Volleyball Attire: How to Dress for Volleyball Practice
Getting ready for a volleyball match is simple:
Put on your team’s uniform and hit the court.
Practice, however, provides a plethora of choices for players to decide on ahead of each workout.
This can be a cumbersome process for some players who are new to the sport or just have a hard time deciding what to wear.
Thankfully, there are plenty of common ideas on what volleyball attire to wear to practice and how to be prepared.
Aside from uniforms, volleyball is a rather “wear what works” sport.
To help you narrow down what might be best for comfort, performance, and focus, here is a list of tips about how to dress for volleyball practice.
Shirts and Tops
We are going to work off the assumption that players are not limited by uniforms or dress codes of any kind.
Players should always follow the guidelines set forth by their coach or team regulations.
Some schools, programs, and clubs do not allow all types of volleyball attire to be worn during practice or matches.
Always adhere to the local regulations when planning practice attire.
A regular t-shirt is standard volleyball practice attire for both men and women. Some teams even wear t-shirts for less formal league matches.
The important thing to consider when donning a t-shirt for practice is the fit.
A tight shirt can result in limited mobility of the upper extremities. This is obviously problematic for the sport of volleyball. If your shirt is too tight, you will be unable to swing freely or get your arms up to block. You could even rip or tear your shirt!
A loose shirt can cause problems for volleyball players, as well. Arms can get entangled in baggy sleeves and the shirt itself could cause a net violation if it makes impactful contact with the net.
Ideally, a t-shirt will be form-fitted without being extra tight.
Try on any t-shirts you intend to practice in first. Put your arms into volleyball positions like reaching overhead and forming a passing platform.
Extend your arms out from your sides and move them in a circular motion. You should have the freedom to perform this movement without feeling any restriction.
Tank tops have become a popular choice for volleyball practice for the obvious reason that they allow full arm swing and an effortless range of motion.
This makes tank tops ideal for practices where hitting might be featured.
Outdoor recreational players and beach volleyball players like tank tops because they are less likely to feel heavy after the sweat from the beaming sun builds up.
Always remember to use sunblock to prevent a regrettable burn and awkward “tan lines.”
The best equipment and volleyball attire is always that which is designed for a particular sport.
Volleyball players can enjoy an array of sleeve lengths on shirts designed for participation.
Dry-fit materials like microfibers and polyester are blended to make garments more likely to draw sweat and moisture away from your skin.
The other benefits to these fabrics are that they are lightweight, to begin with, and do not become heavy with sweat as practice goes on.
A lack of weight promotes a better range of motion and confidence in your athleticism.
Another benefit – the lack of chafing that results from rough, heavy fabrics.
The best practices regarding this athletic wear are similar to choosing a t-shirt: it should fit well but not be so snug as to limit your ability to perform volleyball motions like reaching your arms overhead or out in front of you.
Shorts and Bottoms
Bottoms are an important choice for volleyball players because the sport involves significant lower body movement.
The need to quickly move forward, backward, sideways, up and down calls for bottoms that are flexible enough to accommodate these moves.
Let’s run down some choices:
This piece of sports apparel is the most commonly seen on volleyball courts around the globe. Different styles, lengths, and materials make the choices within this category limitless.
Spandex is a popular material for volleyball shorts for women.
The fitted, breathable fabric makes the shorts flexible enough while also avoiding billowing that could get in the way during volleyball practice.
Soccer style shorts are also popular for practice.
Many players will opt to wear a longer spandex pair of shorts underneath to provide protection from the soccer shorts sliding up too high.
Male players tend to wear a gym short style, with many also electing to wear a pair of spandex sliding shorts underneath for extra support during practice and matches.
Many men’s short styles have pockets but avoid the temptation to fill them – things will inevitably fall out and cause problems.
The advent of yoga pants and similar tights has added an entire genre of athletic attire.
This fashion trend has reached the volleyball courts as many players are opting for a fitted, longer option than traditional volleyball shorts.
The fitted nature of this style allows for a full range of motion and also the wearing of knee pads.
For players, male and female, looking for a little extra leg coverage, fitted Capri pants are a great option with little downside.
Long pants are popular for volleyball teams warming up before practice or a match.
However, pants are one of the worst options for volleyball players unless playing outdoors in the cold for some reason.
Pants are cumbersome and are often baggy in areas like around the waist or crotch. This can lead to a lack of mobility detrimental to good volleyball performance.
Pants also make wearing knee pads challenging, often bunching under the kneepad and causing discomfort.
The physical nature of volleyball with its diving and sliding can also lead to frequently ripping holes in the knees.
If you are playing in a cold facility, outdoors, or simply prefer pants, they can be acceptable for recreational play. Just keep in mind that diving should be eliminated unless you do not mind ripping the knees.
If you do opt for full-length pants, choose some that allow motions like bending or crouching while not being so baggy as to trip you or limit you in some other way.
Volleyball players’ feet typically endure quite a bit of pressure throughout practice or a match.
Aside from seated volleyball or other special variations, it is vital to choose the appropriate footwear for practice and games.
Many programs will adopt a “team shoe” in an effort to ensure each player has safe, appropriate footwear and matches for aesthetics.
However, lower levels of play and recreational leagues rarely have this requirement.
There are several options for volleyball players to choose from when it comes to shoes.
Obviously, beach volleyball players tend to opt for the shoeless look to avoid being weighed down by shoes full of sand.
The Cross Trainer versus Specialty Shoe Debate
For players that play on indoor volleyball courts, there are two choices to select from:
- Volleyball Shoes
Volleyball shoes are designed specifically for the sport and have several features that make them ideal for players.
Most volleyball shoes have improved sidewall and ankle support, making them better at protecting players making sudden, lateral movements.
These supports also help players feel more athletic and balanced during play.
Volleyball shoes also feature special soles that are designed to grip the often slick volleyball courts.
This grip is invaluable to higher level players who move quickly, jump, and land with force.
For those new to the game, in younger age groups, or involved in recreational volleyball, cross-trainers will suffice.
These sneakers typically still provide some lateral support, grip, and foot security.
Hit the Beach!
Beach volleyball features some different rules, regulations, and of course, different attire!
Players hitting the beach for the first time or newly playing competitively can also use some help with what to wear.
Obviously, you can wear any of the apparel listed as beneficial above, but there are some items that you might prefer that are exclusive to playing on the sand.
Most players will play beach volleyball in swimwear.
This allows the player the flexibility and mobility required for the sport while standing up to the harsh sand.
It is important to choose swimwear that is secure, however, given the frequent jumping, diving, and physicality of beach volleyball.
Specially designed swimsuits are ideal for competitive beach volleyball.
These suits are breathable, durable, and secure enough to make players confident during practice and competition.
Things to Avoid
Sometimes, knowing what volleyball attire you should NOT wear is just as important as having an idea of what to put on for practice.
Here are some things to consider evaluating before heading onto the court.
Any jewellery should be removed prior to a volleyball match.
The physical nature of the sport combined with excessive use of the hands makes virtually all jewellery inappropriate.
Anything that can snag, scrape, or cut should be removed and we strongly advise a no jewelry policy during practice and matches.
Mind Your Hair
Men and women alike enjoy long hairstyles.
While we certainly do not recommend cutting off your hair simply for the sport, it is imperative to be mindful of it during practice or games.
Any long hairstyles should be properly secured during play by pulling it back or wearing a headband.
Volleyball is an easy sport to learn and is just as easy to properly dress for.
Be mindful of the physical expectations of the game as you get dressed for practice.
If you have doubts about the appropriateness of any of your volleyball attire, ask a teammate or coach for advice.