Beach Volleyball Defense Drill: Four Steps to Paradise


If you're interested in this blog on serving 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'd also love to have you drop by one -- or more -- of our 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]

Defense is desire. You've heard that phrase, right? If not, do yourself a favor and watch this clip from Remember the Titans, because if you weren't ready to play defense before, well, you will be now. 

Defense in beach volleyball is similar to defense in many other sports: It's all about desire. How bad do you want it? Lebron James wouldn't have his infamous full-court chasedown block in game seven of the NBA finals without desire. 

In beach volleyball, we don't need to do a full-court chasedown block -- but you do have to want it. It's why we designed this drill: Four Steps to Paradise. 

It's a defensive drill for beach volleyball that also involves a fair amount of conditioning. You're going to get lots of reps, and you're also going to get plenty of reps when you're a little tired -- similar to how it'll be in a match. 

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Here's how it's done:

A defender is going to be placed in the angle, in a normal setup as if his blocker were calling line. There will be two hitters, one at each antenna. The defender will get hit at diagonally. After digging, he'll get to the next position by taking four steps (Crossover-Push-Plant-Plant) to the other diagonal. Those are the four steps to paradise. 

We're each going for ten digs in a row before you swap out for the next defender -- getting you plenty of reps and an elevated heart rate. 

Which is no problem if you have desire. That's what defense is, right? And if you want your legs to be as strong and fast as possible, check out our 60-day strength and conditioning program, which will have you digging more balls, running down more high lines, jumping higher, and hitting harder -- we guarantee it. 


DRILL NAME: Four Steps to Paradise

SKILL FOCUS: Defensive Footwork & Digging




STYLE: Repetition Based

DRILL EXPLANATION: Players 1,2, and 3 will all be on the South side of the net.  Player 1 is in the court facing the net. Players 2 and 3 are at each antenna facing endline’s diagonal corner.  

Player 1 is working on digging the ball in the cross court defense position looking at the diagonal hitter, and then completing a 4 step process to get to the next digging spot.  The steps should be crossover, step, plant, plant.

  1. Player 2 hits a ball at Player 1.
  2. Player 1 completes footwork to get to next position.
  3. Player 3 hits a ball at Player 1.
  4. Player 1 completes footwork to get to next position.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until defender digs 10 balls.
  6. Rotate Positions.
  7. Repeat Steps 1-5.


  • Get Stopped
  • Hands out in front
  • Dig higher that the antenna
  • 4 Steps to next position. (Crossover, Step, Plant, Plant)


While this drill can be considered a conditioning drill, it is important to practice the proper footwork! This is not a coach on 1, where the defender is just running around to get tired.  You need to concentrate on the correct footwork on every single movement. Movement>Conditioning.

These 4 steps should get you into a position where you DO NOT need to move in order to dig a hard driven ball.  You of course will need to react to the hit, but you should be completely stopped after your 4 steps. It is a common tendency to get “stopped” and then add in some small steps to get situated.  Try to eliminate these extra steps.

Our 20 Complete Practice Plans are designed for you to have a smooth practice with a centralized focus for each practices goal.  Each practice plan will come with drill explanations, drill videos, and a schedule for how long you should spend on each drill. All you have to do is show up to the court and motivate your team!  We have taken care of the rest! With these practice plans you can start your journey of getting Better At Beach today! The Practice Planning SuperPack - 50+ Practice Plans and Video Demonstrations


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If you want to become a digging machine, keep reading. We are going to help you master all of the defensive positioning, mechanics, reading and tactics for defenders. All you have to do is sign up for our Beach Volleyball Mastery. We also show you the right positioning and movement for every type of defense. THEN, we’ll show you when to use different defensive play calls to beat certain types of players. You’re going to learn how to flat-out SHUT ATTACKERS DOWN!

Once inside the membership, you’ll be able to unlock “Ultimate Defender: Skills, Drills and Strategies for Defenders" along with 9 more skill courses AND our 60 Day At-Home Max Vertical Jump Training Program

Once you sign up, you'll be able to watch the in-depth tutorials, film your “before” videos, start and film your at-home drills and begin posting to our Private Facebook Group. Then, our coaches will break down your mechanics and positioning at our weekly online meetings. Yes, that means we look at YOUR videos and we coach YOU!

Facebook Group CTA VolleyChat! Get Better at Beach Volleyball for posts about common questions/ problems >


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