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 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 a funny, exaggerated way of teaching both surfing and how to pass a volleyball.
One of the most common mistakes when it comes to passing a volleyball is that we're doing too much: we're waving our arms, leaning back; our feet are still moving, our mind is already thinking about our approach. We're doing 1,000 things and, yet, accomplishing nothing.
The easiest remedy is, in the wise words of Rudd: Do less.
"Once that ball hits you, let’s hold that finish," AVP professional beach volleyball player Brandon Joyner says. "Hold your ground."
Notice some of the language there: Once the ball hits you. It doesn't go the other way around. We're not hitting the ball; we're letting the ball do the work. A volleyball -- especially a Wilson volleyball -- carries a lot of energy. We rarely need to put additional energy into the ball to make it go where we want it to on the pass. Which is why when it comes to passing, simpler is better. Let the ball do the work. Let it hit you. Then hold your platform. No extra movement necessary.
"If you can think about letting the ball do the work after creating a strong angle, that’s something we can do whether we’re tired or not," Joyner says.
Letting the ball do the work will feel lazy. Letting the ball do the work will feel wrong, in a way. This is beach volleyball after all; it's supposed to be hard, isn't it?
Indeed, beach volleyball is hard. So let's make it easier on ourselves whenever we can.
Let the ball do the work.
Yes, there will be times where we have to work, and a lot, to pass the volleyball. But we want all of that work to come before the ball reaches us. We want our feet to get where we need them to be before we're passing. We want our platform to be out and extended and ready before the ball reaches us. And then, when the ball arrives, we want to let it do the work for us.
"Let's put ourselves in a position where we can hold that finish," Joyner says. It's a maxim repeated by many coaches, not just ours. You want to hold your finish once you pass, because where your arms end up is almost inevitably where the ball will go. So, if your arms are moving, swinging up or sideways as the ball is arriving, guess where the ball will go? Whatever direction you're swinging.
So do the work before the ball arrives. Get your feet where they need to be. Get your platform out early and hold it. Freeze it on contact.
And then, well, do less.
If you want to pass perfect every time, keep reading. We are going to help you pass with more accuracy, more consistency and more confidence! Get the positioning and the mechanics to control the first touch against any server, in any weather. You’ll also learn to develop a mindset that keeps you in the game so you can stay focused and win matches. All you have to do is sign up for our Online Coaching Program, The Elite Performers Tribe (http://www.betteratbeach.com/coaching) . We take you through the basics and then work all the way up to eyework and advanced mechanics so you pass every ball right where it needs to go!
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