Paralympic volleyball follows the same rules as standing volleyball, with a few modifications for the “grounded” athletes. The game is played with a six-person team, but the net is lower, about 3.5 feet high. The court is smaller -- 6 x 10 meters, as compared to 9 x 18 meters for able-bodied courts -- to accommodate players who scoot cross-court to serve and volley, “spike” or slam the ball down for points, and block the offensive team’s shots.
The result is a game that is as physical - and much faster - than the standing sport.
While the ball is in play, an athlete may only hit it if one “cheek” is touching the floor. A “cheek” must also be on the floor if players are blocking the serve. A point is awarded when the ball hits the floor on the opposing side. The first team to get to 25 points with a 2-point advantage wins the set; the first team to win three sets takes the match.
Both male and female athletes play sitting volleyball, and the sport is open to athletes with physical disabilities such as amputation, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy, and stroke. There are no athlete classifications by disability.
The U.S. women’s sitting volleyball team qualified for the 2012 Games by finishing second at the 2010 world championships.
At the 2011 Parapan American Games, the U.S. men’s team fell to Brazil in the final, which means it has yet to qualify for London. Their next chance: the Intercontinental Cup in March 2012.
• In the 2008 Paralympic Games, Iran won the men’s tournament, while China’s women beat Team USA to take home the gold.
• USA women’s team won Paralympic silver in 2008 and bronze in 2004.
Paralympics 2012 Competition: Aug. 30 – Sept. 8Back To Sports