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Beach Volleyball

photo of blocking form


Hand Signals/ Blocking Calls

Hand signals are given by the non serving player and are hidden behind their back so only the serving player (her partner) can see them. The signals represent what area of the court the non serving player plans to take away with her block. Her right hand represents the other team's left side player. Her left hand represents the other team's right side player.

blocking hand signals

Beach Volleyball Blocking Calls

Pulling off the Net

When the other team produces a set that is too far off the net to provide a productive block, the blocker will quickly make the decision to pull off the net and play defense. Be sure to keep your eye on the ball the entire time you are pulling. When the other team is about to hit, stop, face the hitter and shuffle your feet in preparation for the dig. If you are still moving backwards while the other team is hitting, it will be very difficult to change direction and run down a short shot.

The blocker pulls to the side of the court she committed to blocking. If your teammate signaled she would block line on the other team's left side hitter, she will drop back to the right side of the court for defense when pulling off the net. For example, you've served the ball to the other team's left side player. Your partner is near the net, ready to block their line. You have swung over to the left side of the court to dig angle. Your blocker decides not to block and pulls straight back into the area of the court she has committed to defending (line). If she had committed to blocking angle on the left side player, you would be set up to dig line on the line on the right side of the court and your blocker/partner would pull back to dig the angle if she decides not to block.

Dave Counts Digging


Arms are strong and elbows are locked straight; fists point downward. Shoulders are high and pulled forward as the chest sinks back away from the fists. Arms don't swing, they stay solid. If you need to redirect the ball, it comes from the torso and the shoulders. For instance, a ball can be directed towards the right if the left shoulder squeezes up toward the neck and the right shoulder drops down; the torso turns to the right to guide the ball.

Where to Play Beach Volleyball Defense

Beach Volleyball Defense

passing volleyball on the beach



Direction of the Pass

In beach volleyball, we don't pass to the center or to the right side of the court. You'll want to pass straight ahead. Your partner will break for the net to receive your pass as soon as he/she is certain you are receiving the serve. Keep your pass low and controlled.

Serve Receive

Begin serve receive about 3/4 of the way back from the net or slightly less, hands out at ready position. You cannot take the pass with your hands on serve receive unless they are connected and solid. You may not double or lift the ball on contact. The player receiving the serve at an angel is responsible for passing their side of the court plus the middle of the court. Try to call the ball early. It helps to try to decide if you're taking it before the ball crosses the net.

learn to serve


Using the Wind

Learn how to use the wind to your advantage with Cindy Philips' free instructional video: http://getbeachdig.com/index_vid1.html

The Sky Ball Deomonstrated by Dave Counts

Serving on the Beach

learn to set on the beach


Bump Setting

When bump setting, square off facing the direction of the set and use your legs to make the ball float. Don't swing the arms. Consider what hand your partner hits with so you don't shoot it past their hitting arm.

learn to spike on the beach


Approach jump example with Larissa Franca of Brazil video courtesy of Dane Selznick at www.teamselz.com

Take a big right step to the ball (left handed players reverse this) as both arms come up high and straight behind the body, close with the left foot as you swing the arms forward and up, pressing with legs, then toes to lift you off the ground. With both arms in the air, begin to rotate the left arm down as the right arm continues back with an arched back. Then, pull the right arm forward; arm, head and upper stomach pull together, leading with elbow. Arm comes straight when contacting the ball. Wide fingers come over the top of the ball at the same time as the arm coming straight. It's very important to jump behind the ball so you can see the ball, the blocker and the court while hitting.

Approach Jump Tips From Bonnie's Living Room

Beach Volleyball Drills


Vollis is played one on one on a full court with side out scoring. Play is initiated with an underhand serve. No overhand serves are allowed. Vollis is designed for endurance and is good practice for reading shots. After you send it over on one, you have to get up quick to get into position and play defense. Only one touch is allowed and it must go over. See what vollis looks like: Beginners initiated with a coach's toss

Beach Volleyball Camp Drills

Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos Volleyball Camp, week one, various drills

Printable 4 Hour Beach Volleyball Practice (MS Word)

Looking at the Court with Coach, Brad Barber

I tell players as much as possible, you need to look at the court. You would be amazed at how may times in transition (during long
rallies) players are out of position. You can just shoot a 2nd shot to the open spot of the court because a player is way out of position if you just take a look.
Three Reasons to Take A Look
A. To see  who is out of position and how to take advantage of it.
B. To see what tendencies the other team has. 
C. To help your partner with his offense.

When should a player look at the opposition?  Right after the pass on service receive,  I glance and see what the player behind the blocker is doing. A lot of times, they are being lazy and giving away what their intentions. A good defender will hang out in the middle of the court as long as possible behind the blocker before he commits to his "move" to disguise his defense and make it harder for the team on offense to know where to shoot the ball.  So,  look at the back court player, completely ignore the blocker, and just focus on where the back court guy is going. Often he will try to fake you if he knows you are looking at him.  Then it becomes a cat and mouse game. Look quickly, focus back on the ball/set, then shoot where he's not. 

A well executed shot on top of a good look we be devastating. I've played entire matches without spiking one ball, just to see if I could do it and have done so several times  in AAA tourneys with great success. Teams will just stop serving you.

The more you look at the other team, the more you will learn their tendencies. Keep shooting away from their tendencies until they make a change.

Help Your Partner With His Offense
It's important to take a look at the other team's defensive positioning after setting your partner. Take a quick look, then tell him where to shoot.

Here's a drill  to help you practice "looking" on the beach.



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