travel

Online editor Helen Russell hones her ball skills on a weekend in the West Country

Being blessed with neither the stature nor the hand-eye coordination of a natural sportswoman, I'm nervous about learning beach volleyball. Will I be any good? Will it hurt? And how do I get the Baywatch theme tune out of my head when I'm playing?

Description: Beach Volleyball In Devon

Beach Volleyball In Devon

This Olympics sport started in Santa Monica, but I'm learning it in the California of the West Country - Croyde Bay in north Devon. Joined by three girlfriends, I've arranged a weekend at Ocean Point, a collection of relaxed apartments overlooking Saunton Sands.

Description: Croyde Bay, North Devon

Croyde Bay, North Devon

Our instructor is former GB player Denise Austin who coaches everyone from beginners to budding internationals. She starts us off with the basics: digging (passing the ball), setting (serving it) and spiking (smashing it into your opponents' court). To move more easily in the sand, we're advised to go barefoot and scuttle from side to side. `Like a crab?' I ask. `Exactly,' says Denise.

Getting the ball over the net is the next challenge. Denise tells us to hold our arms straight ahead and nudge the ball upwards with a shrug. When she does this, it looks easy and makes no sound. When I do it, there's a loud `thwack' and I'm in agony. After a few more shrugs, however, I get it. Volleyball eureka!

We're soon throwing ourselves into the air like old pros. My team loses the match at the end, but it doesn't matter. There's a real sense of achievement at having used muscles that have lain untroubled for years.

Beside the seaside: Ocean Point on the north Devon coast

After a shower we're revived but famished. Croyde offers upmarket pub grub (ostrich burgers or venison steak, anyone?) and we down a few glasses of Pinot Grigio before bed. The next day is spent reminiscing about our sporting glory while eating ice cream on the beach. Would we play it again? You bet.

Top tip Get your technique right to avoid injury (but pack arnica cream just in case).

Learn more At volleyballengland.org, scottishvolleyball.org, volleyballwales.org.

Book now Denise Austin (beachvolleyballinc.com) offers coaching to groups and individuals year-round, from $53 an hour. Farm & Cottage Holidays (holidaycottages.co.uk) has properties near Croyde. A week at Ocean Point in June, sleeping four, costs from $1,333.

Top search
Women
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
travel
- Essential Africa … Swaziland (Part 1)
- Essential Africa … Swaziland (Part 2)
- Essential Africa … Swaziland (Part 3)
- Madrid - Around Town : Royal Madrid (part 2) - Shops, Places to Eat and Drink
- Madrid - Around Town : Royal Madrid (part 1)
- Beijing - Around Town : Trips Out of Town
- Holistic Austrian Retreat
- My Sweet Escape
- Landmarks of The World (Part 2) - Stonehenge, Ayers rock, Wall of China,The Eiffel Tower
- Landmarks of The World (Part 1) - Great Pyramid of Giza, Statue of Liberty, The Taj Mahal
- Chicago - Around Town - South Loop (part 2) - Bars & Clubs, Places to Eat
- Chicago - Around Town - South Loop (part 1)
- Munich - Around Town : Along the Isar River (part 3) - Cafés & Bars in Haidhausen, Restaurants in Haidhausen
- Munich - Around Town : Along the Isar River (part 2) - Best of the Rest, Shops & Markets
- Munich - Around Town : Along the Isar River (part 1)
- Seattle - Around Town - Ballard (part 2) - Shops, Places to Eat
- Seattle - Around Town - Ballard (part 1)
- Barcelona - Around Town - Montjuïc (part 2) - Parks & Gardens, Restaurants, Cafés, Bars & Clubs
- Barcelona - Around Town - Montjuïc (part 1)
- Toronto - Around Town - East (part 3) - Bars & Pubs, Restaurants
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain