Athleticism, skill, and technique are all crucial aspects of beach volleyball which make the sport fun, challenging, and competitive. However, all players regardless of level can make these common mistakes which may cost them a point, a set or even a match. So, what are those common mistakes and more importantly how do we fix them? This guide will help you improve your game and consequently help you aid other players.
Here are the 5 most common mistakes in beach volleyball:
- Lack of Communication
- Lack of Movement/Effort
- Poor Ball Control
- Overreliance on Power
- Misunderstanding of/Not Adjusting to the Conditions
Lack of Communication
Effective and intentional communication is key in beach volleyball. A lot of successful partnerships, results and strategies are founded upon solid communication in which both players and all members of the team are on the same page. One common and controllable mistake is not talking enough with your partner or only taking in, what I call, ‘cheerleader style’. ‘Cheerleader communication’ is when partners only talk to encourage or support, which is important, but don’t provide tactical, actionable information. Saying ‘come on’ or ‘let’s just play better’ may be effective occasionally but providing intentional, strategic communication will be a lot more effective. Make sure to establish clear communication channels both on and off the court and have an understanding about what you and your partner need from one another.
Lack of Movement/Effort
This mistake is another aspect of beach volleyball that is fundamental to success and is also a controllable element of the game. Regardless of your skill level your effort can always be 100% of what you can offer. It is encouraging to others around you and puts you on a faster trajectory to success. Focused movement in beach volleyball is key as a player must be able to understand and predict the trajectory of the ball in a variety of situations. We must be able to adapt our movements to correspond with the flow and demands of the game. A common mistake that volleyball players make is not moving enough, especially during ‘off the ball’ moments. This can result in poor technique and/or timing and ultimately end up in a mistake or free points for the other team. To avoid making this mistake make sure you are learning and applying the correct footwork patterns. Consistent practice is key for creating effortless and effective movement via muscle memory.
Poor Ball Control
It is obvious that to play beach volleyball quality ball control is a must, especially in challenging conditions. This is normally a result of improper technique or lack of practice, again all aspects that we as players can control and therefore improve. Poor ball control can easily lead to an easy point for the opposing team and/or an immediate point lost. To avoid making this mistake ensure you are learning and applying the correct technique. Attending practices with a knowledgeable coach and/or filming your practices or games will help you see where your ball control is lacking. Practice each skill regularly to develop muscle memory for each one, practice in various scenarios so you get used to different conditions and challenges/pressure.
Over Reliance on Power
We all love the feeling of getting a clean kill, it feels good and looks impressive. However, rely on power too much is a common mistake of beach volleyball players. A player that relies on power or only focuses on swinging big may miss out on other important elements of the game for example placement shots, ball control, tactics, and strategy. To avoid falling into this trap ensure you are training all the skills in beach volleyball and make sure you practice the skills you aren’t as good at, so you feel more confident using them in a game. Use your power wisely when the situation calls for it.
Misunderstanding of/Not Adjusting to the Conditions
We all know that the weather can impact the game massively, whether it is scoring sun and heat, side-ways rain or 40mph, we have to able to adapt. It is a frustrating but essential skill to learn to be able to enjoy the game in all conditions. Make sure you are checking the weather and wind (direction and speed) consistently leading up to and during your practice, game or tournament. Being prepared for every weather condition will make it easier to adapt, practice in all conditions and learn then apply what works!
I hope that discussing some of these common volleyball mistakes helps you to realize that you are not alone in making them and that there are controllable actions to solve each of them!