The Seasons of Volley: Preseason


Updated by Kim Schuermann on January 5, 2023

As there are seasons of the year, seasons of love, and seasons of shows, there are three distinct beach volleyball seasons. Well… distinct-ish.

Preseason used to be January and February for AVP/FIVB (Tier 1) players and January-April for solely AVP players (Tiers 2-4). The regular Season was March-September for AVP/FIVB players and May-September for solely AVP athletes. That means Offseason was October-December for everyone, a nice three-month holiday break.

But after the pandemic, both the AVP and FIVB extended their seasons. The most recent AVP was just over a month ago. The first FIVB event is at the end of January 2023. Some athletes may play in both events, making their offseason relatively nonexistent. Athletes maintain the autonomy to choose for themselves, but competition is basically year-round nowadays. This means Offseason is arbitrary and dependent on the teams.

Most athletes in all Tiers start the first week of January. It’s largely considered Preseason, even by those who only took a couple of weeks off. For beach players, a couple of weeks can feel like a proper Offseason.

Tier 1 Athletes have to whip themselves into competition shape in less than half the time as Tiers 2-4, but that’s why they’re at the top. And let’s face it – although Offseason is a time for rest, beach volleyball players don’t stop being athletes. Some do full gym workouts, while others surf or play pickleball to get their sweat on. Most hike, bike, stretch, and do other active recovery activities. Preseason isn’t starting from ground zero.

But it is excruciatingly hard.

The first item on the to-do list is getting your sand legs back. There’s only one way to do that: trudging through sand.

Weeks 1 and 2 of practice are exhausting. Your legs are sore; your cardio is not where you left it. You’re pairing training with lifting. This may sound like a lot, but muscle-building and agility drills in the gym speed up recovery and build strength faster. It’s an overload, but jumping in with both feet is the best method to get back into it.

Everyone is getting their bearings in January. New teams are figuring each other out before the first tournament. Preexisitng partnerships are honing their individual skills, having one or two team practices weekly.

The first two weeks are elating and horrible at the same time. You’re doing what you love again, but exhaustion wrecks the rest of your life. Then there’s this magical day when you wake up and feel okay again. When everything falls back into place, when your body readjusts to the rigor and it feels doable. That comes about at the start of your third week of Preseason.

A hypothetical Week 3 Preseason schedule may look as follows:


Practice 8:30-10:30 am
Lift: 1-2:30 pm
Film/Team Meeting: 3-4 pm


Practice: 9-11 am
Conditioning/Agility: 1-2 pm
Rehab/Chiro/Physical Therapy: 3-4 pm




Practice 8:30-10:30 am
Lift: 1-2:30 pm
Film/Team Meeting: 3-4 pm


Practice: 9-11 am
Lift/Conditioning: 11:30-12:30

Saturday & Sunday:

Off and/or Rehab, Chiropractor, Physical Therapy

This is an imagined schedule. Some may have the same daily practice time; others may lift or condition less. Those with injuries need more rehab. Top athletes have sports psychologist meetings, sponsorship obligations, and nutritionists added to the list.

That’s the beauty of beach volleyball – we make our own schedules, and everyone does it differently. Beach athletes are empowered to maintain individualism and see to their needs at their own pace.

This schedule will look different if you don’t have a set partner. And that’s where the 1st Tier/international athletes really have it made. Athletes without set partners treat Preseason like a Tinder binge. You’re texting, practicing, and schmoozing your way to a partner for the Season.

Preseason is for testing the waters. Your Monday and Friday practices may be with Suzy, while your Tuesday and Thursday are with Kate. If chemistry with Suzy isn’t there, it’s time to work Hannah into the schedule. The rumor mill churns away during January and into February. Who picked up whom; who’s available? People are making pro/con lists and calculating points. It’s full marriage market time.

March and April are when most players make their final selection. Sometimes the relationship forms via text. When I played, I preferred a phone call. It felt mature and professional with relatively low stakes (though putting yourself out on a limb and risking rejection always involves stakes). Others are more formal and solidify partnerships via coffee and a chat.

It’s exactly like dating.

Once teams solidify, the two months leading to the first tournament are about stoking team chemistry. Maybe you work with a coach or start going to the same gym together. You watch film, work on plays, and do non-volleyball bonding activities. It’s an amicable honeymoon phase before tournaments, AVP points, and money are introduced.

Preseason naturally rolls into AVP Season, the timing of which we’ll find out shortly. For now, get your volleyball fix by tracking the athletes via Instagram and supporting their endeavors overseas.

Category: Beach Volleyball 101, Current Season, From Our Beach, Lifestyle

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