As we enter into April, then sun starts setting later. The nights get longer, the temperature starts to peak into the high teens, and more and more evenings have that perfect stillness and warmth that gets beach volleyball players chomping at the bit. At the same time, indoor seasons‘ are coming to an end or getting to that stressful point of fighting for championships and fighting-off relegation.
The common thing between everyone is; the excitement to get onto the beach. We have spoken about excitement before in our blogs, when talking about mental toughness (how to get in the zone). We play our best volleyball when we are excited to play. So, today I want to explore how beach volleyball is better for our minds, bodies and soul than indoor volleyball. Maybe it is the change of scenery/environment, the return of nice weather, the freedom of playing outside, the difference of partnership rather than team dynamic and enjoy playing multiple aspects of the game. Today we look at all these and more and their effects on helping the return of joy and excitement after a long indoor season.
So, how can beach volleyball stir-up so many emotions of players waiting to get their toes back in the sand. After all the sports are very similar. It is played with the same techniques (although slightly adapted to make them more effective), the rules are the same (stop the ball from hitting your side, and put it on the opponents court), the net height is the same height (but on average players jump 10cm lower in sand than on a hard surface) and last but no means least, each court side is one meter shorter and narrower the balance the 2v2 format.
That was some of the facts, but I think it is much more than just the facts. It is a subtle blend of facts and emotions. Which, is why I eluded earlier than beach volleyball is more for the mind, body and soul than it’s indoor counterpart.
That holiday feeling
It is maybe a little obvious, but it shouldn’t be understated. Beach volleyball is simply a good-mood sport. Whether it’s being outside in the sun and get to stock up on all that vitamin D we missed out on during the winter or that every good lake has to have a beach volleyball court. Because what would a warm summers‘ day be without working up a sweat during an intense match and then jumping into the lake to cool off? Followed by some snacks, drinks and music; there you have your carefree holiday feeling. As an added bonus you also end up trading the annoying squeaking of trainers on indoor floors for a nice suntan, providing you don’t forget the sunscreen.
It only backs the thinking of why more and more people choose to take sporting holidays. For beginners and more advanced players alike, its difficult to try and think of another sport that can combine training, competition and the feeling of holiday better than beach volleyball. Here at TimeOut we do our best to provide the best of all worlds, so if you prefer to chill at the beach come to our Porec camps, if you’re more of a lake person look no further than Velden and Traunsee camps and if you want play all day and party long into the evenings while getting to know the other participants I personally always enjoy the vibe of Gars am Kamp and SportInsel camps.
Partner sports are more intense than team sports
Indoor volleyball can be very much about splitting the responsibilities between different positions (ect setter, middle blocker, libero) and even positional units (reception unit, attacking unit, blocking unit). Whereas, beach volleyball is very much about sharing responsibility, as between both players everything needs to be dealt with.
This creates a causational relationships for beach volleyball players, as one of the player will play the ball twice. Meaning, if I want a good set to attack, it starts with my own good reception/defence. For me, this means that the responsibility is always on yourself as well as your partner. With responsibility goes hand in hand with having value by being always involved and any achievements are made together. This helps build and develop trust with each other and if you and your partner overcome enough challenges together this is a sure fire way to create great synergy.
This is not always the case for indoor, as an opposite/middle blocker has no causation with the reception player and a libero/reception player has no causation with the set/setter if they set a different player. Meaning its very easy to become a bystander with indoor volleyball. It is very possible as a middle blocker to not have many touches and thus have no causation or feeling of responsibility. When the team is winning it can be hard to feel the value you contribute and when the team is losing it can be frustrating not to be able to help. This is why so many players delight in the chance to get on the beach and feel like they are contributing with their partner more so than with indoors (a sort of us vs the world), This mentality can also be achieved within the team dynamic of indoor volleyball but it takes a lot longer before everyone feels like they are in a role which is providing worth to the team.
Brains and Braun
In indoor the name of the game is POWER in attacks and in service. This is also advantageous for beach volleyball but it has a greater utility of nuisance than indoor. It is possible to be very successful in beach volleyball by having little tactical tricks and variation in your attacking, where as this is a much more difficult to do in indoor and be as successful. What I mean is this poker (bluff), cat a mouse game between the attacker and opponents block/defence. A perfectly played cut shot is incredibly effective and drives your opponent crazy because nothing is better than proving not only are you stronger than your opponent but also smarter.
There is also other variations such as, the line shot, rainbow shot and pokie. As we talked about in the interview with Lewie Lett, „volleyball is a game of angles“ and to perfect your game you should have as many angels to attack using these different attacking techniques. It is important to learn to understand your opponent’s game and also keep them guessing what you will do next. Powerful spikes are not always the most effective technique. Good vision and being able to shot the ball into space are often the more effective choice and, last but not least, by having more choices and possibilities it will help make your game more consistent.
Volleyball is all about jumping, and on an indoor floor your joints, especially your knees, can take a beating. In beach volleyball the sand helps cushion any impact from landing and diving on the ground. It even goes a step further by taking the stress off ligaments and tendons as unstable ground promotes the sub-conscious stabilising of the muscles in the feet, legs and torso to contract and absorb the energy better. Whereas on hard surfaces if not trained correctly the body will brace for landing and transfer the unabsorbed energy into the joints, ligaments and tendons.
We also cannot forget that running and moving in the sand has a higher energy demand, beach volleyball really is a workout and game combined into one. There is nothing more that we want from this fast-paced modern world, than to be efficient and if we can achieve 2 things a once it is only a WIN-WIN. That being said, there is much to say about the physical and psychological benefits of sport. Simply being in a better mood will lead to your body functioning better overall (energy, mood, even metabolism). As for all the positives mentioned so far, beach volleyball is really the best sport for mind, body and soul.
Volleyball in general has a difficult learning curve, but it is for sure made simpler in a 2v2 beach volleyball format than the complexities and responsibility splitting of 6v6 indoor volleyball. Just knowing that if you partner plays the the first ball, you have to get the second touch and if you play the first ball, you need to be ready to play the ball over the net. The big benefits are less worrying, thinking and more playing, which is great for getting through the first couple of stages of building up your volleyball game.
- keep the ball off the ground and play it over the net
- learning who should play the ball (indoor volleyball)
- how should you play the ball (which techniques)
- what to do when you do not have the ball
- bringing tatical elements and decision making into the game
At the start of the learning curve (in both beach and indoor) is always to concentrate on how you should the game be played, which is part 1. off the ground and over the net. Part 2 (who) & 3 (how) is often where indoor and beach can be different. Responsibilities are more clear on beach with 2v2 you can start quickly pass by learning who should play the ball and move quickly into how you should be playing the ball.
The simplicity of 2v2 is also beneficially in learning parts 4 & 5. As what you should do between the contacts and where you should go to attack or to stand for block/defence. Is made more clear by the responsibility being shared 50/50, left/right and front/back.
Don’t get me wrong it can still be tough to learn, but much easier than trying to do it in the faster pace indoor game. Where you also need to figure out rotations, position roles, and having a smaller margin of error before the ball is played between two people who do not know which one should play the ball.
So I hope you are all as excited as I am let the sunset on the 2021/2022 indoor season and get the 2022 beach season underway. Even if you are a beginner or never played before do not be worried about booking a camp as next week I will release some ideas of mine on how to get a head start as a beginner before coming on your 1st TimeOut Beach camp.