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Volleyball with a twist

From now until Feb. 13, students can participate in an alternate version of volleyball in the BYU-Idaho Center courts.

The game follows the same basic rules as normal volleyball, the biggest difference being a large, pink nylon ball instead of the standard one made of leather.

The court remains the same size and the net stands at the same height. Teams consist of four players instead of six.

“Serving is a little bit different,” said Preston Hummer, a senior studying healthcare administration and one of the game managers. “They have two people on their team hold the ball behind the 10-foot line and then the server runs and hits the ball over the net.”

The participating teams play one night each week engaging in three games each night. Following a team’s six scheduled games, those with the best record will match up against each other in a final tournament.

Students can register on BYU-I’s website. Spectators may watch the games as long as they follow proper COVID-19 safety guidelines. Masks are required for both players and spectators.

Using a heavier ball requires players to alter strategies they might have employed in regular volleyball games. Most players use both hands to hit the ball, whether that’s setting it with the palms of their hands, or punching it with their fists.

“I was coming here expecting a real volleyball, but this is kind of more exhausting than the real volleyball game,” said Samuel Rumsey, a junior studying biology. “You have to push more weight, so it’s kind of like a push-up in the air.”

The nylon ball floats in the air longer after each hit because it is affected less by gravity than a regular volleyball. Rumsey said it is like the game of trying to keep a balloon in the air he played when he was a kid.

“Instead of just standing there and waiting for a quick spike, you’re waiting for a big ball,” Rumsey said. “You have more time to play, adjust your shot, but you can’t have any kill shots. It’s going to be a long-lasting game.”

This variation of such a popular sport may require more physical effort, but students can still have a great time while playing.

“This is really fun,” Rumsey said. “I mean, I was breathing pretty heavy. Maybe I’m just out of shape. I feel like I breathe heavier during this than regular volleyball.”

Though volleyball with a big pink ball may appear less intense than the original sport, the competition remains fierce and offers a unique experience to all who play it.

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