A Practical Guide to Keep Sand Volleyball Court Clean!

clean volleyball court

Many amateurs prefer playing volleyball in the sand rather than the court, because sand offers a much better playing experience! However, this won’t be possible, unless sand has a proper maintenance …

From raking to leveling, in this article, I address the most important steps you should follow to clean and properly maintain a sand volleyball court. Thus, you will ensure a safe and enjoyable surface of playing.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular maintenance of a sand volleyball court is extremely important of player’s safety & playing experience.
  • For larger sandy areas, it is possible to use machines like sandboni that can collect things like rubbish, stones & other extraneous material.
  • For smaller areas it is possible to rely on a rake or a small shovel with a bag to collect debris.

How do you remove debris from sand?

raking sand

Sand should be regularly raked to ensure that any small stone, rocks and other debris are removed. Any trash collected should be collected in a bag for later safe disposal, because just dumping it elsewhere on the beach means runs the risk of it being blown back again by the wind.

Raking should be systematic from one side to the other, and also in the surrounding areas around the court, where players are like to encroach in the course of a game.

Another idea, although it can be laborious, is to use a large sieve. This can be used to sift out small rocks and other debris from sand, although this is useful only for small samples. It would take too long to clean an entire volleyball court in this way.

Important Tip: In case you want to play in a sand volleyball court and you are not sure whether it is clear or not. Then, I strongly recommend using sand socks. Not only they will protect your feet, but also give you a sense of confidence that should help your overall performance. You can have a look at these quality sand socks to get an idea.

Alternatively, sand can be collected in a bucket which is filled with fresh water first. Gradually pour the sand into the bucket, stirring it all the time, and then allow settling for a few minutes…

Then pour the water out, and it should have lifted some of the smaller particles and organic matter out of it. Remember also to clean the bucket out, because, inevitably, some sand will stick to the sides of it.

And those who want to use sand for purposes like arts and crafts projects may want to consider baking it.

This can be done in a normal oven at temperatures of up to 150 degrees Centigrade (300 degrees Fahrenheit), with the sand – having had excess water drained away first – placed on a baking tray and covered by a baking sheet.

Needless to say, people should never use the same baking tray as they would employ in normal food preparation.

Nor should this be undertaken whilst fresh food is in the vicinity.

After 45 minutes, the sand should be suitably sanitized and good to go.

One last point, if you don’t have time to clean sand and if you are nervous about your feet protection, then you can have a look at these helpful tips to protect your feet for beach volleyball

Best Sand cleaning equipment…

beach cleaner

A beach cleaner – commonly known as a sandboni – is a vehicle that cleans beaches and large sandy areas by dragging a rake or sifting device over the sand. This enables it to collect rubbish and other extraneous material. They have a scoop in front which picks the sand up, and then the rake will sift anything large enough to be considered debris or unwanted.

This includes litter, stones, rocks, and it can also help remove oil slicks if they are not too dense.

Typically pulled by a tractor or quad-bike, they are manually self-pulled vehicles on tracks or wheels.

Another popular option are walk behind beach cleaner machines, which are self-propelled and assist the operator with forward motion. They can clean much larger areas than manual equivalents, and help reduce fatigue associated with cleaning sand.

They have many similarities with garden cultivators which they also resemble. In many ways they are like a hoe with a motor, made to stir up the sand , and to break up any sections that have become encrusted.

They are compact and lightweight, but still powerful, with a smaller working area for greater precision.  Most are powered by internal combustion engines, although some of the latest models have begun to feature electric engines (which need to be recharged).

Depending on the model, they come with either tracks of tires.

The half-tracked Barracuda has become one of the most popular sand cleaning machines. This machine is propelled by tracks and features a reverse design, meaning that the tracks are mounted on the machine’s front side.

How to clean sand volleyball court manually?

The simplest way to clean a sand volleyball court is to use a rake, with a small shovel to fill in any holes or divots …

A bucket or bag will also be required to collect any debris, so that this can be disposed of in an appropriate manner afterwards (this does not mean simply dumping it elsewhere on the beach).

To clean the court, rake first methodically side to side, including several feet either side of the playing area, and collecting up any debris. Then use the shovel to fill in any holes, and consider using the flat of it to ensure the surface is even. And then rake once more for good measure.

A variation on this is to use manual sand cleaning tools which typically feature two large beach wheels and a metal basket. They are designed to be pulled by hand, so do not feature any machinery, and usually consist of a trolley on wheels.

  • The advantages of such tools are they are much cheaper than machine operated ones, they are eco-friendly, lightweight, do not make any noise, and are easy to use and move around. They also require little or no maintenance.
  • The obvious drawback is that they involve much harder work than using a machine, and it takes a lot longer to clean an area of sand. This also means that they have a very limited capacity, and whilst they may be an ideal choice for a volleyball court, anybody wanting to clean a larger beach area is recommended to choose another option.

Is a sand scoop a good cleaning tool?

A sand scoop is a tool commonly used by metal detectorists to find hidden objects on a beach. They come in one of three sizes – long, medium and short handle – although long handle scoops are primarily designed for retrieving objects from water, such as in rock pools.

Medium and short handle scoops can both be used on sand, although the shorter the handle the more banding over is required.  Smaller handle scoops also tend to be lighter, which is not the best option if the sand is wet or heavy.

However, whilst a scoop is a good way of picking up sand and examining it for hidden objects, it is not intended as a cleaning tool.

Instead, it allows the user to penetrate deeper into the surface of the sand, without necessarily covering a wide area. That means that, whilst it may help uncover stones or rocks hidden underneath the sand, it will require numerous scoops to ensure adequate coverage of an entire volleyball court.

And, even once this is done, using a scoop is liable to leave the surface of the court lumpy and uneven and may need to be raked over again. Any holes left by the scoop may need to be filled in with a shovel.

In other words, using a scoop may be more trouble than it is worth.

How often should sand volleyball court be cleaned?

Although sand volleyball courts do not require the same level of maintenance as grass or indoor wooden floor courts, they should still be inspected daily to remove any debris they might have collected, like paper, bottle tops and cigarette ends.

The other problem is that sand courts are usually located on the beach or in open spaces where both domestic and wild animals roam. Because they know no better, they will not hesitate to use the court as their toilet, so it is always best to inspect the court before playing to ensure there are no nasty surprises!

Regular maintenance can help protect longer-term damage to the court.

It is also a good idea to rake the sand regularly to ensure that there are no sharp stones just below the surface which could cut the feet of players.  It also helps ensure that the sand stays dry and soft.

Using a tarpaulin over the court can help keep it in good shape and cut down the period between more intense maintenance sessions. The downside to this approach, apart from making sure that the cover is appropriately secured, is that the sand underneath can become damp or wet due to the condensation that arises.

When sand should be completely replaced?

Sand should not be too coarse, and it should be free of gravel or other dangerous particles. Very coarse sand is very prone to water and air permeability, and this can affect the footing underneath for players and make the surface uneven. It also should not contain clay or silt, because this can create a dusting effect.

The FIVB has set standards for the qualities of sand to be used in their competitions, so, if these are not met, then no officially sanctioned games or tournaments can be played on it. It needs to be very soft, will not compact, and produce a minimal of dust.

Stipulations about sand particle size apply to ensure that there is good drainage, and it must be able to cope with a wide variety of weather conditions.

The particles themselves cannot be acquired from a crushed rock source, must be naturally weathered and they should be sub-angularly, or rounded in shape.

Even if all these conditions are met, it is recommended that sand should be changed periodically, because it is exposed to the elements like sun, wind and salt, and will, inevitably deteriorate in quality over time.

By the way, if you are interested in building sand court from scratch, then I strongly invite you to check this Guide to Build a Sand Volleyball Court! I’ve put things in very simple terms …

Final Thoughts …

To sum up, proper maintenance of beach volleyball court should not be taken for granted and this could directly impact not only the overall experience, but also the safety of the players.

Regular maintenance (such as raking, leveling and trash removal …) is more than enough in that regard …

If you manage to apply these guidelines, then the sand could be well preserved for the so many years to come!

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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