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After football, volleyball is the second most popular sport in Brazil, especially in Rio where long sandy beaches and ideal weather grant plenty of opportunities to practice. Many residents in Rio grow up playing volleyball and spend their free time and weekends playing on the beaches. In light of this, standards of volleyball in Rio are high, yet it’s all played in good nature and totally worth joining in; here are the best places in Rio to play it!
AtivoRio is a company in Rio that organizes various sport events on the courts in Flamengo Park and on the beach, attracting a solid mix of Brazilians, expats and tourists. Volleyball practice activities are regularly held to encourage people of all levels and ability to bring along plenty of energy and have a go at playing volleyball. The location is perfect, with the volleyball nets rigged up across the beach with Sugarloaf Mountain to one side and the Christ the Redeemer to the other. The classes last one hour and are played in groups of four vs. four or six vs. six.
If you are feeling a little uneasy with your volleyball skills then why not try some classes? The Escola de Vôlei de Praia (The Beach Volleyball School) is run by Sandra and Elaine, two former professional beach volleyball players who now run a school together in Leblon. Their collective years of experience is priceless and the two ladies are friendly, supportive and encouraging. They offer various lesson types for a mix of ages and abilities. For a complete schedule, check out their wesbite.
This is another school of beach volleyball that was one of the first beach volleyball schools to open. It is located close to Posto 10 in Ipanema, in front of the street Rua Garcia d’Ávila. The instrutor’s name is Pelé and he is enthusiastic with a contagious passion for volleyball. He gives classes and practice sessions on Mondays to Fridays from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Caminho Languages is actually a Portuguese language school, yet they offer several free activities during the week, including beach volleyball. The practice session is held on Mondays at 6 p.m. and takes place on the beach volleyball courts between Posto 8 and Posto 9 of Ipanema. It’s a great way to meet a large international crowd and dabble with volleyball in a fun and relaxed environment.
Escola de Volei de Betinho is a school in Leblon near Posto 11, in front of Avenida Afranio de Melo Franco. The school offers classes for children, teenagers and adults from Monday to Friday in both the mornings and evenings, with the weekends reserved for tournaments. All of the instructors are well-qualified and experienced, providing a fun and dynamic environment to practice volleyball and learn some new skills.
If you feel ready to go and don’t want to have classes, then all along the beach from Leme to Leblon has open volleyball courts that are available for public use. The trick is knowing when to go as the courts get filled up quickly. During the weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the courts tend to be empty and is a good time to go to practice without many people around. First thing in the morning, after-work hours and on the weekends are the busiest times. If you already play relatively well, you can ask players to join in their games and enjoy playing in true Brazilian style.