If anybody had watched me walk my dog – a 140-pound timber wolf-malamute mix named Sam – when I was living in Navarre Beach, Fla. in 2014, it’s more than possible they’d have thought me to be insane. I wouldn’t just walk Sam, you see. I’d practice my approach footwork for spiking a volleyball: left, right, left-right. Then I’d do it again and again, obsessively correcting my approach.
The first time I picked up a beach volleyball was just a few months earlier. A man named Judd Smith noticed that my approach footwork for spiking a volleyball was, as it is known in the beach volleyball world, goofy. I’m left-handed, and instead of the standard left, right, left-right approach, I was doing the opposite: right, left, right-left.
Judd told me to correct it, and so, to fix it, I’d simply walk Sam the Wolfdog while practicing my approach footwork for spiking a volleyball instead.
Approach footwork in beach volleyball is a small, nuanced...
There is a great scene in the movie Rat Race, where the organizer of the race is going over the rules of a cross-country trek that will end at a locker filled with $2 million.
“The first one there keeps it all,” he says. “That’s it. Go. There’s only one rule. Are you ready? Here it is. There are no rules! Go!”
When it comes to hand setting in beach volleyball, it can sometimes feel that way. Does anybody really know what’s legal and what is not legal with hand-setting? Can anyone actually explain a double? Can a single person properly identify a lift? How do we know when a hit is hard-driven enough to take open-handed?
In many cases, particularly in player-reffed tournaments, rules are enforced on a “I know it when I see it” basis. Ask why they called a double, or a lift, and their explanation will be the supremely unhelpful “because it was a double (or lift).”
Watch enough beach volleyball on YouTube streams or...
When Reid Priddy was first making his transition from indoor to the beach, he did so leaving no stone unturned. “Hacking the beach,” he called it, which is the shortform version of saying: Nearing 40 years old, he was going to find the most efficient and effective way to climb the ranks as fast as a human being possibly could.
He did just that, winning the Manhattan Beach Open in 2019.
If you were to watch his practices in those early days, they may have looked a bit unconventional to you. Many times, for an hour, he’d set up cones down the lines, creating alleys on the left and right side. And he’d serve and he’d serve and he’d serve.
“Serving,” he said at a practice one morning, “is our first and best line of defense.”
You can have the biggest blocker in the world, the fastest defender on the planet. But when a team is consistently in system, the offense just has too many weapons, too much of an advantage, for the...
How to hit in beach volleyball is a complicated question to tackle. It involves quite a few steps, a whole mess of mechanics, timing, various skills, navigating nature’s elements, and jumping out of the sand to hit a ball floating in the air after bouncing off of someone else’s forearms.
All of that, and we haven’t even mentioned that there's a defender to avoid!
So, we’re going to break down how to spike a volleyball, one element at a time. Today’s element is this: Rotation.
Rotation is everything when it comes to generating power in a beach volleyball spike. While beach volleyball players do not actually ever throw a ball in a match, we do perform a throwing motion while we spike a volleyball.
Think of your favorite pitcher – Clayton Kershaw, perhaps, for the Dodgers fans among us? – or quarterback – Tom...
Whether someone is just learning how to play volleyball or has been playing for years, the most common question we get is "How high should I pass?' In the sand volleyball world, this question can be answered many different ways, but the information below should give you all the answers you're looking for!
If you're interested in this blog on beach volleyball serve receive and passing, you may want to take a look at our passing and serve receive course! We'd love to have you drop by one -- or more -- of our beach volleyball classes, private lessons and training camps for adults and juniors in Hermosa Beach, CA and Salt Lake City, Utah. We run volleyball vacations in exotic locations around the world. We can even run beach volleyball clinics for your group, club or team in your hometown! Send an email to [email protected]
At every level in beach volleyball -- from BB to co-ed to the ball at your local bar to the finals...
Peeling off the net may be one of the most underappreciated skills in beach volleyball. Yes, we all love the monster block. We all love the swat block. They look fantastic, are huge momentum plays, and are the fastest ways to score points in a beach volleyball tournament. Staying at...
Today we've got a little transition setting and offensive decision-making drill to help your beach volleyball game.
We're going to show you what we did here on my side of the court. I'm coaching here, we have four zones - two zones in the sharp sidelines, and two zones in the deep corners. This is how I measure it out on the beach volleyball court.
Go to the deep corner of the court and take two giant steps along the sideline towards the net. Now, take one step into the court dragging your foot to make a line in the sand. Face the net again and drag your foot until you get to the volleyball net. You should have a big rectangle on the sideline that starts at the net and goes to about two thirds depth into the court. You should do the same thing on the other sideline. You'll be left with two rectangle zones along the sidelines that are about 20 feet long and 3 feet wide. These are your "sharp sideline" zones.
The deep corner zones should then be about 6 feet by 3 feet or 2...
It's not only the setter's responsibility to put the hitter in a good position. Great attackers put themselves in a position after the pass where it's easy to set them a perfect ball -- and if you'd like the most effective, fastest way to become the best setter on the beach, give our setting course a try!
When you have great footwork, and you religiously create a great distance relationship between yourself, your hitter, and the volleyball net, it becomes more likely that you will score points.
I want you to take special notice, that none of what I...
One of the most formidable aspects of AVP pro, and Better at Beach CEO Mark Burik, beach volleyball skill sets is his serve. He has so many different types of serves it's a little difficult to count: jump serve, standing float, jump float, jump serve with side spin, jump serve with no spin. It's difficult for any player, at any level, to be comfortable passing, especially since he...
When AVP and FIVB beach volleyball players and coaches watch film, we hunt for tendencies, weaknesses, strategical flaws and opportunities to win. In any player tent, you'll see players studying film from past matches so they can keep tabs on what they have been working on AND exploit other teams. If you have never seen yourself play a full match, you are missing out. You might THINK you are doing something correctly but then you see the replay and... uh oh. Gyms have mirrors. Writers have drafts and editors. Athletes have video analysis.
In this video, I teach Bryce how to win more points using some simple strategy and key points that can take his game to the next level. I'm SURE this quick video session will help your game get better too! Sign Up for your own Video Analysis just like Bryce did and see for yourself what you can learn from a professional beach volleyball player.
Beach volleyball pro Mark Burik talks about Defense in this 1-on-1 video analysis...
Included are diagrams and written explanations of the 36 MOST IMPORTANT EXERCISES you NEED to win more matches!
Get the all the keys and drills for:
Serve & Serve Receive
Bump Setting & Hand Setting
Attacking, Spacing, Vision & Swing Mechanics
Defense + Blocking & Peeling
Ball Control & Emergency Technique
Game Situations & Competitive Drills