2017-10-05 12:11:00 CET

New rule on the block!

Testing, testing! 1,2,3…4!

After a block touch, teams will be able to have three further bites at the cherry to return the ballAfter a block touch, teams will be able to have three further bites at the cherry to return the ball

The talented line-up of beach stars heading for the three-star event in Qinzhou, China next week will need to make sure they’re switched on to a new block touch rule which will be tested up until February.

Under the trailed rule, players will have an extra touch during game play with the block touch not counting. Therefore, if April Ross – arguably one of the most decorated of our sport’s players in action in Qinzhou – blocks at the net, she and her teammate (more of which, below, by the way) will have three further touches to return the ball and not two under the existing rule.

“The test aims to identify the effects of modifying the block touch rule in beach volleyball,” read a statement from the sport’s governing body, the FIVB.

The statement continued: “Analysis will focus on the new rule’s effect on rally length. Its impact on making the sport even more spectacular will also be examined as part of the FIVB’s ongoing efforts to ensure the continued growth of the sport worldwide. 

“The test phase will continue until February 25, 2018. The data retrieved will be compared with information collected at the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands. In addition to the data collected, a survey involving athletes, coaches, officials, referees, event organisers and the media will gather further information. The results will be analysed by the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission and presented to the FIVB Board of Administration.”

Will the extra touch after the block help master blocks such as Canada's Sarah Pavan?Will the extra touch after the block help master blocks such as Canada's Sarah Pavan?

A host of teams who impressed during the Swatch Major Series and at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 over the summer are in action in the Far East between October 10-15.

World Championship silver medalists Ross and Lauren Fendrick are among the teams set to feature in the main draw, although the Americans will both be playing with different partners. Ross will play with rising star Kelly Claes, while Fendrick will join Nicole Branagh on the same side of the net.

Also in the women’s main draw are Brazilian teams Taiana Lima and Elize Maia and Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado, plus two of our teams to watch in 2018, Lithuanians Ievan Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte and Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii of Japan.

In the men’s draw, two new Brazilian teams make their international debuts. As we reported at the end of the summer, Poreč Major champions Guto Carvalhaes and Pedro Solberg have gone their separate ways. In China, the pair will play with their new partners, Guto with Vitor Felipe and Pedro with George Wanderley. Other teams to look out for in Qinzhou include Belgians Koekelkoren/van Walle, Jefferson/Cherif of Qatar and Cuba’s Nivaldo/Gonzalez.

Don’t forget to check swatchmajorseries.com next week for all the news and results from the tournament and, while you’re at it, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

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