Saturday, July 21, 2012

Youth Volleyball: Why are the girl's volleyball shorts so short? (Part 2)

On January 9th, 2011, in a post, I asked this question "Why are the girl's volleyball shorts so short?". That post is the second most visited post on my site almost every single day and now has over 33,000 pageviews. It is also the most commented on post on my site.

I asked the question after I saw daughter play her first parochial school 4th grade volleyball game. I wondered why the Catholic school would have such strict and modest uniform mandates for school, but allow shorts that Ke$ha might wear to the MTV awards show.

In that post, I determined that the short shorts are for fashion purposes only and have no competitive advantage. This point of view was argued by many volleyball players on my site, but I am still not buying it. If that were true, women basketball players and men volleyball players would wear them to.

Well here is more evidence. This year the NCAA debuted sand volleyball as a sport. Pepperdine was the inaugural champion after they beat Long Beach State in the 2012 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship.

Pepperdine played in loose fitting gym shorts against Long Beach State who donned bikini style shorts. Watch Pepperdine dominate Long Beach State in this video.

The Main Point

I am not arguing for or against short shorts for college volleyball. Volleyball is a great game with or without the short shorts.  I am simply saying that Spandex short shorts do not provide a competitive advantage for volleyball inside a gym or out on a beach.


  1. My daughter plays college volleyball and has played since she was in 5th 5th grade. She plays defense on the back row, sometimes libero. She feels she cannot play her best unless she's wearing spandex. As a defensive player, she dives alot on the floor and is all over the place and feels she moves better. She could never play with long shorts. For her, it had nothing to do with fashion, because she also played basketball and had no problem with wearing long shorts for that. But she was not diving on the floor to dig out balls either (well, I take that back...she still dove on the floor after balls! ). Last year she played against a couple of colleges that had their vb players wear longer shorts, so I know some women can do it. But for the majority, I think it is a matter of what they feel comfortable in and can move easily in. It's just one of those things that parents may not feel real comfortable with, but learn to live with. When I see the way some girls dress, I am grateful that all I have to dislike is spandex (they really don't bother me though, I've just gotten used to it).

  2. It's a fair concern. My expectations for my 13 and 16 yo daughters' clothes are high by most people's standards...but I see this differently.
    My otherwise-fairly-conservatively-dressed 16 yo old plays club and high school volleyball. She started the sport when she was 10. For her, the Spandex--maybe ironically--is about MODESTY as much as it is about movement. Yes, the shorts are both short and skin tight, but when she hits the floor she KNOWS that no one will see any part of her body the spandex covers, even if she sprawls or rolls.
    Proof that she is sincere about this? When she wears looser shorts to work out at the health club or wears any kind of shorter-than-knee length skirt, she always wears a pair of vb shorts underneath. So does her sister (who played 3 years of club vb herself).
    Anyway, that's how 1 volleyball family sees it. Thanks for raising the topic.

    1. MODESTY is a great reason for wearing compression shorts under looser shorts. That is what girl soccer and basketball players do. So the question remains - why not the same for volleyball?

      Thanks for adding to the conversation - I have been surprised with the amount of traffic / comments this discussion has generated by my two posts on this topic.

  3. I am sorry, but if the girls feel better wearing spandex, then they will play better wearing spandex. it should be their choice. Period. What others chose to do is no proof of anything, and the reason Long Beach lost has zero to do with their outfits. A better player is still a better player. what would be healthy is for everyone to stop obsessing over the shorts. Modesty is fine to a point. But if you push it this far the message you send is that the female body is somehow lude. I certainly don't want my daughter feeling she has to hide herself. I'll leave that to the Islamic faith.

    1. To me it is lewd if my daughter is wearing spandex shorts or leggings that are so tight you can see everything to the point that imagination isn't necessary...and more to the point that tons of males (AND female) between the ages of 13 and 60 ARE looking at her with interest other than the game she is playing or pretending her shoes are interesting while she walks the mall.

      On the court I get they may not have a choice what they wear (look at who attends some of these games) but out in public is another matter. Granted some of the girls wear them because they're comfortable and *may* be clueless as to the attention they are getting, but the majority are wearing them *because* they want that attention. (Well they want some of it and wish the rest would go away)
      When I was in college years ago I had this discussion with a LOT of my girl-friends, about wearing them in public, and not one said anything about being fashionable. About 20% said they wore them as slouch clothes because they had trouble finding clothes that fit, and the rest wanted guys (or girls for some of them) to stare, approach them, etc.
      ...thats fine I suppose for older girls but I don't want some college or older guys ogling my teen and trying to pick her up (or worse) when its something I could have educated her about and avoided.
      ...and don't be fooled, lots of guys you think are just great ARE looking at them... Some staring, some for three seconds... Most thinking things they shouldn't and hopefully not doing something stupid.
      ...setting all that aside, I no more want to see people hanging their stuff out for the world to see, ugly or attractive, than they want to see me doing the same. :)

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  5. I was a part of the women’s volleyball team. And I’ve got no choice but to follow the rules in wearing short shorts. And I’ve got to say that I was so conscious with my unwanted hair in my legs that’s why I’ve undergone laser hair removal nyc .

  6. My daughter played volleyball for a Catholic high school and they had some of the shortest shorts of any of the teams they played! I get that the tight hugging spandex helps to keep things covered as they move, dive, jump, etc. However, shorts with a 4" inseam would keep even MORE covered than ones with 2" seam. Duh! Their butts are hanging out and after every move/play they're tugging on their shorts. It's not rocket's common sense. I was disappointed that the vball staff and school administration would allow this.

  7. Volleyball players sure needs some time to take care of their skin properly. Especially because their skin is more exposed to the sun compared to other people.

  8. boys in swim teams who do diving wear bikini bottom swim suits which show the profile of the crotch leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination - those are terribly immodest and should be changed




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