AVP has a new partnership that might literally change beach volleyball.
One of the primary questions I get from the kids and parents I meet in beach volleyball is, “How do you get recruited?” For me, that’s a tricky question to answer. I don’t remember the rules or etiquette or timelines. Plus, beach volleyball wasn’t a scholarship sport when I was in college, so I, along with many AVP pros, have scant advice for aspiring collegiate beach players.
Now that I know what Beach Nation is doing for the kids in our sport, I can knowledgeably guide the question-askers to a Beach Nation clinic for answers and instruction. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. What is Beach Nation, and why is their partnership with the AVP worth caring about?
AVP staff and board members constantly keep their ears to the ground for opportunities to diversify, improve, and grow our sport. Beach Nation is the newest conduit to do so, and one with incredible promise. I really wish it existed when I was a kid. Here’s why:
First – the primary offerings of Beach Nation are their player and coaching clinics. In themselves, clinics are not a revolution, but the coaching philosophy and curriculum dreamed up by Beach Nation is absolutely revolutionary. Their motto is “skills, not drills.”
Their star-studded roster of coaches (which I’ll get to in a minute) work with kids in groups and individually, honing specific skills and emphasizing technique and volleyball IQ over reps.
The keen eyes of these coaching powerhouses pick up on the individualities of each athlete and tailor their instruction to the strengths and athletic abilities of each kid. The new school skill-focused reps plus the exceptionally knowledgable coaching staff make for game-changing results. Beach Nation’s max player to coach ratio is 8:1 – one coach per court plus a few rovers monitoring progress and pulling kids aside for custom instruction when needed.
Second – the coaching staff and leadership team are fire. This star-studded roster of impressive instructors deserves their own headlined clinics all over the country. They’re all at Beach Nation because they believe in the mission – growing the game from the ground level. Olympian and Cal Poly Head Coach Todd Rogers, MB Sand Founder Patty Dodd, FSU Head Coach Brooke Niles, Men’s National Team and UCLA Men’s Indoor Head Coach John Speraw, GCU Head Coach Kristen Rohr, FDU Head Coach Karl France, GSU Head Coach Beth Van Fleet… I could go on, but I have a word count here, folks. The Beach Nation philosophy draws in brilliant coaching minds because they all want what’s best for the game, and that’s what Beach Nation is doing.
With that list and all the many more I didn’t mention, Beach Nation participants get to play for some of the best college coaches in the country. They’re learning from them, getting to know them, and showing off their skills all in one go. That’s such a massive advantage to the kids that attend a Beach Nation clinic. Ultimately, all kids are trying to get noticed by college coaches and recruiters. At Beach Nation clinics, those people are watching you play and imparting their wisdom. Best of both worlds.
Third – Beach Nation also trains up coaches. During player clinics, coaching pupils shadow the big dogs, watching how they work and interact with the players. After training sessions, all coaches have round table discussions, going over the day’s events and offering a safe space to ask questions and grow. A Beach Nation clinic is the absolute best place for coaching neophytes to bask in a wealth of knowledge for a day or two. Our sport always needs more and better coaches.
Fourth – As I initially said, the recruiting information sessions for kids and parents are, in my opinion, worth the clinic price tag alone. Hearing from the top college coaches on the complicated rules and suggestions for getting recruited is invaluable, or as much as four years of tuition at a premier school costs.
These are the baseline highlights of Beach Nation, but their reach and impact go beyond a simple clinic. They’ve partnered with Starlings, a nonprofit volleyball club geared towards underserved communities, to start a Diversity and Inclusion program, led by John Kessel, formerly 30+ years as USAV leadership staff running clinics in over 60 nations and all 50 US states. Along with the efforts of AVPFirst, this partnership is set to provide better reach to the beach for diverse and underprivileged kids.
John Speraw, Bob Bertucci, and Karl France are heading up the guys’ side, running two clinics this summer. They’ll be on grass so that beach, indoor, and grass volleyball players can all participate. The pipeline for male beach volleyball has far too long been neglected; Beach Nation is determined to provide more opportunities for the boys of beach volleyball.
So now you understand why this partnership means so much. The AVP and Beach Nation are made up of people who love this sport, who want to see girls and boys of every culture and background with the chance to play. The skills foundation they provide is fantastic, but it’s the Beach Nation leadership team’s passion, excellence, and dedication to the betterment of beach volleyball that does it for me.
Check out the schedule and sign up today for clinics starting as early as this weekend, June 3-5, in Phoenix, Arizona to experience the Beach Nation difference.