Coaching Beach Volleyball
With only a month to go until the SA Beach Volleyball Series starts, here are some tips for transitioning from indoor volleyball to beach volleyball.
Actually, it is really only one tip: Keep it Small.
When playing indoor, if someone plays the ball high in the wrong direction, there a chance a team mate can chase it down. This is not the case on the sand. On the sand players need to keep the play small. That is, keep the ball low, between you and your partner.
How do you keep it small?
Firstly, the good news is that all you need to do is what you need to do indoors too. Until players get to about 20 ball skills, be it beach or indoor volleyball, are fundamentally the same. With passing, the player’s arms (platform) need to be soft, stationary and aimed at the target. That is, don’t use legs, shoulders or elbows to put any extra energy on the ball, and play the ball off the forearms, not the wrists. A good teaching cue for players is keep the maximum height of the ball at about top of antenna height (a bit higher is fine, but it is a good cue).
Secondly, the player needs to be aware of where their partner is at all times, because the ball needs to be played between themselves and their partner. Or, more specifically, between the player and where their partner will be moving to (remember, there is no static target at the net to aim at). On serve receive (but also in most other situations) the emphasis should be on playing the ball so it drops down roughly halfway between the passer and the net, and a little towards the middle. It helps if you imagine a bungee cord around the waists of the two players. During the rally, the objective is to progress the ball to the net to hit, without increasing the tension on the cord.
The animation below depicts two players (triangles) receiving serve (passing), setting then hitting.