YOUTH MATTERS Charlotte Burge...There is much more to volleyball than bikinis

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WHEN I say I play volleyball, there are usually two responses. People think it’s just a more intense game of don’t let the balloon hit the floor.

Or I get asked ‘what do you wear?’ But I can reassure you there is much more to the sport than that.

Let me open your eyes ... Volleyball takes place all over the world and has no set season so is played all year round. My current team, Chichester college, train up to eight hours a week on court, along with going to the gym twice a week and keeping to a strict healthy diet. Volleyball is an endurance sport so it helps for us to be at the peak of our performance.

Of course we only do this so we look good in our bikinis on the beach... not. Our kit is shorts and our team shirt. However when you are on a hot beach all day playing volleyball, you do end up wearing a bikini in the team colours.

Our scoring system is a lot like tennis, we play three sets of 25 points and after each set we change ends.

Once the ball is in play each team can only touch the ball three times and then it has to be hit over.

Just like other sports we all have our roles. There are forwards, back and middle then the setter or hitter.

The setters control and set up the passes from one player to the next, while the hitters can come in and spike, tip or smash the ball. Just like a striker in football the hitter gets all the glory. But without the setter there would be no ball for the hitter to hit and therefore no points.

When you watch a match it may seem as though everyone is doing the same moves, but if you slow the game down and watch it back, you will see that there are many different skills.

When the right moves come together the ball floats and this is what makes this game so beautiful.

If you let it, this sport, much like any others, can fully take over your life. You will without a doubt get bruised elbows and knees, but after all the training and team tantrums it is most definitely worth it.

Even if it’s just to say I did the unexpected and played a sport called volleyball.