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Casey Patterson is known for, among a wide variety of elements of beach volleyball, his personality. He dances. Laughs. Talks more than your typical beach volleyball player -- sometimes, as was the case this past year at AVP Seattle, in the middle of a swing, when he wondered, audibly, what in the world Troy Field was doing when he dared to peel on Patterson.
It didn't end well for Field.
This might not seem to be like strategy in the typical sense of the word. That strategy is the Xs and Os -- who to serve and where, what defense to run, where to attack and how. Patterson employs plenty of that as well, and he discusses as much in the video below. But strategy, getting into an opponent's head and staying there, is, as the saying goes, chess, not checkers.
Sometimes it's taking an aggressive serve and missing, knowing full-well the risk you ran. It halts the rhythm and flow of a game. It disrupts. It works. And in Patterson's case, it has worked remarkably well, to the tune of 20 domestic victories and two overseas, as well as a berth into the 2016 Olympic Games with Jake Gibb.
Enjoy Casey Patterson's breakdown below on beach volleyball strategy. Take some notes. Maybe dance a little. Who knows? It might just work for you, too.
Casey Patterson: Let's put ourselves in the situation where we're probably serving cause they're siding out at will and we're on defense. A lot of times we overthink that because we feel like that has to be the answer. So maybe like that scenario there I got to serve super tough. Well, to be honest, the number one thing I do is I want to put that team in a position where they aren't comfortable or less comfortable. So let's say I haven't served middle from the indoor areas from like area one to area six. I haven't served that in the last set and a half. Maybe I'm going to do that. I'm going to give them something that they haven't seen for awhile or that I know they're not as confident in. I'm going to serve short sideline. I want to immediately throw a different -- Stafford Slick and I call that a wrinkle.
I'd call it something else, but that I liked wrinkle a lot with Stafford. You have to change the aura mentality and the feeling of the match with something different. And something that it's great that you do Mark is maybe that's time to hit a sky ball. You know what I mean? Like it's just something, even if it doesn't go in, it changes like the aura of the match. They're like, Oh, Skyball, okay. Everything changes: the timing of the guys watching your ball and going to pass their approach to stuff, everything is just thrown off a little bit and that's a wrinkle. So I think having those as the team to be able to implement when you don't feel like things are going your way, those work really well.
Mark Burik: How soon before you throw in a wrinkle or a change of strategy, like if somebody sides out three times in a row, four times in a row, do you have to go untouched?
Casey Patterson: I think it's, I think it's untouched scenario where they're three, four, five plays in a row were like, dude, let's, we gotta throw in a wrinkle. Okay. A lot of good guys, like John Hyden does a good job of keeping you on the hook. Like, Hey, you're kind of close, but not really. Like, he'll let you touch it or he'll hit it off you softly on purpose. Be like, yeah dude, keep serving me. You are, you're almost there. When in reality you're not. So he's playing the game. And so I think no with specific guys, there are different times to throw wrinkles. I think knowing your opponents is helpful in that scenario.
Mark Burik: Would you ever throw a wrinkle while you're winning? Like if something's working, you've gotten four digs in a row, you change it to keep them off balance or do you just keep hitting the money button?
Casey Patterson: For me, especially on serving, maybe not so much on offense, but on serving, I would throw in like, Hey, I've been bombing my jump serve. It's been working effectively, but we switched sides. Maybe I just throw a deep float that's a little bit high. That fills that time where they're using the ball quickly and making a decision. Now they'd have to prep their distance of their approach is different. Their pass trajectory is different. I feel like that that's a good time to throw in a wrinkle if you're winning.
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The five skill sections covered are:
Serve Receive & Passing
Ball Control And Emergency Technique