Around the World of Volleyball
- Written by Super User
- Category: weblog
Indoor versus beach volleyball…while the two may seem similar to the outside observer, those who have played both know that they’re anything but. Making the transition from indoor to the beach is a route many players have taken and in the case of AVP player Brittany Hochevar, is something that she does every season.
Hochevar plays beach domestically during the summer months and then travels overseas for the winter where she plays professionally indoors. Hochevar says that her transitions get faster every time, but the initial transition from indoor to the beach was by far the longest and most challenging. Hochevar’s teammate, Angie Akers, played college indoor for Notre Dame before finding a home in beach volleyball.
The duo took time from their busy tour schedules to provide avp.com with some tips for players looking to make “the transition.”
- Find team chemistry and be fundamentally sound
One of the main differences between indoor and beach volleyball is the number of people on the court. In the indoor game, there are six people and players have more defined positions to highlight their best skills. However, on the beach there are just two, meaning communication and team chemistry must be present at all times for a team to be successful. Beach players have to be fundamentally sound.
“When there’s only two of you covering the court, players need to be able to perform every skill with confidence which boils down to ball control,” Akers says. “The most successful beach players in the world have excellent ball control.”
- Getting used to playing in the sand
Players describe the change in the playing surface from hard floor to sand as one of the most frustrating parts of making the transition. Hochevar says that the process of acquiring “sand legs” can be long and tiring as the body has to adjust to the push-pull of the shifting sand. This in turn modifies the way basic skills, such as doing an attack approach, can be performed.
“Indoor, you want your momentum to come from the body through the jump,” Hochevar says. “The hard surface allows for a higher jump and a longer hang time, but on the beach you don’t have that same momentum so you must get your feet to the ball first.”
- Taking on Mother Nature
Unlike indoor players, beach players must always be aware of weather elements and how they can affect playing.
“Just the addition of a little wind can drastically increase the difficulty of play,” explains Akers. “There’s no way around it. New players must get out there and get experience in the wind and learn how it changes the game.” Hochevar agrees that the mental and physical demands wrought by sun, rain and wind can be strenuous on a new player who hasn’t had to deal with these things before.
- No substitute for experience
Even outstanding indoor players don’t usually become successful beach players right away. Hochevar describes the transition as a humbling experience because a player can’t compete as their highest level when they are just beginning.
“My advice for players transitioning is to get out and play as much as possible,” adds Akers. “It takes everyone time to make the transition successfully so get out and play with people who have more experience and learn what you can. Patience, persistence and a willingness to learn are the necessary assets to find a way into beach volleyball.”