photo by diglips of Misty May Treanor passing a volleyball
The pass in volleyball is usually one of the first things to practice
when learning how to play on the beach.
volleyball for the first time.
Its challenging enough to learn how to walk and run in the sand
much less perform skills like the pass in volleyball.
If you're one of those former indoor volleyball players that are in the
process of "getting your sand legs" here is a tip on how to pass a
volleyball on the beach that will help you improve your game.
This was one habit that took me a little time to get used to.
When I went from indoor volleyball to sand volleyball, it came naturally
to continue to do what I was trained to do indoors and that meant
I would pass the volleyball right up to the setter position, which is
right on the net.
And since we are trained to pass in volleyball as close to the net as
possible in indoor volleyball, it only comes naturally to want to do the
same in beach volleyball.
The problem is that the passer who receives the ball needs to allow
plenty of time for their partner to run and take three of four steps in
the sand to get into position to set the volleyball.
The setter is moving forward at a fast pace to get into position, and
before stopping they need to turn and get perpendicular to the net.
Since girls playing beach volleyball (tall ones especially) are
departing all the way from midcourt in order to get into position,
they need time to make all these movements without risking the chance
of becoming a tuna fish caught in the net.
Ideally you want to pass in volleyball so that it lands about three to
four feet off the net.
The ball should land between your serve receive starting position and
the net, which leaves plenty of room for your partner to get into
position and give you a great set that should put you about two feet off
As you and your partner's ability to pass in volleyball on the sand
improves, then both of you can make adjustments to your ideal serve
receive target area.
Another reason you want to keep the pass in volleyball off the net in
the sand is that depending on what side you are on, the wind will
become a factor.
If you pass the ball too close to the net, the wind will take it and blow
it over the net into the hands of the opposing team's blocker who won't
be able to thank you enough for giving them such an easy point.
One more thing before I go, for girls playing beach volleyball the
concept of passing the ball with your feet becomes very crucial when
you start to master the skill of passing on the beach.
As an indoor volleyball player coming to the sand, you want to avoid
becoming a "Tower of Pisa" that leans over to pass the ball.
I know this is one of the hardest things for indoor middle blockers to
have to learn, since middle blockers are usually not the primary
passers on their indoor volleyball teams.
The best part and the worst part of the game is learning how much you
need to use your legs to...
a) stay on top of the sand,
b) move you to get you into position behind the ball, and
c) to help you stay low to deliver a low pass to your intended target.
photo by diglips
You are one of only two players on either side of the court when
passing a volleyball on the sand. So it's important to line yourself
up on the court so you know where you are in relation to your
This means you should keep an eye out for where you are in serve
receive and in relation to the sideline closest to you and the service line
I was taught to be my height's distance away from the back line.
I'm six feet tall which means that I want to be about five to six feet into
the court from the service line before passing a volleyball.
This way, if a ball is served that comes at me that's above my waistline
and around my shoulder level then I know that the ball is more than
likely to be out of bounds.
Before the opposing server serves the ball I want to quickly check
where I am in relation to the sideline closest to me before I make a
mistake when passing a volleyball.
From the sideline closest to me, if I were to stick out my arm towards
the line, I would want to be several inches more than my arm's length
away, so that I know automatically where I am in the court and how
many lateral steps I need to take to pass a volleyball has been served
between me and that sideline.
By setting myself up in the court this way, I know how many steps it
takes me to get to either the sideline or the service line behind me.
Compared to the indoor game, when passing a volleyball on the
beach it should take me about a step and a half to get to my
These are basic guidelines to follow and of course there are adjustments
that are to be made based on your height, your speed, the wind, the
other team's tendencies as well as the type of serve the other team is
using (if the opposing team is jump serving for example).
But here I've given you the guidelines that many professional beach
volleyball players use as a starting point when passing a volleyball.
photo by diglips
Learn more about sand volleyball skills in the articles below...
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