The Ultimate Guide to Setting in Beach VolleyballMay 19, 2023
Setting in Beach Volleyball
Bump setting in beach volleyball is one of the most essential techniques you can master. It’s a relatively simple skill to conquer, that you need to have in your bag of tricks at all times. This guide will provide everything you need to know about setting in beach volleyball. We’ll take you through some important key points for setting in beach volleyball, show you how to practice setting effectively and give you examples of how to master setting so you can start taking those Wins!
Let’s get started by watching as Brandon shows us how to bump set while at one of our volleyball vacation camps in St Pete Beach, Florida.
Key Points to Remember:
1. Platform straight and hands together - This is a technique that should be the exact same as passing in beach volleyball. It is important that you hold your hand tight and keep your arms straight throughout the entire process of the set, just as you would the pass.
2. Net foot forward - When approaching the ball to set, you should think about getting your net foot forward. The reason we say ‘net foot’ is because throughout a play you may have your left foot or right foot forward depending on what side of the court you are on. There are two reasons why this is going to be important. First, it will allow you to develop a rhythm to your set because you will be moving from your back foot to your front foot, allowing your energy to end up on your front foot during contact. This rhythm will allow your set to be something you can replicate while also allowing your hitter to pick up on your rhythm which will make the set easier for them to get to. Second, it will allow you to accomplish beach volleyball setting key No. 3.
3. Square to Target - Unlike passing, where your shoulders should be square to the net, setting is going to be easiest when you are square to your target. You should always try to finish a set with your belly button facing your attacker. If you are able to be square while setting then you have made the skill as easy as you can relying on a straight pass/set.
What is a set in beach volleyball?
The set is going to be the second touch in a rally. Most of the time, whenever I'm coaching somebody, it looks like they think that their job is just to touch the ball second and then their partner should touch the ball third. That is not the case. Whenever you step on the volleyball court, you need to think of yourself as being a setter, not a second ball "toucher".
What that means is that you need to put thought into each touch that you are making. This goes for passing, setting or attacking. Right now with this course, we're going to be focusing on setting so whenever that ball gets served across the net and your partner passes the ball as you are approaching to make your set, there are a couple things that you should be thinking about.
One: Where should your body be before you were actually going to make this set?
Two: What type of set is your attacker looking for?
Three: What should your finish look like before your attacker actually performs the skill of attacking whenever you are, not the one receiving a serve. Make sure that you get into a mindset quickly of being a setter and have a purpose with that touch, rather than just running around and making sure that you've touched that second ball. Let's put up a good hittable set.
If you're interested in this blog on setting in beach volleyball, you may want to take a look at our Complete Player Program to really dive into!
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Beginner Hand Set
When working on hand setting, you are going to go through our basic footwork drill, whereas you’ll have a self-toss, off foot-net foot-set. If the net is on my left side, then my left step is my last forward step. It's going to be a self-toss -- a small six-inch toss, with the footwork being right, left, stand, and set. We want long contacts. We want to have the ball long but always going up, so allow your hands to melt and relax.
We're going to be setting a normal hand set, often in front of us, and then one hand set slightly behind us. If the wind carries this ball behind us, then there’s a large chance we will double or lift. It is important to stay behind the ball and then rock forward.
Now without a ball, try to do the rocker step backwards, then forward. You can also do it sideways then forward. That little rocker step is going to allow you to make those late adjustments, but again it's always two steps ending; off foot - net foot.
Footwork For Setting in Beach Volleyball
This next piece of footwork is our setting footwork. It's off foot, net foot, set, or what we like to call a dip, dip and lift. The important part to remember for this piece of footwork is that when we're setting, we'd like to have our net foot forward. The theory is that this prevents us from over setting since our natural square is going to be just a little bit off the net, but it also gives us the same routine to do before every set, and if we have the same routine or same process, we get more accurate over time.
Similar to an NBA player who's shooting a foul shot, they're going to have the same routine. We can do that in the midst of a point so that we have a rhythm and an established routine to perform that skill.
My off foot goes first, then my net foot. I'm dipped in this low position, and then I extend - so it's dip, dip and lift. If I'm setting from the opposite side, it's going to be the opposite foot work. We’ll show you a few clips of this in action at the end of this video so you can see the footwork that all the pros use.
AVP pros Brandon Joyner and Mark Burik in this training video demonstrate proper beach volleyball setting technique when dealing with the wind on either side of the net.
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Setting in the wind in beach volleyball
The video that you're about to watch is an example of a lesson from our setting course. This specific video talks about how to set in the wind. If you like this video, then please check out the rest of our courses which are live now and our memberships page.
One of the easiest ways for you to get in trouble as a setter is not knowing how to deal with different types of winds. Obviously, winds can come from all different directions, whether it's a headwind, which means that it will come at you almost like it's coming at the net or going the other direction towards the net on your side. It can also be a cross court wind, where you are setting into the wind, or it can be a cross-court wind where you're setting with the wind.
You need to understand that if you start thinking about the wind as being a punishment, then setting is always going to be very difficult. But if you start to think about the wind as being something that you're going to use to make a great set, then it's going to be something that'll be a little bit easier for you to think about.
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I am currently standing on the South side of the beach volleyball court. The other side of the net is the North side of the court. If we're dealing with a wind that is coming from the North to the South, then that means that every time that I'm setting, I'm going to have to be pushing the ball into the wind. This is important to realize because it's almost going to feel like I'm over setting every single ball that I'm dealing with, but I need to realize that that wind is going to push this ball back. So I know that the game of volleyball is very difficult already, but we need to start thinking about this wind with every single touch that we make, and it has to be a split second decision, right?
As you are going to make this touch, you need to realize where is this wind coming from. Right now it's going North to South so I need to push this ball a little bit tighter to the net because the wind is going to push it off. If we think about the wind coming from the South and going towards the North, then that means that the wind is going to be helping me. If I'm pushing the ball with the wind, then that means that I need to aim about five feet off the net because the wind is going to bring this ball closer to the net for my attacker.
So as I'm going, I'm going to make sure that I lift this ball and I'm thinking about aiming five feet off the net, knowing that that wind is going to push that ball closer to the net.
Setting with a cross-wind in beach volleyball
Another type of wind that you are probably going to have to deal with is a cross-wind. Here, it is really important to try to find a way to put top spin on this ball because if you put topspin on this ball, then that ball is going to cut through that wind and it's not going to hang up there and get blown back.
So if you are pushing the ball into the wind, we want to think about rolling this ball off of our hands, allowing it to cut through because the distance between you and your attacker still has to remain the same. We can't use 'the wind pushed it inside' as an excuse.
Now that we've switched sides, and now the wind is still coming from the West to the East, because that's the one that we deal with in California. I need to think about now the wind is going to help me make this set. Normally, I would set this right side attacker where they are five feet from the sidelines, then I need to lift this ball in the air. We do not want spin on this ball because we want the ball to be taken by the wind and if we have spin on it, then it's still going to be cutting through that wind.
Whenever you're setting with the wind, you want to think about lifting this ball and allowing the wind to do the job for you. So if I'm trying to get this ball to land five feet from the sideline, then I'm going to lift my set to aim to where the set maybe is going to land eight to 10 feet from the sideline, knowing that this wind is going to push that ball closer to the side. Whatever wind you are dealing with, you need to realize, is the wind fighting against me as a setter or is it helping me as a setter?
Those are two of the types of winds that you are most likely going to be dealing with, and as long as you understand what type of wind you're dealing with, when you are making that touch, then you're going to be able to put yourself into the position to make the best set possible.
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How tight should we set in beach volleyball?
We run into this topic a lot during our classes and it's about how tight we should set the ball. How far are the best beach volleyball players in the world are off the net when they're hitting?
Shorter players usually say that they need the ball tighter in order to be effective. The problem with this mentality is that if you ask somebody to set you one, maybe two feet off the net, there is going to be a range of errors and we will know all about it on this video clip analysis by Mark Burik.
Our recommendation is to make sure that you stop asking for tight sets. Make sure you keep yourself away from the net so you will get blocked less, and you will get more kills. That is your quick little lesson on how far should we set from the net.
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Speed Up To Slow Down in Beach Volleyball
There will be a lot of situations in Beach Volleyball where you have to rush in order to slow down. We'd like to be in places or position ourselves very early so that we can make calmer and softer plays later.
A lot of this happens in defense. We want to rush back to our spot, but sometimes in the midst of just setting, we're going to have to rush somewhere and then have a long, slow, calm contact. Some players do this by exhaling just before they set, and some players are just very good at teaching themselves to slow down for the contact.
So, if we're in a rushed situation and we have to chase a ball across the court, we want the last movement to be slow. Even if we’re moving quickly, we have to do it early and then we slow down for the contact, and that's going to create more consistency and it's going to create more comfort for our hitter who sees the contact happening early. The same thing goes if we need to dive while pursuing a ball, we can still slow ourselves down and control the fall.
We'd like to be in places early so that we can have slow contact in the end, and again, we're going to use that same setting footwork. For this example, we are going to rush but we’re still going to end with our net foot forward, so if we’re in a panic situation, we’re going to rush and then long set so that we still get our off foot net foot rhythm.
How to set for a crappy passer in beach volleyball
Setting is more important than passing. You might have somebody who shanks every ball, but so long as he doesn't get aced your set or can get your teams back in system and get you back into the kill zone. If you have a good passer and a crappy setter, that setter is going to screw up every play and your attacker's not going to be able to score points.
Setting is more important than passing and you need to have it in your arsenal. In this course, we're going to go over hand setting and bump setting, why you should learn both, and when you should use each one. We're going to teach you how to set in perfect positions and we're going to teach you how to set when you're out of system and you're in imperfect positions. In our complete setting course, we're going to teach you how to find your hitter's best set.
We're going to talk about setting rhythm, what it is and why it's so crucial to your success. You cannot succeed without excellent setting, period. If you don't feel confident in your hands or your ability to create a hittable ball, you're always getting called for doubles. If you frequently overset or if you feel like no hitter that you play with is ever good enough or that you really don't match each other, you should check out your setting and make sure that it's on point. Our complete setting course is going to be the answer for you to get to the top of tournaments and make sure that you can play with every single player out there. Remember that the fastest way to playing on a next level court is being an excellent center. Every single hitter in the world loves playing with an awesome set. Join our Setting Course. See what I'm talking about.
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