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Volleyball Tips: Why You Keep Missing the High Line Shot and 3 EASY ways to Fix It!

HERMOSA BEACH, California – To watch Trevor Crabb play beach volleyball from 2013-2017 was to witness a master class in the art of hitting the high line shot. Not just the high line, actually: Crabb, a right-handed left-side player, would hit every variation of a line shot you could imagine. He’d hit high lines. He’d chisel low lines. He’d hit short lines and fast lines and he’d occasionally even bounce line.

“50 shades of line,” Casey Patterson once quipped on a livestream when Crabb was competing in a country quota in The Netherlands.

It’s a devastating shot, the line. Even when everyone knew Crabb was going to be hitting some variation of a line shot, few could stop it consistently enough to beat him. When we master the high line shot, it opens up a wealth of other offensive opportunities. If the defender is now shading towards the line, we have an open cut or high angle; if the defender shifts back, our line opens up once more.

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How to Jump Serve in Volleyball | 3 EASY Drills to Help You Learn FAST!!

The best defense in beach volleyball, according to Reid Priddy, a man who knows an awful lot about defense in beach volleyball, is not actual defense. It has nothing to do with running down line shots or how to properly dig a hard driven. It isn’t about positioning or footwork. It isn’t about blocking, where to put your hands and how to time it.

The best defense in beach volleyball is the jump serve.

At any level of the game, if the opposing team is in system -- in system meaning: They’ve made a pass to where they want, and can run the set they want -- they have a significantly higher side out percentage than if they are not. But if they’re out of system? If the serve has forced them to pass behind them or to the left or right?

Now we’re talking.

A good float serve can do the trick, yes. But if any of you were watching the most recent Manhattan Beach Open, won by Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb -- and previously won by Reid Priddy and Trevor Crabb --...

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Volleyball Tips | Secrets to Passing the Short & Deep Serve

To watch Evandro Goncalves serve is to witness the obvious power of a jump serve. The Brazilian has been named the best server in the world for five straight years for a reason: He simply overpowers opponents with a massive grenade launcher of a jump serve.

Yet most of us are not Evandro Goncalves. Most of us are human, carrying standard human shoulders that are not weapons of war. Most of us have to resort to more subtle serves – yet if we do them right, they’re just as dangerous.

John Mayer, currently the head beach volleyball coach at Loyola Marymount, has called the short serve the most under-used skill in beach volleyball. Why? It’s a low risk, high reward serve that can produce points in abundance while also tiring your opponents out, forcing them to sprint to the net, pass, retreat to their point of hesitation, then attack. Do this throughout an entire match, and what you’ll get is an exhausted opponent whose offensive rhythm has been thoroughly thrown...

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7 Deadly Sins of Volleyball Coaches

There are a lot of great volleyball coaches out there. Think Stein Metzger, Dain Blanton, Jenny Johnson Jordan, John Mayer, Betsi Flint, Mark Burik, Brooke Niles, Brandon Joyner -- the list could go on and on and on. 

There are also a lot of not so great volleyball coaches out there, but we're not going to name names. We're just going to leave it at the fact that we're all human and, well, sometimes those human fallacies become very apparent when we're coaching. But if you'd like to join the first list, the one with some of the best coaches in the country currently, here are the seven deadly sins of volleyball coaches you'll want to avoid. 

1. Monday Morning Coach

Have you ever watched your favorite football team -- say, the Baltimore Ravens -- and explode off your coach, screaming obscenities at Lamar Jackson for throwing an interception in the AFC Championship Game? (me neither...)

How could he not see the defensive back? 

Didn't he see JK Dobbins wide open in the...

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Volleyball Digging | 3 SECRETS for Defense if You're Struggling to Make Great Digs on the Move

We're on the move in beach volleyball. A lot. And that's why we love it! There's only two players on the court, which leaves quite a bit of sand to cover. This is especially relevant for all of the beach volleyball defenders out there reading this, players who are constantly on the move but also constantly touching the ball. 

It begs the question: How do we accurately make digs while on the move? 

It's an excellent question. Many coaches will encourage you to be fully stopped, no matter what, whenever you're digging a volleyball. In a perfect world, this would be great. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world, and that idea is unrealistic at best, bad advice at worst. Because digging on the move isn't a bad thing. It's ok to be on the move. 

Sometimes it's even recommended!

"You don’t have to get stopped," AVP professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik said. "It’s ok to be on the move and keep your momentum going to your point of hesitation. If you do...

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Beach Volleyball Olympian Kelly Claes and Her Journey to the Tokyo Olympics

This weekend, at just 25 and 24 years old, Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil will officially become the youngest team in USA Volleyball history to compete in an Olympic Games. They will do so after a miraculous come-from-behind run that saw them win two gold medals in the final two events of the Olympic qualification process. They will do so after passing the GOAT, Kerri Walsh Jennings.

And in doing so, they will become the faces young beach volleyball players look to as their newest role models, as Claes and Sponcil once did to Walsh Jennings and Misty May Treanor and April Ross, who is also competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

It begs the question: How did Claes and Sponcil become so good, so fast? How did they make the jump from college – Claes at USC, Sponcil at UCLA – to Olympians in a matter of, in Sponcil’s case, two years?

There is no simple answer, but Claes shed some light on her preparation process throughout the Olympic qualification period, and the...

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The EASY & SIMPLE Way to Know Where to Start Your Approach for Spiking a Volleyball

There is one main skill in beach volleyball that is noticed before almost any other: The spike. There has not been a single player in the history of beach volleyball who has looked at the other side of the net in fear because someone on the other team bump set well. Nor has anyone, as far as I can tell, been trembling because of a crisp line shot.

We notice spikes. Whether we want to or not, whether we care to spike hard or not, we just notice them, no different than how we notice dunks before we would a mid-range jumper. They’re spectacular, and everyone wants to spike a volleyball harder because of this (and because it’s the most effective way to score).

However, we have some news for you: Before you can spike a volleyball, you must make your approach. Your approach is 99 percent of spiking anyway.

You may as well learn where to start.

There are many different schools of thought on where to begin your approach, and there is no particular school of thought that you...

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AVP Coach Teaches Athletes the Secrets to a GREAT Volleyball Pass

One of the most helpful videos on YouTube when it comes to how to pass a volleyball actually has nothing to do with volleyball at all. It has nothing to do with passing, or footwork, or what to do with your platform, or any of the other minutiae of passing. 

It's surfing. 

It is an absolutely wonderful, laugh-till-you-cry scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Paul Rudd is teaching Jason Segel how to surf. It's absolutely hysterical. 

“Don’t try to do anything," Rudd says at the beginning of the lesson. "The less you do, the more you do.”  

When Segel practices popping up, Rudd waves him off. 

"Do less. Get down. Try it again."

So he does.

"Nope. Do less."

 One more time.

"You’re doing too much. Do less. Remember, don’t do anything. Nothing."

And then, exasperated, Segel does nothing at all. He simply lays on the board. 

"Well, you gotta do more than that. Just do it, feel, it pop up."

And that, my friends, is...

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How to Jump Higher for Volleyball: Ten Commandments for the Vertical Jump

An explosive, impressive vertical is one of the most coveted – if not the most coveted – physical skills in all of sport. It’s the reason we marvel at NBA players such as Blake Griffin, and ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ at the absurd bounces of volleyball players like Troy Field.

It’s why there’s an entire dunk contest that gets viewed by millions every year, and why we prize a thunderous swing in volleyball or dunk in basketball far more than a simple layup or line shot – despite them being worth the exact same amount of points.

There’s just something about jumping high that we love. And for good reason. In volleyball, jumping higher will allow you to tap into an entirely new dimension of your game. It’ll give you offensive angles you’ve never had before, allowing you to side out at a higher rate. It’ll make you a bigger presence at the net, making it more difficult for an opponent to hit a high line over you or...

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The COOLEST Volleyball Serve EVER! (How to Serve a Skyball)

The world’s reaction to the skyball serve when it got its first true glimpse of it, at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, was as you might expect: A blend of amusement, confusion, misunderstanding, and viral videos.

The casual viewer of beach volleyball didn’t understand why a serve hit straight into the air – by Adrian Carambula, in this case – was proving so difficult to pass. On the ESPN Show, Pardon the Interruption, Tony Kornheiser called it a middle school serve. It was a joke, a gimmick, a cute thing this diminutive Italian player did.

It is, in actuality, when done correctly, one of the deadliest serves in beach volleyball.

But why is the skyball serve so effective? And, more important, how do we even hit a skyball? 

If you’re reading this article on the skyball serve, you’ve likely tried it, or have had a friend who’s tried it. Chances are, you’ve hit it backwards, sideways, a full football field long. Maybe you've even...

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