13 Beach Volleyball Drills To Rapidly Improve Your Game

Smart, strategic practice is the biggest secret to success in the sand.

If your goal is to become better than most other players in your beach volleyball group, using the right training will give you a serious leg up on everyone else.

Four players practicing on a court

I’ve discovered and used the following drills in my own journey from an indoor guy in college to playing professionally on the international FIVB Beach Pro Tour and in main draws of AVP tournaments in the US—as well as in my time as an assistant coach for our Collegiate Beach National Team.

And ever since we’ve started Better at Beach as a company in 2016, they’ve been serving to take our Hermosa, California and St. Pete, Florida camp participants’ (and online trainees’) game to the next level.

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The 13 Best Beach Volleyball Drills

*Instructed by Better at Beach coaches Mark Burik, CEO and Brandon Joyner, COO, former and current AVP and FIVB players.

1. Plus Three, Minus Three

Demonstrated by Brandon Joyner, COO of Better at Beach.

‘Plus Three, Minus Three’ is a basic reception game spiced up with scoring.

You’ll need three players (one passer, one server, one catcher) and at least half a court of space.

I find this one to be fantastic for players of any level to get repetitions with serve receive passing on the beach while adding competition into the mix — keeping everyone invested in giving a hundred percent.

How to do it:

  1. Passer in receiving position. Catcher at the middle of the net, six feet from the net. Server behind the line straight across the net.
  2. The server serves the ball into the passer’s half of the court.
  3. 1 point for any pass that the catcher has to take (at most) one big step to get to.
  4. 1 point for any service error.
  5. -1 point for a bad pass
  6. -1 point for getting aced
  7.  First to 3 points wins



  • Go for accuracy: Serve short, deep, line, or seam.
  • Keep the ball off the net enough to never get your setter into trouble.

2. 4-Way Set (For All Levels)

With at least three players in your practice squad, you can use 4-Way Setting to improve your footwork, hand position and contact, and set delivery.

Check out this effective beach volleyball setting drill to get lots of quality touches in a short time:

How to do it:

  1. One player in receiving position, one player as incoming setter, one player at attacking position at the net.
  2. ‘Receiver’ tosses the ball to the setting location
  3. Setter comes in to set to ‘attacking’ player
  4. ‘Attacking’ player sets the ball back to setting location
  5. Setter performs the same set again.
  6. Attacker catches the ball.
  7. Rotate (against the clock on the left, with the clock on the right). 
  8. Repeat.



  • Toss the ball 6ft off the net
  • Do the correct footwork & stay in rhythm for all setting contacts

3. Improve Your Offensive Accuracy

Demonstrated by Mark Burik.

Learn how to take a look and hit to a specific target:

In one of the slightly more game-like spiking drills for beach volleyball, you’re watching the other side and aiming at the position of the player across the net.

You’ll need 4 to do this one: Server, passer (who also sets), setter (who also defends & hits), assistant attacker.

How to do it:

  1. One server gives the ball to the dedicated receiving player.
  2. Pass.
  3. Setter comes in, setting to assistant at the net.
  4. Assistant attacks for the setter to defend.
  5. Receiver sets.
  6. Server moves into position on the other side.
  7. Setter hits the server's position.



  • You can go hard on your serve if the passer is a strong player
  • The ball from the assistant can be hard-driven or a soft shot.
  • The setter should mind the correct footwork when transitioning from set, to defense, to attack

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4. Next-Level Server & Defender

Can you serve with pin-point accuracy? Can you then dig the ball, creating a good setup in transition - to hit the same spot again?

Become a next-level server & defender in one go. Three players required.

How to do it:

  1. Set up a target (in the corner of the court, for example)
  2. Serve at the target
  3. Now, defend a cut shot from across the net
  4. Approach and spike at the target.



  • Retreat after digging the cut so you get a proper approach

5. Digging Plus One-Arm Touch

A 3-player plus coach exercise to work on defensive accuracy.

This is how you gain more control over your digs in the game: By practicing your beach defense with an added handicap.

How to do it:

  1. Have a coach at the net hit a ball at the defender
  2. The defender digs the ball up, then does a controlled one-arm pass to the setter
  3. Set and hit



  • Dig the ball so you can control the second touch
  • Stay low for both defensive touches
  • Practice using your opposite arm as well as your dominant arm

6. Two-Zone Beach Volleyball Blocking Drill (4 Players)

With pro players Steve Irwin, Hagen Smith and Ian Satterfield.

Did you know that as a blocker you’re not just responsible for defending one zone, but two?

This is how you train it:

How to do it:

  1. Two teams are on the court
  2. The server targets one hitting player on the other side
  3. The blocker lines up for either a line or a cross block
  4. The hitter attacks either the exact call the blocker has lined up with (line or cross), or the middle



  • The blocker should spread his arms out to take away a bit more of the court. Each hand takes away a different attacking angle.
  • As a line blocker, take away the line, including the corner, with the outside hand. Take away some of the middle with the inside hand.
  • As a cross blocker, take away the exact diagonal hit with the outside hand. Take away some of the middle with the inside hand.

7. Peel & Set

With just two players, or one player and a coach, you can work on peeling off the net and transition setting as a blocker.

How to do it:

  1. Have a coach or player stand on a box on one side of the net, and a blocker on the other
  2. As the coach tosses the ball to hit, the blocker retreats from the net
  3. Hit the ball at the blocker
  4. The blocker defends, then goes on to set that same ball



  • Defend the ball high, and towards the middle of the court — not too close to the net. Make it easy for yourself to set.
  • Use proper pulling footwork: Open, crossover, step-step into place
  • Try to be stopped as you’re defending

8. 5-10-5 For Speed

Here’s a way to add some speed and movement skill improvement to your training plan.

When beach players work on agility, the result is that they get more digs, score more out of transition, and generally handle any difficult game situation much better.

How to do it:

  1. Place three cones, each 5 yards apart
  2. Start in the middle
  3. Start the timer on sprint start
  4. Sprint to one side (5 yds) — touch the ground next to the cone
  5. Sprint to the other side (10 yds) — touch the ground next to the cone
  6. Sprint through the middle
  7. Stop the timer as the player reaches the middle cone



  • Stay low to the ground as you’re sprinting

Drills For Beginners

If you're new to beach volleyball, you might want to start with some easier variations:

9. Serving for Beginners

*Missing Text

How to do it:

  1. Go through your serve routine
  2. Aim at a specific point
  3. If you have a partner, have them stand at the net and hold up a hand, which you try and hit with your serve


  • Make sure to bring your arm back for more power in your serve

10. Easy Pass Off A Toss

Beginners should start by passing easy balls instead of full-on serves.

Having a coach or player toss the ball from the other side at half-court will make for easier repetitions, to help you concentrate on your technique.

How to do it:

  1. Toss from across the net
  2. Pass
  3. Have someone catch your pass



  • Athletic passing position
  • Look at the ball path, get your feet behind the ball
  • Make a solid platform with the correct angle towards your target
  • Pass the ball high enough so your partner could easily hand set it

Fun Variations

Loosen up your practice with these fun beach volleyball drills:

11. Two-Touch Low Net Front Row Game

With four players and one coach, you can do this fun short-court game.

It’s a great way to warm up, improve ball control and creativity, as well as make your beach volleyball ‘lesson plan’ more fun for everyone!

How to do it:

  1. Two teams are facing each other, standing at the net. 
  2. The game will be played only within the first 10ft behind the net.
  3. The net is lowered to make it easier to attack into the small area.
  4. Have the coach toss a ball across the net to one team.
  5. Using two touches at most, try to win the point.



  • Control and play the first ball so that your partner can effectively attack ‘on two’.

12. Fun High School+ Drill

Not all drills are optimal for younger beach players.They are well-served by more focus on ball control.

The following has them do more than one action in one go, to give them more repetitions.

How to do it:

  1. One server gives the ball to the receiving team. You can make this easier for junior players by having them serve or toss the ball from half-court only.
  2. The passer receives the ball like normal.
  3. The setter sets the passed ball to himself, then hits it at the defender.
  4. After the defense, the setter sets like normal, and the defender attacks.


  • As the setter, give yourself time by playing the ball high. This will help you find the ball in the air and attack it properly.

Beach Volleyball Drills For Two

Loosen up your practice with these fun beach volleyball drills:

13. Perimeter Swinging

Check out the Perimeter Swing drill:

Even with just two people, it allows you to work on your beach arm swing and attacking accuracy.


How to do it:

  1. One player at the net hitting at the other in defensive position
  2. Pass the dug ball as a free ball for the defender
  3. Set the passed free ball like normal
  4. The defender hits into the perimeter (the last 3 feet of the court at either sideline)



  • After passing the free ball, mind your footwork to get a good attacking approach
  • Hit the ball high, fast, and deep.

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