Some players always seem to be moving in the right direction, and some athletes excel at blocking. There are players that get both feet to the ball to set much quicker than others. Believe it or not, foot and hand speed is not always the reason, but instead, what an athlete is watching that allows him/her to be in the proper position to make the play.

Visual Input and Spacing
Your brain processes what your eyes see.  In order to become a better passer in beach volleyball, it is important to train what to watch for and in what order. This will make a huge difference by allowing you to get your feet moving earlier, which gives you more time to get your feet to the ball, allows you to build a better platform, and use your legs to lift your pass.

Here are 3 tips to improve your serve receive passing game.
  1. Start and stay deep enough to stay behind the ball
    Many players will start too close to the net meaning the serve has a good chance of being too high and forcing a difficult forearm pass. It is easier to move forward to the ball than to turn and run towards the back line. When the ball in in front of you it allows you to see the other team. When you facing the back line you are blind to the net and to the other team.
  2. Observe the server’s body position
    Look to see where the server’s body and feet are pointing as almost no one faces one way and serves another. The majority of servers will give visual cues necessary for the passer to have a good idea of where they will serve.
  3. Focus on the toss and arm swing
    As the server begins their swing to strike the ball, you want your focus to stay on the server’s toss and then arm as the swing develops. This way you are seeing the direction of the arm swing and watching the body move after hand contact. Seeing the hand contact the ball versus looking at the server’s body or just the ball gives you a lot more visual input.

By applying these three visual and spacing cues, beach athletes will train their eyes to look away from the ball and to the other side of the net. The end goal is to develop the ability to “read” the opponent and be in the position to make the next play.

Beach education and drills

About the Author

Beach Nation, the Beach Education partner of the JVA, Starlings USA, the AVCA and the AVP, strives to teach the most successful techniques first and allow players to grow their style from that good foundation.  Beach Nation coaches include USA Olympic Team Coaches, Division 1 Woman’s Beach coaches, USA National Team coaches and National Team Development Scouts and coaches. Beach Nation promotes coaching players and coaches through hands on camps and clinics and teaching the game while challenging convention. The world class coaching staff at Beach Nation has unparalleled experience ranging from teaching the youngest athletes in club volleyball to winning the FIVB World Championships, winning an Olympic Gold Medal, and every level in between. Visit BeachNation.Net to learn more about beach volleyball and our planned events and coaches.