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Volleyball Digging | 3 SECRETS for Defense if You're Struggling to Make Great Digs on the Move

We're on the move in beach volleyball. A lot. And that's why we love it! There's only two players on the court, which leaves quite a bit of sand to cover. This is especially relevant for all of the beach volleyball defenders out there reading this, players who are constantly on the move but also constantly touching the ball. 

It begs the question: How do we accurately make digs while on the move? 

It's an excellent question. Many coaches will encourage you to be fully stopped, no matter what, whenever you're digging a volleyball. In a perfect world, this would be great. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world, and that idea is unrealistic at best, bad advice at worst. Because digging on the move isn't a bad thing. It's ok to be on the move. 

Sometimes it's even recommended!

"You don’t have to get stopped," AVP professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik said. "It’s ok to be on the move and keep your momentum going to your point of hesitation. If you do...

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Beach Volleyball Olympian Kelly Claes and Her Journey to the Tokyo Olympics

This weekend, at just 25 and 24 years old, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil will officially become the youngest team in USA Volleyball history to compete in an Olympic Games. They will do so after a miraculous come-from-behind run that saw them win two gold medals in the final two events of the Olympic qualification process. They will do so after passing the GOAT, Kerri Walsh Jennings.

And in doing so, they will become the faces young beach volleyball players look to as their newest role models, as Claes and Sponcil once did to Walsh Jennings and Misty May Treanor and April Ross, who is also competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

It begs the question: How did Claes and Sponcil become so good, so fast? How did they make the jump from college – Claes at USC, Sponcil at UCLA – to Olympians in a matter of, in Sponcil’s case, two years?

There is no simple answer, but Claes shed some light on her preparation process throughout the Olympic qualification period, and the...

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The EASY & SIMPLE Way to Know Where to Start Your Approach for Spiking a Volleyball

There is one main skill in beach volleyball that is noticed before almost any other: The spike. There has not been a single player in the history of beach volleyball who has looked at the other side of the net in fear because someone on the other team bump set well. Nor has anyone, as far as I can tell, been trembling because of a crisp line shot.

We notice spikes. Whether we want to or not, whether we care to spike hard or not, we just notice them, no different than how we notice dunks before we would a mid-range jumper. They’re spectacular, and everyone wants to spike a volleyball harder because of this (and because it’s the most effective way to score).

However, we have some news for you: Before you can spike a volleyball, you must make your approach. Your approach is 99 percent of spiking anyway.

You may as well learn where to start.

There are many different schools of thought on where to begin your approach, and there is no particular school of thought that you...

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AVP Coach Teaches Athletes the Secrets to a GREAT Volleyball Pass

One of the most helpful videos on YouTube when it comes to how to pass a volleyball actually has nothing to do with volleyball at all. It has nothing to do with passing, or footwork, or what to do with your platform, or any of the other minutiae of passing. 

It's surfing. 

It is an absolutely wonderful, laugh-till-you-cry scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Paul Rudd is teaching Jason Segel how to surf. It's absolutely hysterical. 

“Don’t try to do anything," Rudd says at the beginning of the lesson. "The less you do, the more you do.”  

When Segel practices popping up, Rudd waves him off. 

"Do less. Get down. Try it again."

So he does.

"Nope. Do less."

 One more time.

"You’re doing too much. Do less. Remember, don’t do anything. Nothing."

And then, exasperated, Segel does nothing at all. He simply lays on the board. 

"Well, you gotta do more than that. Just do it, feel, it pop up."

And that, my friends, is...

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How to Jump Higher for Volleyball: Ten Commandments for the Vertical Jump

An explosive, impressive vertical is one of the most coveted – if not the most coveted – physical skills in all of sport. It’s the reason we marvel at NBA players such as Blake Griffin, and ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ at the absurd bounces of volleyball players like Troy Field.

It’s why there’s an entire dunk contest that gets viewed by millions every year, and why we prize a thunderous swing in volleyball or dunk in basketball far more than a simple layup or line shot – despite them being worth the exact same amount of points.

There’s just something about jumping high that we love. And for good reason. In volleyball, jumping higher will allow you to tap into an entirely new dimension of your game. It’ll give you offensive angles you’ve never had before, allowing you to side out at a higher rate. It’ll make you a bigger presence at the net, making it more difficult for an opponent to hit a high line over you or...

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The COOLEST Volleyball Serve EVER! (How to Serve a Skyball)

The world’s reaction to the skyball serve when it got its first true glimpse of it, at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, was as you might expect: A blend of amusement, confusion, misunderstanding, and viral videos.

The casual viewer of beach volleyball didn’t understand why a serve hit straight into the air – by Adrian Carambula, in this case – was proving so difficult to pass. On the ESPN Show, Pardon the Interruption, Tony Kornheiser called it a middle school serve. It was a joke, a gimmick, a cute thing this diminutive Italian player did.

It is, in actuality, when done correctly, one of the deadliest serves in beach volleyball.

But why is the skyball serve so effective? And, more important, how do we even hit a skyball? 

If you’re reading this article on the skyball serve, you’ve likely tried it, or have had a friend who’s tried it. Chances are, you’ve hit it backwards, sideways, a full football field long. Maybe you've even...

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How to Build a Cheap Home Gym for Under $100

 

We also run beach volleyball classes, private lessons and training camps for adults and juniors in Hermosa Beach, CA and Salt Lake City, Utah. We run volleyball vacations in exotic locations around the world. We can even run beach volleyball clinics for your group, club or team in your hometown! Send an email to [email protected]

Throughout time, there have been hierarchies of all types and shapes and sizes. The order of most can be boiled down essentially to a single element: Resources. Whoever has the resources, be it in quantity or quality, is the one at the top of the food chain. And with gym closures and beach closures and, well, everything closures, the volleyball players at the top of the totem pole today? 

They're the ones with the home gyms. 

Home gyms can vary, of course. Some have dumbbells and bands set up in their living room, getting a good pump in while watching Netflix. Some have tricked out garages. And, of course,...

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High-Level Arm Swing Mechanics for Spiking a Volleyball (GAIN MORE POWER!)

Think of all of the biggest hitters in beach volleyball you know. Take a minute. No hurry here. Your list and ours likely look the same. If you're a guy, the list likely includes, if not all, at least a few of these names: Taylor Crabb, Anders Mol, Phil Dalhausser, Casey Patterson, Chase Budinger, Steven van de Velde, Robert Meeuwsen, Alex Brouwer. If you're a gal, name such as April Ross, Alix Klineman, Sarah Pavan, Kelly Claes, Sarah Sponcil, Kelley Kolinske, likely came to mind. 

All of these players mentioned have phenomenal swings, and it's no wonder why almost every single one of them will be competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games next month. But thinking of those names is the easy part. Most anyone who watches beach volleyball knows that those players can spike a volleyball as well as anyone on the planet. 

The key question here is why. 

What separates Taylor Crabb from, say, his brother, Trevor? How come Casey Patterson, who loves to make fun of his...

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11 Shoulder Exercises for Beach Volleyball in 1 Minute

 

So often, I’m asked questions about the best ways to warm up or workout for beach volleyball. Professionals have extensive warm up routines that armor their joints and work on their weaknesses. If you’ve been anywhere near a volleyball court in your life, you’ve seen somebody rubbing and rotating their hitting shoulder while their face winces in pain. Even after you've learned how to how to hit a volleyball properly, you can still experience some pain and injuries.

Why are shoulder exercises so important for beach volleyball players?

Injuries in beach usually develop because of muscular imbalances. Micro-tears in your muscle fibers develop into scar tissue when they aren’t given time to heal properly. If you’re pushing your body to the max, that just becomes a part of the game. BUT, when a muscle becomes less pliable, other muscles take over for it and these compensations have a tendency to build on top of each other.

Don’t ignore the...

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Should I Stay or Should I Go: Peel Footwork for Blockers

 

If you're interested in this blog on peel digging and how to play defense in beach volleyball, you may be interested in our serving course, which, of course, is the first line of defense in, ahem, defense. It'll will have you serving more accurately, with more power, in just a few weeks! We also run beach volleyball classes, private lessons and training camps for adults and juniors in Hermosa Beach, CA and Salt Lake City, Utah. We run volleyball vacations in exotic locations around the world. We can even run beach volleyball clinics for your group, club or team in your hometown! Send an email to [email protected]

Blockers block in beach volleyball, right? They're the big goons at the net who are supposed to stay at the net. Correct? 

Yes and no. 

In an ideal world, a blocker would never have to leave the net -- or peel, in volleyball vernacular. In the ideal world, a blocker stays at the net, and the defender covers whatever the...

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