As beach volleyball grows in popularity, clubs with indoor instruction are expanding programming to meet the interests of their athletes. In turn, clubs are finding competing on sand has given their players improved mental stamina, physical endurance and a deeper love for the game when they return to the hard courts in the fall.
At Top Select Volleyball Academy in Orlando, Florida, Club Director German Del Valle has seen the impact participating in both sports has made on his players, especially in their ability to make faster in-game decisions.
In beach volleyball, athletes are not allowed extended time between points to consult with coaches. Combine that fast pace of play with teams comprised of two competitors, and players are required to make split-second decisions — a process that helps them build a better understanding of the sport.
“This improved mental game can translate to better play during the indoor season” Del Valle said.
Will Robbins, founder and owner of Empowered Sports Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana, said playing beach volleyball has helped his athletes learn to be in better position on the court and sharpened their focus.
“Players must cover a larger area and be more attentive on the sand court. As a result, they are forced to develop a better volleyball IQ, which they bring with them when returning to the indoor game” Robbins added.
“So when you go back to indoor, and you’re covering a lot smaller area, the game becomes much easier because you’re always in the right position,” he said.
Another key component to beach volleyball is finesse, a skill players can incorporate into their indoor games. Robbins said indoor volleyball emphasizes power and hitting the ball as hard as possible, while beach volleyball requires using precision to outsmart the opponent.
Athletes can also strengthen their physical stamina participating in beach volleyball because they are required to cover more of the court and receive shorter breaks between points.
“There’s being in shape, and then there’s being in beach volleyball shape,” Robbins said.
For players who play indoor and then transition to beach, the start of the beach volleyball season overlaps the end of the indoor season, usually in May, and clubs with both programs find the transition keeps players engaged.
“I think if programs would utilize both elements, it will stir up the love of the game in these players and prevent burnout,” Robbins said. “These players are still using the same skills in both, so it continues to elevate their game from a technical standpoint.“
Beach volleyball can also help raise the profile of an organization.
After the indoor season, Top Select Volleyball Academy and Empowered Sports Club take in athletes from other clubs that don’t offer beach volleyball programs. Many of those players never return to their original clubs, preferring to remain with a program offering both indoor and beach volleyball.
“There’s starting to be enough education out there — as to the benefits of beach — that kids are hearing about,” Robbins said. “Those who are serious about beach come over and play for us because they know the importance of it — to help their indoor game.“
And improvement is the reason Robbins encourages his players to participate in both.
“These players are still using the same skills in both, so it continues to elevate their game from a technical standpoint.“
Top Select Volleyball Academy and Empowered Sports Club are both members of the Junior Volleyball Association. To learn more about the value of a JVA membership, click here. For related reading on starting or running a beach program click here.
About the Author
This article is written by Emily Winters from SportsEngine, the official technology partner of the JVA. SportEngine offers special pricing and packages exclusive to JVA member clubs. More than just a website, SportsEngine can help you solve serious challenges you face with tryouts, billing and collections, team communication, tournaments, and more. For more information click here.