“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
It’s a cliché we hear often in life, not just in sports, yet when you get down to it, what in the world does it mean? In the beach volleyball world, you can hear this phrase on virtually every beach in the country, whether you’re strolling up and down the Hermosa Beach Strand or taking shelter under an umbrella – either for shade or rain – in St. Petersburg, Florida, or tipping back a cold one at a Texas bar.
Listen long enough and you'll hear it: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
It’s the essence of so much we do in this sport: Be quick with your feet when passing, but don’t hurry at the last minute. Be quick when getting to your point of preparation, but don’t hurry your approach. Be quick to begin moving towards your partner’s target passing area when you’re setting, but don’t hurry and get both you and your partner in trouble for overrunning it.
“It’s necessary for you to speed up at first so you are making your touches slow and controlled,” AVP professional beach volleyball player Brandon Joyner said. “People are a little slow to start their movements, which is making the rush through their touches. We want to make sure we’re making a quick movement at first, which will allow us to slow down when we’re making our touches.”
This mindset – be quick but don’t hurry – is crucial in the three aspects of our game: passing, setting, and attacking.
When passing, we must be quick to recognize that the ball is going to make us move in a certain direction, and me must be quick to respond to that observation. If the ball is being served down our line, we must be quick to shuffle over and be still and solid when it gets there, allowing us to make a strong platform that will increase our percentages of a quality pass.
“One thing you’ll pick up on very quickly if you’re doing this incorrectly is if you are not able to finish with your feet apart and strong,” Joyner said. “A lot of times if we are slow with our initial traction step, and we’re either going to finish with a crossover step where our shoulders are facing across the lines or we’re going to feel like we’re moving through this pass the entire time.”
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When setting, we must be quick to recognize that our partner is getting served, therefore allowing us to begin drifting towards the target passing area. This will allow us to make a comfortable step into the ball when we’re setting, rather than setting on the move.
“Once I see the pass, then I’m going to be quick so I can make the final movements slow and steady,” Joyner said. “It will give you control of your lower body.”
When approaching, we must be quick to pass – then immediately get to our point of preparation, or point of hesitation. Then, relaxed and controlled, we can make a strong, slow to fast approach that will have us jumping high and hitting hard.
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