3 Tried & True Tips For Finding Pickup Volleyball Games: My Experience in Hawaii

by Brian Carroll on April 10, 2012

Post image for 3 Tried & True Tips For Finding Pickup Volleyball Games:  My Experience in Hawaii Having spent the better part of 6 years in Los Angeles, hitting the beach to play volleyball has been a given for me on most weekends. So when I decided to leave the volleyball-friendly confines of Hermosa Beach to explore other parts of this world, I knew curtailing this activity, which had become woven into my lifestyle for the better part of my 20s, could likely lead to some serious competitive withdrawals. Luckily, I decided to kickoff my travels in Hawaii, where I assumed the abundance of coastline would provide some beach volleyball havens in the area.  But where exactly??  And with who??  Here's how I went about answering those questions: Tip 1:  Broadcast your travel plans to your friends When I talked to other volleyball friends about my upcoming travel plans, those who had acquaintances in my destinations were very willing to put me in contact with like-minded people who might have further insight. While in my case, this didn't actually come to fruition, it is something I would revisit as it obviously has merit to find games and more importantly, make new friends in the process. Tip 2:  Identify & join the right online social communities I used two primary channels, Couchsurfing.org and Meetup.com, both communities that provide activity opportunities for those traveling solo to new destination. Having spent only limited time using these social communities to date, I did not set my expectations very high. On Couch Surfing, I posted messages asking where the best places to play volleyball in the area were. Within a day, I had a few responses from members pointing me in the direction(s) of where courts could be found as well as an invitation to join a regular group on Sunday for a potluck and volleyball throughout the day. While the opportunity and invitation were great, unfortunately for myself, the event was across the island and with no means of good transportation to get there, I didn't attend. Overall though, the willingness of the couch surfing community to help was great and it is definitely a service I plan to tap into for my future travels (and give back as well). Searching Meetup.com for events related to volleyball, I was able to track down a group that got together every other Sunday for games - including the Sunday that I would be in town. While I had this activity marked on my calendar as something I planned on attending, the weather that day predicted a 70% chance of rain for much of the day and as such, I ended up passing....despite the fact that the event ended up happening (I blame it on my thin-skin from living in Southern CA). Additionally, I obviously wouldn't discount the value of tools such as Facebook (finding friend's friends in areas where you're traveling), Twitter (searching up-to-date conversations & posing questions to the broader community), forums (posting and/or searching related threads) and even flickr (searching pics for "beach volleyball) as ways to identify where sand volleyball courts and games might exist. Tip 3:  When all else fails, just ask! In various part of the Los Angeles coast, rows of volleyball nets are setup and maintained across coastal communities.  In Hawaii, beach volleyball enthusiasts are not as fortunate - for the most part, "finding a court to play at" requires one to actually bring all the tools necessary (net, posts, lines, balls, etc...) and then finding space to setup.  And with this additional planning and work that's required, requests from strangers/tourists to join an existing volleyball group might be met with a little more trepidation. So back to my personal story... In Oahu, at the north end of Waikiki beach, I had come across a sand area with one net setup and an area that looked conducive to 3 more courts which gave me some hope. On a Saturday afternoon, I headed down to this area and saw a net being setup with what looked to be a more competitive group based on the equipment they had with them.  So when one of the players was unwinding the lines, I offered assistance...and asked about the possibility to break into a game or two as well.  While I could sense a bit of hesitance on this person's end initially, with a little persistence and proof that I had some semblance of how to play, I forced myself into a few games. It so happened that I ended up playing with a very good group of players including: a former 1st team college All-American girl (who had played on the AVP), a coach for the University of Hawaii men's team and other players who were pretty good as well. And they actually knew some of the same people from back home in LA, which made integrating with the group much more seamless. In the end I got to play a couple games (won a few...) and met some cool people in the process - a win/win. All in all, while I only ended up getting a few games in overall while I was in Hawaii, I found all these channels to be valuable and plan to use them again when I seek out new venues to play volleyball. Have any other ideas or good ways to find pickup games? Feel free to share and I'll most likely be the guinea pig on my travels!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dustin April 10, 2012 at 3:09 am

This is cool dude! Glad you are having fun. Let’s just hope you left your illegal hand sets here in Hermosa. ZING!!! Keep posting stuff bud.

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Brian April 10, 2012 at 7:34 am

Haha, thanks partner! Just think how good my hands will be with all this time away from the game

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davey April 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

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