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...
Set up an obstacle (3-4 feet tall) about 6 feet from the back line. We used garbage cans but you can use chairs, beach umbrellas, hurdles etc.
In order to start the drill, the serve must land behind the obstacle without touching it and in the court.
Remember, where the serve lands is not as important as how it crosses the receiver. Serving over a high obstacle ensures a flight path that forces a receiver to move backwards.
The serve is worth one point and a transition kill without taping is worth one point. The team needs 21 to finish the drill. You can see here that in between missed serves our blocker is set up to get high hands defensive reps...
Server misses = coach hit at other...
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Casey Patterson is known for, among a wide variety of elements of beach volleyball, his personality. He dances. Laughs. Talks more than your typical beach volleyball player -- sometimes, as was the case this past year at AVP Seattle, in the middle of a swing, when he wondered, audibly, what in the world Troy Field was doing when he dared to peel on Patterson.
It didn't end well for Field.
This might not seem to be like strategy in the typical sense of the word. That strategy is the Xs and Os -- who to serve and where, ...
The first time I touched a beach volleyball was in June of 2014. It was a blind draw fours tournament at a little bar off the Gulf of Mexico named Lagerhead’s. I was, as you might be able to guess, quite awful.
Regardless, a month later, I signed up for my first open tournament with my buddy, Shaun Rannals.
Keep in mind, at the time, an open tournament in the southeast was the equivalent of a AA, at best, in California. There was one legitimately open level team, Matt Blanke and JM Plummer, who remain two of my closest buds to this day. There were some other decent players – a teenage Evan Cory, who is now an athletic freak; JD Hamilton, one of my best friends, who was good but still had a long way to go (he has come that long way and then some); Derek Zimmermann, a former AVP main draw level player; Joey Keener, a ball control wizard and the most charismatic man on the planet.
The point I’m making is that it wasn’t quite as egregious as it sounds, a total...
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...
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...
You don't always need a full team to practice against in beach volleyball. Sometimes, as is the case with this drill for serving and defense in volleyball, you only need a ball, and one other partner.
Below, we describe the serve, dig, set, retreat transition drill.
This drill is excellent for just...
Can you tell me what you think is the most important position in baseball? For most, I'd expect the answer to be pitcher. History would say you're correct. So why is it so obvious that pitching is the most critical element of building a baseball team, but serving in beach volleyball is so routinely ignored? Or, if not ignored, not prioritized?
Serving is no different than...
Yes, the days of sideout beach volleyball, where you can only score when you're the serving team, are mostly over (except during the AVP main draws when the freeze is on). But that doesn't mean that defense in beach volleyball is any less important. The old sporting adage, 'defense wins championships' is as true as it has ever been. There's a reason that Phil Dalhausser and Nick...
It doesn't come in particularly fast. It isn't likely to make many, or any, Instagram highlights. It certainly isn't going to draw huge crowds at your beach volleyball tournament. But one of the most effective weapons in the game of beach volleyball is a float serve.
If you ask 100 professional beach volleyball players if they'd rather pass a float serve or a top-spin jump serve,...
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