In 2014, when the NCAA approved beach volleyball as a championship sport, elevating it from its previous status as an “emerging sport,” there was no telling the immediate and vast impact it would have at the grassroots level.
Just seven years later, 148 schools sponsored beach volleyball programs: 62 Division I, 16 Division II, 5 Division III, 20 NAIA, 36 CCCAA, 9 NJCAA.
The result? Volleyball is now the most played sport by girls and young women in the United States.
With how quickly the sport has changed the landscape of the NCAA, and with how many programs are added every year, it begs the question: How do you get recruited to play NCAA beach volleyball? As with any sport, there is no single answer. But there is a progression you can take, whether you’re a junior in high school or an incoming freshman, that will get you on the map.
“Colleges are starting the recruiting process earlier and earlier,” said Jo Kremer, a current professional player on the...
There’s a trait worth noting when taking inventory of some of the best offensive players in beach volleyball, namely Phil Dalhausser and Karch Kiraly: They’re goofy-footed.
Goofy-footed is a term not often associated with positive thoughts. Coaches immediately try to “fix” the condition, in fear that it might become permanent. Players are constantly taught that one approach, and one approach only, is the correct one. But to see that Dalhausser and Kiraly, perhaps the two best American players of all-time, are both goofy-footed, it would be impossible to argue that you cannot succeed with a goofy-footed approach.
Dalhausser and Kiraly, after all, have both notched more than 100 wins and are the owners of five Olympic gold medals.
Avery Drost does not have 100 wins, nor does he have a gold medal, but he is currently one of the best players in the game who is using a goofy-footed approach, alongside Troy Field and Russian blocker and 2021 Olympic silver medalist...
The very personification of this week’s video on on-two attacking in beach volleyball was being played out on Friday morning – evening in Cagliari, Italy – in the final round of pool play of the World Tour Finals. On the court were Canadians and World Champions Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan, and Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil.
It’s a matchup that features virtually every type of on-two attacking in beach volleyball, from the right-hander on the left side (that’s Claes) to the lefty on the right (Pavan) to the sneaky over on-twos, either via dumping in front or back-setting (Sponcil). It featured aggressive options, placement options, sneaky options and poke options.
It featured the way that beach volleyball is going, with a heavy dose of on-two attacking and much less frequent traditional style.
It’s been going this way for some time now. Tri Bourne and John Hyden were one of the first to use...
John Mayer and Billy Allen are two of the most brilliant minds in beach volleyball. Fortunately for the beach volleyball community, the two host a beach volleyball podcast, Coach Your Brains Out, breaking down, essentially, how to improve in the most efficient ways possible. Frequently they’ll open up the podcast to questions from fans, one of which was: What is the most underrated skill in beach volleyball?
Mayer’s answer: The short serve.
The short serve is one of the most deadly – and risk-free – skills in beach volleyball. There is little that is sexy about the short serve: It doesn’t come with pace; the point is actually that it doesn’t come with pace. It doesn’t blow anyone up. It isn’t flashy.
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But it is one of the easiest ways to throw a team off its offensive rhythm. When you serve a...
With a sweep of gold medals in the Netherlands on Sunday afternoon – Troy Field and Miles Evans, and Delaney Mewhirter and Terese Cannon – off-season is, alas, upon the professional beach volleyball world.
But off-season also means something else: It’s camp season.
In less than two months, Better at Beach is returning to host its popular week-long camps, featuring a full team of professional coaches to help players of all levels, from beginner to open, have an unforgettable beach volleyball experience.
“Our camps are all about getting better and improving so we dedicate ourselves to coaching a lot,” AVP professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik said. “You get a lot of reps and a lot of touches. You can come to our beach volleyball camps wherever you are. If you’re a beginner, we’re going to put you on the beginner court. If you’re a B player, you’re going to be surrounded by B opponents. If you’re an open...
We're different. We're the weirdos, the unconventional ones. We give blockers nightmares and, for whatever reason, are almost always the wristiest ones on the beach. You think you have a read on us, but you don't, because that angle we were showing just became a line chisel. We're in short supply but in high demand.
We're the lefties.
Being left-handed on the beach is, in my opinion, a tremendous advantage. First and foremost, we're on the right side of the rule of supply and demand: There are so few of us, yet we always present an additional threat. Being left-handed gives you a built-in edge, the threat of not one option, but two. It gives defenses a different look and a completely new arsenal of threats on offense.
But to unlock all of the tools and advantages of being left-handed, you first must understand how to properly make use of everything before you.
Currently, I'm in Sofia,...
HERMOSA BEACH, California – To watch Trevor Crabb play beach volleyball from 2013-2017 was to witness a master class in the art of hitting the high line shot. Not just the high line, actually: Crabb, a right-handed left-side player, would hit every variation of a line shot you could imagine. He’d hit high lines. He’d chisel low lines. He’d hit short lines and fast lines and he’d occasionally even bounce line.
“50 shades of line,” Casey Patterson once quipped on a livestream when Crabb was competing in a country quota in The Netherlands.
It’s a devastating shot, the line. Even when everyone knew Crabb was going to be hitting some variation of a line shot, few could stop it consistently enough to beat him. When we master the high line shot, it opens up a wealth of other offensive opportunities. If the defender is now shading towards the line, we have an open cut or high angle; if the defender shifts back, our line opens up once more.
The best defense in beach volleyball, according to Reid Priddy, a man who knows an awful lot about defense in beach volleyball, is not actual defense. It has nothing to do with running down line shots or how to properly dig a hard driven. It isn’t about positioning or footwork. It isn’t about blocking, where to put your hands and how to time it.
The best defense in beach volleyball is the jump serve.
At any level of the game, if the opposing team is in system -- in system meaning: They’ve made a pass to where they want, and can run the set they want -- they have a significantly higher side out percentage than if they are not. But if they’re out of system? If the serve has forced them to pass behind them or to the left or right?
Now we’re talking.
A good float serve can do the trick, yes. But if any of you were watching the most recent Manhattan Beach Open, won by Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb -- and previously won by Reid Priddy and Trevor Crabb --...
To watch Evandro Goncalves serve is to witness the obvious power of a jump serve. The Brazilian has been named the best server in the world for five straight years for a reason: He simply overpowers opponents with a massive grenade launcher of a jump serve.
Yet most of us are not Evandro Goncalves. Most of us are human, carrying standard human shoulders that are not weapons of war. Most of us have to resort to more subtle serves – yet if we do them right, they’re just as dangerous.
John Mayer, currently the head beach volleyball coach at Loyola Marymount, has called the short serve the most under-used skill in beach volleyball. Why? It’s a low risk, high reward serve that can produce points in abundance while also tiring your opponents out, forcing them to sprint to the net, pass, retreat to their point of hesitation, then attack. Do this throughout an entire match, and what you’ll get is an exhausted opponent whose offensive rhythm has been thoroughly thrown...
There are a lot of great volleyball coaches out there. Think Stein Metzger, Dain Blanton, Jenny Johnson Jordan, John Mayer, Betsi Flint, Mark Burik, Brooke Niles, Brandon Joyner -- the list could go on and on and on.
There are also a lot of not so great volleyball coaches out there, but we're not going to name names. We're just going to leave it at the fact that we're all human and, well, sometimes those human fallacies become very apparent when we're coaching. But if you'd like to join the first list, the one with some of the best coaches in the country currently, here are the seven deadly sins of volleyball coaches you'll want to avoid.
Have you ever watched your favorite football team -- say, the Baltimore Ravens -- and explode off your coach, screaming obscenities at Lamar Jackson for throwing an interception in the AFC Championship Game? (me neither...)
How could he not see the defensive back?
Didn't he see JK Dobbins wide open in the...
Included are diagrams and written explanations of the 36 MOST IMPORTANT EXERCISES you NEED to win more matches!
Get the all the keys and drills for:
Serve & Serve Receive
Bump Setting & Hand Setting
Attacking, Spacing, Vision & Swing Mechanics
Defense + Blocking & Peeling
Ball Control & Emergency Technique
Game Situations & Competitive Drills