Why More Indoor Players Need to Be on the Beach
Written By: Caitlin Ledoux, B.S. California State University Long Beach
Indoor volleyball has become a very specialized sport. Players frequently play one position and very rarely venture out to try others. This has many pros and cons, which will be further discussed in a future blog. Due to the fact the indoor season has become so skill specific, beach volleyball has become the perfect off-season training tool.
Beach volleyball’s main season is Summer after the Junior Olympics and Nationals. Most importantly, the season falls right before high school season. High school volleyball season is typically killer on teenage bodies. Athletes may practice five days a week for two to three hours at a time, and usually have some kind of conditioning on top of that. The conditioning that playing beach volleyball provides makes the transition into such a tough season much easier.
In beach volleyball, there are only two people on the court at a time. This therefore requires players to become adept at all aspects of the game; the taller players must learn to pass and the shorter players must learn to put the ball away. When there are only two people on the court, it is also harder to place blame on others. Players learn a new sense of responsibility and accountability that is often times missed in the indoor game. Another aspect of this responsibility is that players can change partners every tournament if desired; they are in charge of picking a partner and making the relationship work.
There are some differences in the rules between indoor and beach volleyball, which adds another layer to the mental aspect. One of the biggest differences is that there is no coaching allowed during the match. The players are on their own to work through a match with out relying on a coach to strategize and encourage. The players are required to communicate as a unit during play time and make their own decisions. Conflict and game plan changes are to be worked out during time outs or in between plays. Players that are not comfortable honestly and openly communicating with their partner will struggle. This practice of communication builds leaders on indoor teams!
One of the most key reasons why beach volleyball is such a wonderful off-season training tool is that it is played on the sand. This is not only a wonderful workout, but it is also good for the joints after a long indoor club season. The sand gives, so there is a minimized impact on the knees. This causes the body to use more muscles to stabilize and prevent injury than is required in indoor. It also gives shoulders a break. While there are typically more attempts per player on the sand compared to indoor, the swings are not as hard and are less frequent.
Lastly, beach volleyball provides a break to the hectic schedule of indoor. High school and club seasons take up almost ten month of the calendar year; this is mentally and physically challenging. Beach volleyball provides the players with a fun and exciting way to keep skills and conditioning in check while giving the brain a rest.
For all of the reasons listed above, and many more, beach volleyball is a fun tool that needs to be incorporated in more indoor volleyball players’ game. So grab a friend and bathing suit and get out there and play! Who doesn’t love a day at the beach??