The p1440 Developmental Program, while short-lived, was also one of the most formative training periods of my beach volleyball career. It’s sort of what I’d imagine competing on a men’s college team would be like. The levels between the players were relatively close, most of us being the upper AVP qualifier or lower main draw types. We talked a lot of trash in that brotherly kind of way where you outwardly loathed it but also undeniably enjoyed it. We competed. We were all poor but still found an inordinate amount of money to spend at Brother's Burritos.
It was awesome.
At the helm of the Dev Program, as we called it, was Marcio Sicoli. His name might ring a bell for a few of you. He coached Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor to gold in London, then coached Walsh Jennings and April Ross to bronze in Rio. He served as Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb’s first coach. He’s been coaching Pepperdine, one of the most historically powerful NCAA teams, since it launched its program.
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Under Sicoli was a cadre of Brazilian coaches: Leandro Pinhiero, Arthur Carvalho, Marcos Miranda, Dan Wainerach. Brazilians have a distinct style of coaching and training. Above all else -- above the constant feedback many coaches give, above film study, above lifting and stretching and perfect form -- Brazilian coaches value touches.
Lots of touches.
Tons of touches.
All of the touches.
Many of their drills will make their way into this Drill of the Week series. I give almost full credit to that staff, and their training style, for transforming me from a goon with little ball control to a player I’m not too humble to admit is usually one of the best passers and setters on any court I play.
Today, then, I will introduce you to the drill that opened up quite a few of our practices, a drill I’ll call the Brazilian Two-Touch.
If you want complete control over your platform and all things passing, our serve receive master class is excellent, and comes highly recommended!
A quick note, before we dive into Brazilian style training: Very few of their drills are game-like. It can be strange and difficult to wrap your mind around at first. But don’t let an obsession with things needing to be game-like or something you’d see in a match limit you from mentally engaging in drills. Take it from me: I stubbornly lollygagged through many of these quirky drills because they "weren’t real enough," until I saw my peers making ball control leaps and bounds and figured I may as well begin to engage.
In this drill, you’ll have one player at the net, and your partner in the angle. The player at the net will hit a down ball into the angle. The player who passed it will pass to himself – or herself – get under the ball, and bump set it back to their partner. Return to the angle and pass again. Do this 10 times, making sure you're square to your partner when you set it.
At first, I didn’t get this drill. Why would we practice passing the ball to ourselves? We’d never do that in a game, would we?
You are absolutely correct. I sincerely hope that you never pass to yourself in a game. Your partner would be less than pleased (it would be funny, though). But here’s what it’s teaching you: Platform control. You can use the Two-Touch drill for so many different things! Do five reps passing straight up and down, five passing to the right, five to the left. Work to get your hips around and square to your partner.
And guess what? Because you’re getting that second touch with the bump set, you’re getting double the reps on your platform.
If it helps, don’t think about these drills as situational; think about them as a game of how well you can control the ball off your platform. Because you know what comes in very handy during matches?
Controlling the ball off your platform.
If you learn to have enough platform control to manipulate the ball and steer it any direction you want, with varying heights and trajectories, you’re going to become a nightmare to play against, and an absolute delight to play with.
So go get some touches – some Brazilian Two-Touches.
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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.
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