We're going to cover some advanced footwork and techniques you can use to level up your game and start winning some beach volleyball tournaments. This will be building on the foundation of the basic footwork we went over in the blog “How to Pass a Volleyball - Basic Footwork”.
What will be covered:
Sometimes, serves come at our chest, neck and heads -- quick!
There is no time to get behind the ball and rock forward. You are not allowed to use your fingers to set the first ball unless it's flawless (so don’t try it) and we’ve already said that tomahawks in serve receive are a big no-no, so what do you have left?
The drop-step is a crucial piece of footwork you have to learn if you want to start winning your indoor and beach volleyball tournaments.
Rather than getting handcuffed or taking a ball in the chest, your eyes have to quickly recognize where the ball is headed and, counter to popular belief, get your mid-line out of the way.
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Dropping your foot back quickly and opening your hips to the side of the court provides you the space to use your platform again.
Your feet will be facing the side of the court but the face of your platform and the direction of the tops of your shoulders will be able to stay towards the net.
This is relatively easy to train.
Ask your partner to lightly toss balls in a straight line at your eyes. Practice getting your torso out of the way and facing sideways so that your platform has space to operate. Check out the volleyball passing drill video below where we use most of the footwork we talked about in the last blog and all the moves we're teaching here. Love these tips and videos? Our Complete Player Program provides more in depth analysis and coaching to elevate not only your footwork but your entire game.
If you're just learning how to bump a volleyball or you're perfecting your serve receive for an upcoming CBVA or AVP America beach volleyball tournament, this video holds some great beach volleyball exercises that suit beginners and pros alike.
Short serves can be a devastating weapon for any server. Most beach volleyball players don’t see all of the advantages it can bring because it usually breaks a person’s attack but not always their pass. Still confused? Let’s dig a little into this method.
For the inexperienced player, this can be hard to pick up on. Many players can get to the short serve easy enough, but then they end up with half of an approach.
It doesn’t always feel like the serve is effective because it very rarely turns into an ace. However, if the short serve leads to a hitter who doesn’t have a full approach, it is a successful serve.
The most important concept to understand about receiving short serves is balance. You can get to a ball but if you end up contacting the ball in a reaching or bouncing action, you won’t have consistency.
If you can imagine putting one knee on the ground and picking a very heavy bench up off the ground, you are close to the visual we need to be able to pass the short ball.
If the short serve forces you to rush, you don’t want to get to the ball on two feet. This leads to a deep and unstable bouncing squat. Approach the ball low and slide one knee to the ground. You should be able to stay comfortable on your knee or stand as if you are holding a pizza box in front of you. You do not want to dive. You don’t want to jump into a squat and you don’t want to reach.
Get under the ball quickly with one knee up and one knee on the ground. The first step is paramount to receiving the short ball. The most efficient way to receive a short ball, which comes in handy when you are low on time, is the 1, 2, Kick to Kneel.
Your first step should be powerful and in the direction of where you will receive the ball. Once again, eyework and trajectory detection play a massive role in the quality of your first touch.
The second step will be just as quick and powerful. To receive a short ball on your left side, you should take the left step first and then the right step.
We like to exaggerate the next move with a kick. Your left foot will then kick forward sharply before planting on the ground. This quick front kick shoots your hips forward and under the ball, leaving your left (front) foot planted and your right knee steady on the ground with your torso slightly forward or straight up but not reaching.
Again, imagine being able to lift something heavy from your passing position.
Once under the ball and in a steady balance position, you should be able to rise with the pass without moving your platform angle. The angle should be set and the legs can lift the ball in this situation.
Again, we encourage getting your platform out early and moving to the ball as if you were carrying a pizza or a tray of champagne glasses. Get your angle set as you are moving, get your hips under the ball and one knee in the sand.
These advanced footwork techniques will help you improve your game. But it doesn't stop there. We'll be going over a few special situations in upcoming blogs to help you think through the "why" behind the recommendations. That way, you get to develop how professional players think.
Passing and footwork are foundational skills just like timing and approach for attacking a volleyball. Did you know that you can dig into FULL COURSES with one-on-one analysis and coaching? You can access all these "dimes" in our Complete Player Program. We take you step by step through the ins and outs of how to be your best in beach volleyball. 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, footwork and touch at our weekly online meetings. Yes, that means we look at YOUR videos and we coach YOU!
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