More than anything i feel that during the off season (summer) any player would benefit from playing outdoor volleyball more than any other conditioning/training. Whether it is just playing in the back yard/park/going to beach tournaments, playing in a sand league or receive training from a organized program like our beach team. If a player would commit to one summer of playing as much as possible in the sand..... when they went back indoor the game would be slowed down for them.
Once you play in the sand, in the wind, with only 2 players are covering the whole court, indoors feels like a more slowed down game. The player moves more easily on the court, their movements are more fluid and not to mention just one summer in the sand should improve their overall physical condition. This is not only my opinion but USA volleyball.
WHY BEACH VOLLEYBALL? Do you want to become a more complete volleyball player? Would you like to be a better passer? Develop better ball control? Improve your defense? Become a more effective and dynamic attacker? Do you want to return to the gym in the fall moving faster, jumping higher and playing with greater agility than you ever did before? If any of these results sound good to you then you should play and train for beach volleyball. Top coaches agree; in fact nearly every reputable collegiate coach in the country agrees - that beach volleyball is one of the best training methods known for improving your indoor performance and it's healthy and fun too!
Olympic gold medalist/Women's National Indoor Team Coach and beach legend Karch Kiraly recommends beach volleyball for indoor players. According to Karch: It's easier to take your outdoor skills into the gym than to bring your indoor skills outside. Simple reason. Beach volleyball forces you to have all the skills. That's why I think it's a good idea for indoor players to play on the beach. . . . Learning those skills can only help improve a player's indoor performance. All my years playing on the beach as a kid certainly helped my indoor game. If nothing else, a player's quickness and jump will be increased by playing on soft sand. Karch Kiraly,
USA Volleyball's John Kessel also recommends beach volleyball for improving your indoor game. John says that: The beach game is GREAT for improving your indoor skills/game. Whatever your weaknesses are, you get to work on them a ton. Unlike the 6 person game, you touch the ball in every rally, and with just two of you covering the court, you learn to read and anticipate much better. Dealing with the sun and wind helps you be more adaptable. Player height is less important outdoors where ball control and skill is more important. . . . John Kessel, USA Volleyball Director of Education, Grassroots, Disabled & Beach Volleyball.
Why is the beach game so effective in improving indoor performance? Mainly because you touch the ball on every play and play in difficult sun, sand and wind conditions that force you to learn good ball control. As Rich McLaughlin, head volleyball coach at Loyola Marymount University, explains:I have always told my players to play in games at the beach during the off season. It helps in so many ways. First, there are fewer [players] around that can bail out your mistakes. Playing at the beach works your ball control skills. It seems it's always the beach player who steps in from the back row to set the ball after one of those inspirational digs by the setter. Those transition plays win matches. The sand also helps your speed and agility. Indoors you'll expand your digging range and be quicker in pursuit of balls. A [beach player] can do it all out there & dash, hit, set, block and coaches love to have those types of athletes.
Now that the NCAA has approved sand volleyball as an official collegiate sport, college volleyball coaches increasingly are using beach volleyball training to improve even their indoor players. In fact the vast majority of women's collegiate sand volleyball players also compete on their college indoor teams and their collegiate coaches expressly recognize the benefits that sand volleyball has for their players's indoor game. John Cook, head coach of the University of Nebraska Women's Volleyball Program states: We feel there are many advantages to training in the sand and we have gone as far as building an indoor sand court at Nebraska. Not only can [the players] play on the sand, but we can train them there as well
So if you play indoor volleyball and want to dramatically improve your game, learn, practice and play beach volleyball. It's effective, healthy and fun! .