How Court Managers Ensure Flawless Beach Volleyball Matches

Beach volleyball thrives on unheralded individuals like court managers. They sculpt the sand courts, ensure perfect playing conditions and silently orchestrate the game behind the scenes. Their dedication is a foundation for the sport's most dazzling displays.

How Court Managers Ensure Flawless Beach Volleyball Matches
Tomás Hernández has been the court manager of all the beach volleyball events that have taken place in our country in the past two years. Credit: CONADE

Beach volleyball offers one of the best visual spectacles at a sporting level in the world for the colorful plays performed by athletes who play on a court set up by the sea or, recently, taken to stadiums, sports complexes, auditoriums, or bullrings; however, there are people behind the scenes who play a transcendental role, as is the case of the court manager.

“We find the court set up, and from there we have to install the lines, the bases, the net, put antennas, hydration, chairs, water it when indicated and everything that beach volleyball entails at the court level. Our job is to ensure that the court is in perfect condition game by game,” explained Tomás Hernández, one of the three court supervisors at the Elite 16 Tepic 2024, which takes place from April 17 to 21.

The former Mazatlan volleyball player had his first experience as court manager in the Pre-Olympic of the specialty towards Tokyo 2020, held in Cancun, and since then, he has attended all the stops of the International Volleyball Federation World Tour (FIVB) that have taken place in our country: Challenge Tlaxcala and Elite 16 Rosarito, in 2022; Challenge La Paz, Elite 16 Tepic and World Championship Tlaxcala, in 2023; Challenge Guadalajara and Elite 16 Tepic, during the current year.

“In beach volleyball played by the sea, you don't need a depth of sand, but you try to level the court or fill it in to make it even. But when you play in a city, the FIVB requires that from the surface to the highest part of the sand there must be between 30 and 40 centimeters of separation so that the players never touch the floor in plays where they throw themselves on the sand,” he shared.

“Many volleyball players appreciate our work, since we take care of any possible knee or elbow injuries. There are times when the FIVB delegate asks us to water the court at certain times because of the temperature or humidity; at sea level we water it more because of the sun,” he added.

The rectangle that witnesses the matches measures 16 meters long by 8 meters wide; from corner to corner, the FIVB demands a distance of 17.89 meters diagonally, while the net is positioned at 2.43 meters high for clashes between men's doubles and 2.24 meters for women; the distance between the posts that hold the net is 10 meters wide.

“There must be a constant relationship and communication between the court manager and the main and second referees, since there are times when they tell us that something is wrong, or we must modify the height of the post and the net depending on whether the game is a men's or women's game. They demand that the lines are perfect, and we must be alert to solve any setback during a match,” he said.

“The greatest satisfaction is that the athletes recognize your work, since occasionally, we don't have a tee time; people and staff leave, and we continue working. The international players do not deny us anything and I have a collection of gifts; one of the most precious is the champion's shirt that Ondrej Perusic gave me after winning the Tlaxcala 2023 World Cup,” he concluded.