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On the soft sand of Sydney’s beaches, Dr Paulo Pinho of Affordable Dentists in Sydney and Melbourne plays footvolley every weekend.
“Footvolley is a fairly new sport in Australia and it’s very technical. The popular places to play in Sydney are Bondi Beach, Tamarama and Manly. The games always draw a little crowd. Once we’ve finished playing, people often come up and ask if they can give it a go. While we’re happy to welcome new players, some stick with it but some never come back. You have to be fit with the minimum skills of a good football player.
“Footvolley originated in my home country of Brazil. It’s similar to beach volleyball except you can’t use your hands and arms. Feet, shoulder, chest and head are all okay but hands are not part of the game. There are two players on each team and you can pass the ball to each other three times before it goes over the net. Games are scored to 18.
“Most of the games are organised through social media and there are occasional competitions. I play almost every weekend and sometimes attend training sessions during the week. There are many skills you must acquire to play the game competitively. It can be difficult to learn and takes a fair amount of dedication. Professional players in Brazil form teams of two but I team up with anyone who wants a game. Once again, it’s all set up through social media.
“Currently, footvolley is an Olympic demonstration sport and is growing in popularity around the world. It’s almost certain to become an Olympic sport in the near future. While it’s extremely physical with lots of stretching and jumping, the fact that it’s played on soft sand means there are fewer injuries.
“Being from Brazil, I love football and I also play beach volleyball. Footvolley is a happy marriage of these two sports. It’s always played on the beach and there’s nothing better than a surf afterwards. It can also be set up in no time—all you need is a net and you’re ready to go.
“I’m possibly the oldest player in Sydney. It can be a struggle at times, but I’m not someone who gives up easily. I love the challenge of the game and will keep playing until I really can’t do it or my teammates don’t want to play with me anymore. In the meantime, I’m happy to teach those younger and newer players a thing or two.”