By Jason Zawodniak
As the summer heat hits the Pittsburgh area, locals are flooding the nearby parks to stay active and enjoy the weather. With Pittsburgh’s bike trails and beautiful parks, we have a wide variety of ways to stay active while having fun in the sun. While walking, jogging, and biking are the more popular methods to stay active this summer there are also many others that you may have not taken into consideration. Volleyball played on the sand, grass or court is a great way to embrace the summer sun while enjoying the day with your friends and family.
Blueberry Hill Park
1604 Blaine’s Way
Sewickley, PA 15143
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This park stretches over 80 acres in the heart of Franklin Park just minutes off Interstate 79. It is a great place to meet up with family and friends to participate in both active and passive leisure opportunities. This park offers two beautiful sand volleyball courts with the skill level ranging from beginner to advanced.
Simmons Park offers one of the best sand volleyball courts in the area with its beautiful white sand and professional net. Located in Bethel Park, this hidden gem is a must see for anyone looking to enjoy the sun and sand this summer. In addition, Simmons has lights over the volleyball courts, which is rare.
Mt Lebanon Park
710 Washington Road,
While Mt Lebanon has several parks, the main park located next to the high school offers endless ways to stay active this summer. These courts are perfect for beginners who are simply looking to hit the ball around.
JD’s Restaurant and Pub
3410 Saxonburgh Blvd.
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JD’s offers two incredible white sand courts north of the city. While JD’s is a popular restaurant and bar they also offer competitive play for those looking for more. They have their own volleyball league with more than 30 teams! The league is separated into three divisions in varying skill levels. Even for those who are athletically challenged, watching these game can be blast. Grab a drink and head over to the pub’s cabana to watch the intense nightly matches at 6:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Billy’s Road House
10150 Old Perry Hwy
Billy’s has a beautiful sand court that offers a summer and fall leagues for those looking to simply have a good time with family and friends. Billy’s also has a great restaurant for those looking to kick back and watch their friends play. It’s a perfect spot to play with friends and then grab a drink afterwards.
Beach Volleyball Tips:
1) Bring shoes if the sand is not white. Mt Lebanon is the only court listed that will require a pair of shoes on a hot summer day.
2) Stay properly hydrated. Prepare for the day in the sun by drinking water before you go and of course brining some with you. Cut out the sports drinks since they often are loaded with sugar.
3) Playing with the kids you may want to skip using the high nets and simply toss the back and fourth making it more enjoyable for them.
4) Bring a ball! Hey, this may sound obvious but most courts will not have a ball available for you. You can go to any local sporting goods store to pick one up. Go with the cheap version if you are looking to just toss the ball around.
5) Dress for success! You definitely want to wear light colors to avoid being over heated and uncomfortable.
6) The nets are often taken down come fall so please call to ensure the nets are up and ready for game play.
7) Don’t forget to warm up! Whether you’re looking play with the kids or take part in a serious game of 2 on 2 you want to warm up first. Simply spend the first 5 minutes performing a light jog in the sand – you can run back and forth and then sideways to adapt to the uneven surface.
Jason Zawodniak is a Pittsburgh Personal Trainer and Boot Camp owner. For more information on his program visit www.JustForHerBootCamps.com