Summertime is a great time to give beach volleyball a try! If you’re an indoor volleyball player, you should know these six key differences between indoor and beach volleyball.
1. First, let’s talk about the ball itself.
A beach volleyball is a tad bit larger than an indoor volleyball. This allows the beach volleyball to float more when it is hit.
The indoor volleyball can be hit harder and travel faster. Since it’s more difficult to move in sand, the lighter beach volleyball accommodates for the slower reaction.
2. Scoring is different in beach volleyball than it is in court volleyball.
An indoor match consists of either the best two out of three setsor three out of five sets. While in beach volleyball, a match is the best two out of three sets.
Indoor sets play to 25 points and you must win by two. Beach volleyball sets play 221 and you must win by two points.
3. There are six players on the court in indoor volleyball, while there are usually two partners in beach volleyball.While the beach volleyball court is smaller, this is still a lot of court for each player to cover.
4. And indoor volleyball, with six players, each player is very specialized to their position. But with beach volleyball only having two players, they are less specialized. Beach volleyball players are typically more all-around skilled players.
Volleyball is a game of three contacts – – pass, set and hit. It is the same in both indoor and beach.
5. However, in indoor volleyball if the ball is touched duringan attempted block, it does not count as a contact. In Beach Volleyball it does count as the first contact, leaving two more contacts available.
6. And finally, while hitting in indoor volleyball, your approach is longer and broader, with more steps. You also travel forward as you jump. And in beach volleyball, you jump more straight up. You do not want to travel forward, or you will travel into the net.
MBS Volleyball Club offers both indoor and beach volleyball training and team opportunities. Why not give both a try?
Communication is important in any sport. But when you're playing beach volleyball and there are only two of you, communication can be the difference between winning andlosing.
Before the Match
Before the tournament or match begins, it's helpful for you and your partner to articulate your goals for that day or match.
There may be specific skills you want to improve or a new strategy you would like to implement.
Determining these in advance helps you prepare to accomplish those goals.
As you go into a match, and especially if you know your opponent, you can develop a strategy for success.
Does this team make a lot of unforced errors? Then perhaps a more conservative strategy to keep the ball in play would work well.
But if your opponents are highly competitive, you may want to utilize your most aggressive plays.
Knowing your strategy in advance gives you a foundation going in.
With only two players, you must know what is expected of each of you.
Will one player take primary responsibility for defense while the other hits? Or will you alternate who's at the net and who's covering the passing?
When each player knows their roles, fewer mistakes are made.
When you have called plays, each player knows exactly what to do.
Before each blow of the whistle, you can decide which play you want to run in system and also out of system. That way, there are few surprises.
A beach volleyball team of two players is a close partnership. In order for the game to go smoothly, you
must be in sync.
Calling every single contact keeps you in sync.
By calling each contact, you're assuring your partner that you'll make the play. And then your partner can focus on the next contact.
After the Match
What Went Well
After each match and tournament you and your partner should talk about what went well. Celebrate the successes- goals reached and efforts made.
What to Improve
And at the end of each match, you should discuss what didn't go as you would have liked.
Where did you struggle? How can you improve for the next match?
Clear and constant communication is a must between beach volleyball partners. So make sure you're talking it up!
It’s easy to think
I don’t know how...
I’ll never be able to...
I’m not good enough...
When you’re focused on negative thoughts like these, it’s hard to be motivated, hard to give your all, and hard to accomplish your goals.
It’s hard to get better.
But you can learn how to intentionally bring thoughts to mind that can help you move forward in success. You can improve your skills and become a better player.
By changing your thoughts from
“I can’t,” to I can.
“I don’t know how,” to I can learn how.
“I’ll never be able,” to I’ll practice and work at it until I get it.
“I am not good enough,” to I am a talented and capable player.
Your brain can help you reach your goals and reach them more quickly.
That’s right – – your brain!
What thoughts are you allowing to hold you back? Look for ways to change your thoughts so that they propel you forward.
Lou Holtz, arguably one of the greatest college football coaches of all times, was quoted saying,
"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
Your volleyball attitude is key to your volleyball success.
These four attitudes—aggressiveness, competitiveness, coachability and selflessness--will set you up to be the best player you can be.
Aggressiveness may be frowned on in other areas of life, but not in volleyball! What does it mean to be aggressive in sports?
It means to give it 100%. making your absolute best effort. It's when "just enough" or "the status quo" will never do.
When practicing, keep pushing yourself to get better. If you feel you've mastered a skill, then look for ways to use it unexpectedly.
In a game situation, choose plays with the best chances to score. For example, hit a ball over with a swing instead of free ball passing it over.
Teams that play aggressively win.
It may seem like aggressiveness and competitiveness or the same. But, while they go hand in hand, they are a bit different.
Someone who is competitive has a strong desire to perform well and to succeed.
A competitive player strives to improve every aspect of their game--skills, knowledge and decision-making.
A competitive team has a distinct advantage.
Coaches truly appreciate players who are coachable.
A coachable player is attentive to instruction, welcomes feedback, and puts into practice the knowledge learned.
While some players may resist constructive feedback or working on a skill repetitively, a coachable player is receptive.
When you are coachable, you put in the hard work required to master a skill.
In volleyball, selfish players are ball hogs, attention grabbers, the ones who constantly complain about playtime or their position on the court.
A selfless player is refreshing. They focus on what's best for the team, encouraging others, and helping others shine.
They’re the “ask not what this team can do for me but what I can do for the team“ kind of players.
Selflessness is a characteristic of a great teammate.
Try taking on these four attitudes as you play. Not only will you be more successful, but you’ll also have more fun.
Passing is a critical skill in volleyball. A team that struggles to pass, will struggle to win.
Here are three common mistakes inexperienced volleyball players make and some tips on how to pass correctly.
Reaching or leaning for the pass
Players who reach or lean for the ball when attempting to pass will usually pass off target—or miss the ball altogether.
When you reach or lean, your balance is off, and your footwork cannot support you in your pass. This often creates an uneven platform or causes your platform to direct the ball in the wrong direction.
Instead, move your feet! Shuffle or run to get behind the ball. You want to instinctively know where the ball is going and get to that spot quickly, before the ball does. That way you can get into proper passing position and make an accurate pass.
Swinging your arms
Many players, especially young ones, swing their arms when they make a pass.
If you raise your arms above parallel to the ground when passing, you’re probably swinging.
Swinging your arms may seem like it adds power to the pass. However, what it actually does is sends the ball off target.
When passing, you want your platform to direct the ball to your desired target, usually the setter. If you swing your arms wildly, your platform will be angled to send the ball too high, too far, or even behind you.
Rather than swinging your arms, allow your legs to lift your body a bit so that your platform meets the ball. You will move your arms up and forward, but without swinging.
Your goal is for your forearm platform to meet the ball at about waist level.
Have you heard your coach say to “stay low” when passing?
This means to keep your body in a lower passing position.
When passing, your legs should be shoulder width apart with your knees bent a little, so that your momentum is forward. Your weight should be forward on your feet and your shoulders forward a bit also.
When you complete the pass, you should still be in a lower passing position with your shoulders still forward.
If you’re standing upright and your shoulders are up, then you have “popped up” with your pass.
It is more difficult to pass accurately if you pop up.
Try to stay low.
By correcting and avoiding these three common passing mistakes, you will become a more consistent and accurate passer.
Which is exactly what your team needs you to be.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and wondered what time it was? Still, for some reason, you resisted looking at the clock or your phone. But, as you tried to go back to sleep, you just had to know the time…
You couldn’t resist.
You had to look at the clock.
Many times, players experience this same urge to watch the score as they play a game.
Now, don’t get me wrong, knowing the score is important.
But it isn’t always helpful.
If your focus is on the score, you may get distracted, anxious or miss out on powerful learning experiences.
So, what should you be focusing on?
• Your responsibility
What is your responsibility in your position on the court?
When you intentionally keep your responsibility in mind, you can better ensure that you fulfil your role.
Are you executing skills correctly?
By focusing on your form and technique, you’ll be more likely to execute the play correctly and successfully.
Every tournament, match, set or play is full of opportunities to learn.
Take some time to reflect on the game or the day and ask yourself what you can learn.
What did you do well? What didn’t you do well? What do you want to make a goal to improve moving forward?
• Appreciating the experience
No matter the score, whether the match ended with a W or L, you can appreciate the whole experience. Look for something positive to take from the day or the weekend.
By focusing on aspects of the game that are helpful, you can keep progressing with greater success as a player and a team.
Have you ever watched a college volleyball game or an Olympic match? Its advanced level and dynamic energy make it so much fun to watch.
In addition to the entertainment aspect, there are benefits to young athletes watching higher level teams and athletes play their sport. Here are five benefits you can get from watching higher level volleyball players.
1. Improve your mental game.
Watching college, Olympic or professional volleyball players can help you gain mental training, especially when you watch a favorite team or player. The imagery helps “train” your brain to correct technique and successful completion of skills.
It builds confidence and excitement, as well.
2. Learn new plays, moves and techniques.
As you watch, you may learn new plays or techniques.
For example, if your team hasn’t learned slides yet, you may take note of when a middle hitter transitions to the right side behind the setter and hits from the right side. This is a slide and something you’ll see in higher level court volleyball.
You can learn all kinds of new moves and plays by watching higher level games.
Not only may you learn something new, but you can also intentionally watch a specific player in a specific position to watch how they perform a specific skill. By doing so, you can visualize how you should perform that same skill. This may help you understand or see it in a new way.
3. Develop a competitive spirit.
Coaches love it when a player is aggressive and competitive. Some people are naturally so, while others have to develop that competitive spirit.
Elite level players get to their level by being talented and competitive. This attitude can be contagious—and you’ll get your chance to “catch it” as you watch them play.
4. Learn the lingo.
Each sport has its own vocabulary. Volleyball is no exception.
Libero… Slide… Kill… Bic… Shoot…
If you watch games on TV, you can learn a lot from the commentators. They explain plays, skills and lingo as they announce the game.
Pay attention and see what new volleyball words you pick up on.
5. Bond with family and friends.
Sports bring people together.
Sitting around watching a game together can help build lasting bonds with family and friends. No matter your age, you can find meaningful connections while watching the game.
If you haven’t watched a college game, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to learn more about your sport. Go to a live game or watch on TV. Either way, it’s a fun way to learn.
When we think about volleyball players, we tend to think… tall. Volleyball can actually be played well and enjoyed by players of all sizes.
Here are four tips for shorter volleyball players.
1. Learn multiple skills.
Oftentimes players specialize in one specific position. As a shorter player, you can certainly still do that. But anytime a player masters multiple skills—hitting, setting, defensive—it’s definitely an advantage.
The more skills you learn well, the more versatile of a player you are. And the more court time you’ll see.
2. When hitting, ask for the set to be 5’-7’ off the net.
Taller hitters typically can hit a tight set (one closer to the net) more successfully than shorter players. If you’re on the shorter side, ask for your sets to be a little off (away from) the net.
Having the set 5’ to 7’ off the net allows you to hit around blockers more effectively. The result will be more hits in and more kills!
3. Focus on ball control.
Volleyball is a game of ball control—controlled serves, passes, sets and hits. The more ball control you have, the more success you’ll have.
There is no height advantage when it comes to ball control.
4. Make every contact count.
No one expects 100% of your contacts to be perfect. But you can make every contact count by giving 100% effort in all you do.
Every time you step into the gym and especially onto the court, stay focused and remember that everything you do counts.
No matter your height, whether taller or shorter, you can be a powerful volleyball player. Use these tips to help find consistent success.
It’s set point and you are up to serve.
You hear the crowd cheering. Your teammates shouting encouragement. Your coach giving last second instructions.
You toss the ball.
Make solid contact with your hand.
It drops, perfectly placed in the seam between middle and left back.
Seriously, imagine it.
The process of visualization is intentionally creating a mental image—of imagining—a situation with a desired outcome. It’s a highly effective tool in “creating” a result.
At some point in your volleyball career, you will be in this same situation.
Set point and you’re up to serve. Having visualized a successful serve, an ace even, helps keep you calm under the pressure and increases your chances of making that ace.
When you visualize, try to include as many of your senses as possible. Hear the crowd. Feel the ball as you position it in your hand. See the ball float and land in between the two defenders.
Mentally rehearse every physical and mental action step you must take in that situation.
Your brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and an imagined experience. If you can fully imagine the experience, your brain will begin creating memory of getting that ace.
And the more you visualize your desired result, the more your brain helps make it happen.
Give it a try.
Intentional visualization can help make you more proficient in your skills development and more consistent in your play.
Playing sports such as volleyball can help you gain confidence, make lasting connections, and can improve your health. Mastering the fundamentals is vital if you want to play your best game.
Here are three tips to help you become more proficient in the volleyball fundamentals.
Tip 1—Make a perfect passing platform a habit.
Accurate passing is crucial to the game. Volleyball is a three-contact sport: pass, set and hit. It all begins with the pass. In order to have a truly good play, you need a good pass.
And you need a strong, correct platform in order to make a good pass.
If you don’t know what a passing platform is for a forearm pass, ask your coach. Practice forming your platform correctly and quickly while standing still. Then, practice forming your platform while in motion, as if you’re moving to a ball that needs to be passed.
Practice this for several minutes each day. Every single day. Even if you’ve been playing for a long time. It’s that important.
With time, practice and game-like experience, you will develop a habit of making a perfect passing platform.
Tip 2—Learn to serve consistently.
Each play begins with a serve, which means that your serve is your first opportunity to score a point for your team. Or, at least, to get the other team scrambling.
Whether you’re a beginner just learning the underhand serve or you’re an elite player with years of serving overhand, being able to serve consistently is an asset to your team.
You will score points off of your serve when it’s consistent, accurate and aggressive. Developing a consistent serve leads the way to being able to work on a more accurate and aggressive serve.
Let your coach work with you to ensure that your serving mechanics are correct. Are you standing the right way? Stepping with the correct foot? Are you holding and placing the ball correctly? Is your arm swing efficient?
Once you master the mechanics, get in as many serving reps as possible. Practice serving over and over and over. Participate in serving clinics or open gyms so you can spend significant time serving.
As Vince Lombardi is known for saying: Perfect practice makes perfect.
Tip 3—Perfect your hitting approach.
Left… right, left.
If you don’t know what that means, ask your coach.
Often, that’s how coaches teach hitting footwork (for right-handed hitters). Coaches work on hitting footwork a lot because… yep, because it’s so important to get it right!
Hitting, often called spiking, is about more than just swinging your arm and hitting the ball. It starts with a fast and efficient approach.
There are different approaches for different hitting situations, but the three-step and four-step approaches are common.
Just as in serving, it takes a ton of practice and repetitions to learn it well.
As you continue your volleyball journey, you will constantly need to improve your fundamentals. Having strong, disciplined fundamentals will make you the kind of player that every coach wants on their team.
Good volleyball is fun to watch. Especially when it’s super competitive. And when players make those impossible plays. When they take a shank almost in the stands, send it back on court, and then a hitter is able to score off of it… Yeah!
You know that team’s coach drilled into them, “Better the ball!” And they do.
What does it mean to better the ball?
Each contact, your goal is to make the next contact better.
Volleyball is a game of ball control. You want three contacts as controlled as possible.
If there’s a bad pass, if you send an equally bad set, your team will have practically no chance of making a hit. As the setter,your job is to take that bad pass and make a good set off of it. As good as possible. This will give your team a better chance of scoring.
If a ball is out of play, you can better the ball by bringing it into play. Send an off-court pass to the middle of the court so someone can make a hit attempt.
If a set is off, bettering the ball might be sending the ball over—whether as a free ball, roll shot or a hit—as competitively as possible.
Even if the previous contact was a pretty good pass or set, you can still better the ball by making your contact accurate and aggressive.
Avoid panicking if someone shanks the ball or it’s out of system. Stay calm and make your contact as playable as possible.
As you’re practicing and playing, look for ways that you can better the ball. Every time the ball comes to you—whether pass, set or hit—you can make that contact better.
COVID has certainly taken a toll on our kids’ mental health. Even if your child did not catch the virus, chances are they’ve been affected emotionally.
Our kids are dealing with fear, stress, loneliness, confusion, uncertainty, or have developed behavior problems. Some are struggling with severe anxiety and depression.
As parents, we want to give our children every advantage to overcome the mental stresses they’ve had to endure this past year. Team sports, such as volleyball, may be an ideal option for many kids.
Sports clubs have been educated on how to provide as safe as possible environment for kids. Careful hygiene practices, wearing masks (some choose even while playing, while somewear them when not actively playing), equipment cleaning practices, and facility sanitation offer a safe space for kids.
Team sports allows your child connection with other kids, many of whom are dealing with similar emotions. For some, these connections are lifelines after months of reduced or practically no interaction with other kids.
Involvement in team sports is a de-stressor. It builds confidence and leadership skills. And it gives kids a chance to work out some pent-up physical energy.
MBS Volleyball Club hosts volleyball clinics, open gyms, and opportunities for kids of all ages to participate in beach and indoor volleyball.
Beach volleyball has the added advantage of being outside in the fresh air—which reduces the risk of exposure to viruses as well as provides the health benefits of sunshine.
We’ve always known that there are benefits to involvement with team sports. After the year your child has been through, now may be the perfect time to jump in.
Skills clinics are helpful opportunities for highly focused skills training. Whether you’re a newbie or have been playing a few years already, skills clinics can be beneficial for you.
Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your volleyball skills clinics.
Having a positive attitude and being in the right mindset will prepare you for a successful clinic. Go in excited, ready to learn and try new things, and be willing to give your best effort.
Being coachable—receptive to the instruction the coach gives and focused on growth—is crucial to advancement as an athlete.
Skills clinics are group settings. There may be several participants attending the same clinic. The coaches will have opportunity to give some individualized training and feedback, but their attention will be divided amongst all the participants.
Simply put, it can’t be all about you. And that’s OK. If you need individualized training, ask about private lessons.
With only one and a half to two hours to run a clinic, time management is key. Arriving on time, getting your court shoes and kneepads on, and getting on the court on time go a long way to showing respect to the coaches and fellow athletes.
Clinics are opportune times to get to know and connect with a coach. While the coach can not necessarily focus on you, it is a good chance to develop a coach-athlete affiliation.
Each coach has their own style of coaching. Finding a coach who fits your learning style can be beneficial. Even if they aren’t the coach of your team, you can attend clinics or lessons they lead.
At the end of the clinic session, feel free to ask the coach for feedback. If time is short, you can ask the coach to send you feedback by email or to meet at a later time to discuss your performance.
The coach may offer constructive criticism to help you become a better athlete. There’s no need to feel defensive; the coach simply wants to help you improve your skills. Take the feedback and use it to be a better athlete.
Make sure to find out about the next MBS Volleyball Club clinic. We hope to see you there!
A competitive serve is a vital part of the game. If you’re a new player, coaches may be satisfied if you get the ball “over and in” regularly. However, as you play longer, coaches will expect you to be aggressive from the serving line. Having a strong serve, especially if you can place it in specific spots, will give you a competitive edge over a player with an average serve.
It may even get you play time as a serving specialist.
• Is your first opportunity to score.
We often think of hitting as the main means of scoring, but there are other ways to put points on the scoreboard. You can score quickly and run up the score in your team’s favor with an aggressive serve.
• Is intimidating.
Your opposing team will watch as you warm up, and they will be intimidated when they see you serving with power and accuracy. This puts extra pressure on them when they see you step up to the serving line.
• Can cause the opposing team to get out of system.
If you can serve in a way that can force the other team out of system, it increases the odds of them making a mistake and giving you a point in return.
• Leads to a free ball situation.
When you serve aggressively, the other team may not be able to receive the ball easily and may pass off target. This often creates a situation where your opposing team has to send a free ball over.
• Will get you noticed by coaches.
College coaches, varsity coaches, and high-level club coaches, will pay attention to a player with a strong, competitive serve. Having a consistently tough serve will make you a highly sought-after player.
Ask your coach what you need to work on to improve your serve to make you more competitive from the serving line or take advantage of clinics to get extra help. Learn more about registering for clinics by clicking HERE
A good coach is an asset to your daughter not only on the court, but in other character-building aspects as well. A coach has the ability to reach your daughter in a unique way that can make a life-long impact.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD COACH?
1- A good coach cares about your daughter, not only on the court but in school as well. They will check on her grades from time to time and encourage her to strive for academic excellence. With your daughter’s best interest in mind, your coach will advocate for her on and off the court.
2- A coach who believes in your daughter’s potential will push your daughter to do her best in the sport. This will help your daughter grow and carry the pride that comes with accomplishment throughout her life.
3- An effective coach can help your daughter learn to work well on a team, improve her problem-solving skills, and can build a competitiveness in your daughter in a safe and encouraging environment.
4- Since your coach will be teaching skills from a different perspective, a dynamic coach can reach your daughter in ways that a parent often can’t. Your daughter’s coach will be a strong, influential voice in her life.
5- A good coach will hold your daughter accountable to do her part, whatever her role may be on the team. Whether on the court or on the sideline, there is a role that your daughter should be playing. Your coach will help her see the value in every role.
It is always a benefit to the student athlete when the coach and parent work together. If you have a good coach who speaks into your daughter’s life, here are five ways you can show your support.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR COACH?
1- Respect their time and space. A good coach will always welcome open communication with an athlete or parent, but there is a time and place for it. If there is a concern that needs to be expressed, following the “24 Hour Rule” will help ensure that all parties are levelheaded and can focus on the issue at hand. Be sure not to interrupt a practice or tournament. Instead, ask when and where would be a good time to talk. Also, be considerate of the time when you text or call. Late night or early morning hours are not appropriate.
2- Encouraging your daughter to listen to and follow your coach’s instructions and reinforcing your coach’s philosophy at home are huge ways to show your support. Whether it’s skill instructions, pre-game routine, or even a curfew before a tournament, your coach has their reasons for their requests. Your daughter will be more receptive and bring a more positive and helpful attitude to the court when she hears it reinforced at home.
3- Never allow your daughter or anyone else to bash your coach or other players on the team. Even if you are tempted to complain yourself, it is most beneficial when a parent and coach can talk through a problem and resolve it without heated words or bad feelings. Make the court a drama free zone.
4- Offer ways to help your coach. Maybe your coach would appreciate you shagging balls during a practice or warm up. (But ask first; some coaches prefer the girls to take the responsibility.) Or maybe you can help organize team bondings or holiday celebrations or bring team snacks. Coaches have a lot on their plates. Your offer of help will mean a lot.
5- Perhaps the most appreciated way of support is to simply say, “Thanks!” or “Good job, Coach!” Giving positive feedback to the coach will let your coach know that you support them and is sure to brighten their day.
A good coach is invaluable. Let’s be sure to do all we can to support our COACHES!
You probably know the story of the man who built his house on the firm foundation of a rock versus the man who built his home on the weaker foundation of sand.
The home with the strong foundation stood during the storm, while the house with the weaker foundation fell.
Even in volleyball, your foundation matters.
Your coach probably talks about fundamentals. A lot.
You may have even heard your coach yell about them.
Mastering the fundamentals is vital if you want to play competitively.
By fundamentals we mean the basics. The foundation from which everything else is built.
Each volleyball skill has its own set of fundamentals that you need to build in order to be a strong player. Here are a few to pay attention to.
• Platform formation
• Serving hand placement
• Directing the serve
• Controlled lift or toss
• Arm and hand placement
• Hand formation
• Use of legs
• Fast hands
How can you work on your fundamentals?
Need work on your fundamentals? There are several ways you can get started.
• Talk to your coach for their input. They may see something you don’t.
• Participate in clinics and camps. Even if you’ve been playing for a few years, attending a beginning or intermediate level clinic or camp will help you focus on those basic skills that you’ve let slide over time.
• Ask an advanced player who has mastered the skill for help. Be careful who you ask, though. Make sure it’s someone the coaches would recommend as well.
• Check out YouTube or other videos online. There are many online resources that may be beneficial to you. Spend some time to find the good ones.
Make sure you’re working towards strong, consistent fundamentals. They are the foundation on which your skills will be built.