In beach volleyball, it is critical to train defensive responsibilities and court coverage on defense as there are only two players covering one side of the court. 692 Beach Director Scott Stover shares a drill breakdown and strategy behind training a defensive base. When training a defensive base, his club stresses holding the base position and getting back quickly in transition.

Why hold the base position?
The goal is to be able to better cover the court on an “over-on-one” (otherwise known as an overpass) when the dig or serve receive pass comes directly over the net, and to cover the setter attack on the second contact. The defenders can better split their responsibilities to get the whole court covered, and holding the base position also allows the defending team to be more deceptive on defense to make it harder for the team on offense to know where the defender is playing.

Hold until setter plays the ball to the attacker
The back row defender is in middle back and holds their position until the ball is set, before making a defensive move to get in position to cover their responsibilities on defense. This allows them to make sure the ball is not attacked by the setter, but also keeps the attacker from getting an early look at where the defense is set up.

Defensive Responsibilities
If there is an over-on-one or setter dump the blocker has the responsibility to run down anything in front 1/3 of court and back row defender has anything in the back of the court. The defender cannot cover all three corners left open by the blocker being at the net, so the blocker is responsible for running down any ball in the front third of the court.

Practicing a quicker transition to a defensive base helps to prevent this scenario
Setter makes the call, watches the hitter, then turns to see what happens on the other side. By the time the opposing digger touches the ball, both players are in the front third of the court, which is why they are so susceptible to the over-on-one. So many juniors teams have to pursue the over-on-one running backwards toward the endline, rather than doing the extra work to be in position. This drill, if done often enough, teaches athletes to retreat to a defensive base automatically, turning any over-on-one ball into an easy freeball.

Drill Breakdown
Team set up on defense, with a blocker at the net and a defender in their base in middle back
Coach tosses and hits to a pulling blocker, defending team plays that ball out, then plays three over-on-one balls tossed at the pace of an over-on-one, to the area of the court FARTHEST AWAY FROM THE DEFENDER.
This drill can also be run with the defending team serving the first ball to initiate the drill
Ideal for 2-6 players on a court. Half shag balls, while others participate in the drill

For related reading on beach volleyball click HERE.  To view more beach drills and education click HERE.

About the Author
Dr. Scott Stover is the National Director of 692, which he formed in 2005, and a JVA Club Director. Scott has coached for 29 years at every level from high school, to club, to division one college programs at SMU and TWU. He has been coaching beach volleyball for 14 years at 692, and was chosen to be one of three coaches to go to Russia in 2010 with the USA Beach program. Scott has coached 17 teams to national championships and hasdeveloped many of the top beach juniors players in the country over the last decade.