One of the greatest plays I’ve seen in beach volleyball is also one that maybe only 50 other people were able to see live. I sat in the mostly-vacant bleachers at the FIVB’s event in Las Vegas, which was being put on and promoted by p1440.
On the court in front of me was my good bud, Tri Bourne, who was playing with Trevor Crabb for the bronze medal against Russia’s Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy. Bourne and Crabb were up 16-15 in the third set.
Earn one more point and the bronze medal was theirs.
Bourne served a float that hit the net and trickled over, getting maybe -- maybe -- to the one foot line. Against almost any team in the world, this is certain death. Ace, game, set, match, bronze medal. Thank you, come again. But this wasn’t just any team in the world -- this was Russia, currently one of the best teams in the world of beach volleyball, one of the only pairs who can regularly contend with Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum.
Krasilnikov bolted in, crawlingcrawlingcrawling then diving, passing the trickle serve up to Stoyanovskiy. He popped up, hit the set from Stoyanovskiy, and saved the match, one he and Stoyanovskiy would go on to win, 20-18, in the third set.
All because Krasilnikov passed the trickle serve.
Earlier this week, we had a question about how to pass trickle serves. I'd like to tweak that so it's not all about passing trickle serves, but just how to make your body and mind go for the ball when it hits the net and takes a different trajectory than you had initially anticipated.
The drill below will get your mind and body prepped not just to go for trickle serves -- but every single ball.
Our 60-day beach volleyball specific workout program, too, is proven to give you the strength and endurance needed to keep your legs strong, fresh, and able to make the push that Krasilnikov did deep into the third set at the end of a long tournament to pass the trickle serve.
Most beach volleyball players know the drill below as "the pit drill," though when I was first introduced to it by a man named Judd Smith, he dubbed it "scrambled eggs," because, well, it's Judd, and Judd's got his own way of doing things.
The concept, no matter what you call it, is the same. One person will stand at the net with a ball. Another person will stand in the middle of the court. The person with the ball with throw it anywhere -- left, right, short, deep. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that the defender goes and passes the ball back to the tosser. If you make a false move, it doesn't matter -- go for it anyway! As soon as the defender passes it to the person at the net, he or she will throw it in another direction -- and the defender needs to chase it down and pass it.
Do this for 10 reps.
It will honestly amaze you, what this drill will do for your ball control. You'll be setting better in transition, passing better, picking up more high lines and more cut shots. You'll be moving better.
But most important: You won't be giving up on plays. You'll train your mind to go pass the trickle serves. You'll train your mind to not care if you took a false step into the cut shot and the offensive player hit line. This drill teaches you, simply, to see ball, get ball. You'll go chase that high line down!
It's the most fundamental aspect of beach volleyball: Keep the ball from hitting the sand.
That's what this drill teaches you to do.
If you do want to know the best footwork to chase down those high lines, however, the video below is the perfect place to start.
Do I need to do this for 10 reps?
I say yes. You're not always going to be fresh in beach volleyball. In fact, you will rarely be fresh. This drill will teach you to play at a high level while tired, to go for balls that seem impossible even when you're tired.
The trickle serve that Krasilnikov passed was deep into the third set, at the end of a long tournament, in Las Vegas heat. Think he would have gotten that ball had he not trained when he was tired? No chance.
Implement this into your warm up and after you're finished playing.
Go pass those trickle serves!
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Included are diagrams and written explanations of the most important exercises that EVERY pro player does or has done at one point or another.
The five skill sections covered are:
Serve Receive & Passing
Ball Control And Emergency Technique