tournaments
- Pisgah Forest Classic - Brevard, NC - annually in July
- The Dive After 5 - Charlotte NC - annually in August
- Pafukas - Columbia, SC - multiple tournaments
- Waupaca Boatride - Oshkosh, WI - annually in July
- The Luau - Chicago, IL - annually in September
- Pottstown Rumble - Pottstown, PA - annually in June
A few grass tournaments that are still on my bucket list:
- The Bash - Clemmons, NC - annually in June
- Angry Dragon - Atlanta, GA - multiple tournaments
- MotherLode - Aspen, CO - Labor Day weekend
- Susquehanna Smash - Lilitz, PA - annually in August
- The Digs - Virginia Beach, VA - annually in May
Do you think you'll try playing in a grass tournament soon? Check out Volley America for the most comprehensive list of tournaments: grass, beach and indoor!