There has recently been increasing interest from players across all levels on how to switch between indoor and beach volleyball.
On professional level only few players have made the transition from indoor to beach volleyball successfully. Amongst them are Canadian Sarah Pavan and Dutchman Maarten van Garderen that both excelled at the 2017 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna.
When transitioning from indoor to beach volleyball, four aspects should be considered: Physique, Technique, Psychology and Environment.
Physcial aspects focus on core muscles and caridovascular fitness.
Playing in the sand is very demanding and to get accustomed to sand it is key to do some serious training in the sand. Jogging and especially sprinting in the sand can go a long way since beach volleyball requires short and intense movements in the sand. Developing “sand legs” allows movements in the sand to become natural and effortless.
In terms of technique, indoor volleyball players specialize in one position, e.g. the hitter or blocker.
By doing so, they do not fully develop other than their core skills such as spiking or blocking. In beach volleyball this isn’t a successful strategy since players have to be allrounders that are able to serve, pass, set, hit and defend. Only for blocking or defending, most (top) players specialize in one of both. That’s why players lacking certain skills should quickly improve their technique and become multidimensional.
There are some vital psychological aspects to consider when it comes to moving to beach volleyball.
With only two players on the beach, each player’s roles and responsibilities increase. Getting used to move the game to the middle of the court instead of the indoor “setter’s zone” requires training. Advanced players have learned to pass more in regard to the other team’s defense, but for beginners passing to the middle is a good start. An additional aspect to adjust to is that the player who received the ball is required to come to the setter instead of calling a set.
Moreover, there is some important relationship psychology coming into play. In a team of six players, individual personal conflicts do not represent a major threat to a team per se. In a beach volleyball team of only two, eroding trust and dysfunctional relationship will usually undermine team success and result in failure.
There are also environmental conditions like sun and wind that have to be taken into account.
Since beach volleyball is often played in plain sun, you wanna make sure to apply enough sun screen and drink lots of water. It is also important to have a balanced nutrition plan that compensates for the calories expended. To further protect yourself from the sun, you want to wear sunglasses with ultra-violet (UV) protection and optionally a hat. Sunglasses should have a UV coating and preferably polarized lenses to improve your vision on the beach.
Wind is an additional factor that comes into play when moving to the sand. Besides the serve, windy conditions also effect setting and hitting. With strong wind, you should reduce the height of your sets to lower the impact of the wind.
The transition from indoor to beach will take time and needs preparation, especially in physical and mental aspects. Watch this short video to be prepared for the move!