Beach coaches look forward to getting out on the sand every summer with the athletes in their program. However, this year has looked quite different as our country is facing unforeseen challenges with the pandemic still among us. Epic Volleyball Club’s home for its beach program has typically been North Beach in Racine, WI. When Program Director Evan Berg learned that the city was planning to cancel all scheduled events on the beach for the entire summer and not install the 8 court wooden pole standards for volleyball nets, he and his fellow staff decided to restructure the beach program to salvage a beach season.
Here’s how the club organized a 2v2 and 4v4 league:
Logistics and Safety
During this pandemic, Epic’s main priority has been the safety of the athletes and coaches. The club organized the instructional leagues as a way to allow athletes to play, but still limit the number of contacts shared between multiple athletes and coaches. After some discussion, the club decided to offer two different options: an instructional doubles league and coed fours reverse league, both for 6 weeks.
“We wanted athletes to be able to form their own teams and choose teammates they felt safe with instead of us assigning them” adds Berg.
Thankfully, there were still two sets of poles on the beach where they could put up two nets, but that meant they needed to put a cap on the number of teams they could take in each league.
Parents are encouraged to drop the athlete off and come back. If the parent stays, they are asked to stay in their car or set up a chair way at least 6 ft away from other parents or players in order to avoid congregating in the same space.
Beach Doubles Instructional League
This league has a 12 teams max with one division. The club tries to schedule teams with similar ages/abilities against each other week to week. Matches are played on Monday mornings with match times at 8am, 9am and 10am. The cost is $230 per team for the 6-week league. This is an instructional league, so teams receive coaching during gameplay on technique and strategy.
Teams will play one match each week, 3 sets to 21 or 50 mins, whichever comes first.
Doubles rules will apply, this will be monitored by the coaches.
No tipping allowed.
Coed Teams are allowed, but not required.
Players register as a team and stay on that team for the entirety of the summer, playing against one other team each week. After the match is over, players and parents are asked to clear the area for cleaning and sanitizing the balls before the next group begins.
Beach Co-ed Quads Instructional League
This league has a max of 6 teams in each division: 14U and 18U. These teams are allowed to be coed, but no more than two boys per team will be allowed. Girls are allowed to play with up to four girls, but cannot have more than 2 boys on the team. Matches are played on Wednesday mornings at 8am, 9am and 10am. The cost is $400 per team for the 6-week league. This is also an instructional league, so teams receive coaching during gameplay on technique and strategy.
Teams play one match each week, 3 sets to 21 or 50 minutes, whichever happens first.
Teams play on a girls height net.
Girls are allowed to play any position they want and can attack from front or back row.
If boys are on a team, they will be limited to attacking from only 10ft or further from the net and may not block or jump in front of the 10ft line.
Boys are allowed to set, but may not jump above the height of the net and send a ball over if in front of the attack line.
Boys 14 years old and younger can play any position front or back row and do not have to attack from only behind the 10ft line.
Only serving order matters, so teams do not have to rotate.
Tipping is not allowed, only rolls or poke shots.
Teams will play 50 min rounds and will play three sets to 21. If the third set doesn’t finish in 50 mins, the team that is up in that set will be the winning team.
Players will register as a team and stay in those teams for the entirety of the summer, playing against one other team each week. After the time is over, players are asked to clear the area so we can clean and sanitize all the balls before the next group gets in.
The fun thing about reverse quads is that it allows both boys and girls to compete on the same team on a girl’s net. Because it is an instructional league, as teams are competing, the coaches are stepping in to give feedback on team strategy and technique which allows for a more “hands off” approach to keep safety in mind.
“So far, it has been a lot of fun and the athletes look forward to playing each week” adds Berg. “Some players are playing in both the doubles and reverse quads leagues so they can play twice as much. We feel good that we could offer something to get the kids out playing again while providing an environment we feel is safe for everyone.”
For more beach education click HERE.
About the Author
Evan Berg is the Director of Operations for Epic Volleyball Club, a JVA member club in Racine, WI.