Benefits of Beach Volleyball for the Indoor Volleyball Player
Why should an indoor volleyball player do a beach season?
After spending a week in florida visiting two elite programs in the outdoor side of volleyball, this is what we learned:
If you want to master your own ability in indoor, it goes beyond the ability to just jump high and hit hard. It takes placement decision making and execution, court awareness/vision, platform control, multi-tasking, relevantly communicating and being a good teammate. Beach volleyball demands all of these traits from the individual, not just the majority of the team from the moment you step on the sand. You can spend years training indoor, and sneak through the cracks of undevelopment benefitting from your teammates hard work, and not truly get it the way they do. That won’t happen out here, because it can’t. That’s if you bring your biggest weapon, your effort.
University of Tampa’s Head Coach Jeff Lamm stated, “Effort and Fitness. If you want to succeed in Beach it comes down to how willing you are to give effort and the fitness is a byproduct of that”. If you find you’re the type of athlete who gets trapped in giving effort, beach is the way to go. If you find you’re the athlete who would like to increase your level of fitness, beach is definitely the way to go. If you really want to get better at volleyball, you’ll need to get better at communicating, beach demands communication. There’s only 2 people apart of your team on this side of the sport. You’d think there’s less communication that takes place in doubles, but there’s actually more. It’s more for the individual, it’s overwhelming, but it sharpens you, as an athlete, that much faster because if no ones talking it’s your fault, and your partners. There is less people to blame, 50% – 100% chance it’s your fault. In its very nature, beach forces you to work harder, that’s if you want to win, if your mind AND body truly want it, that is.
Florida Gulf Coast University’s Head Coach Matt Botsford mentioned, “an athlete should be able to let go of watching the ball, to take their eyes off of their own play and truly look into what is available or open on the other side (literally the open space on the other side of the court, where the other team is not, or does not occupy) and communicate where their teammate should place the ball.” Simply put, in the untrained mind we want to watch the ball as much as possible. As that is the most important thing in the game (the ball), it also becomes the biggest distraction of much else that is taking place. In beach a good player/teammate has to be able to do what a coach might do in indoor. Coach can’t on the beach, not during play out here. Coaches are restricted in what is said during play. Coaches can teach in a time out or on a switch but that’s it, “there’s a level of independence that comes with beach volleyball that is cool and creative, that you should get excited about”! (Botsford, FGCU). Don’t forget that the beach game is growing, and there are doors opening for combined indoor and outdoor players. Both Tampa and FGCU have 60% indoor players on their Beach teams. Why go just play indoor if you can do both, if that’s the case the chances are also greater that you’ll go to college in a warm state. If you weren’t considering beach this season, I urge you to reconsider. But regardless, we hope you have a great summer!
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