Beach volleyball is an incredible sport which brings people together from all over the world. It is filled with fun, sun and sand and many other athletes envy the chilled atmosphere beach volleyball is surrounded by. But despite the relaxed vibes beach volleyball is demanding on the mind and the body and just like any other sport injury prevention is crucial for longevity at any level. The sport requires a combination of strength, endurance, and agility. The intensity of the game is one of the reasons many people love to play beach volleyball, but it also heightens the risk of injury. Whether you’re an aspiring young professional or just starting out injury prevention should be a priority that is built into your daily routine. This blog will dive into some of the equipment, habits, and top tips for injury prevention in beach volleyball. Hopefully this information will help you understand what your body needs to prepare and recover effectively, whilst reducing the chance of injury. All these tips and the information provided here can be implemented daily, whether you are a recreational or competitive player. So, lets dive into the world of preparing your body to be healthy and injury free so we can enjoy the sport we all love.
Injury Prevention Equipment
Just like any other sport there is certain equipment that beach volleyball players can utilize to stay safe and healthy whilst playing. All this equipment can be purchased online and should always be kept in your rucksack, you never know when you might need it!
Sunglasses. Sunglasses are crucial for beach volleyball players. We spend a huge amount of time outside under the rath of the sun and harmful UV. Make sure you buy a quality, polarized pair of sunglasses that you always keep on you. We all know the weather can change in a moment, be prepared, and protect your eyes from the sun.
Athletic Tape. Although I am not a huge fan of just taping injuries for the sake of doing it, having some athletic tape in your bag is very handy. It can be used to support damaged fingers, tape down broken nails, or keep sand-burned elbows and knees clean.
Foam rollers, lacrosse ball and resistance bands. These pieces of gear are perfect for aiding in recovery and preventing injuries from happening. Foam rollers and lacrosse balls are great for releasing tension in muscles and increasing blood flow. A top tip is to do some dynamic movements before rolling out and stretching. This will reduce any lactic acid that has built up, relieve pain from muscle tension and prepare your body to be dynamic and flexible under pressure. Resistance bands are also great to add into this routine. They help prepare the muscles for specific, volleyball related movements which reduce the risk of injury. I love to use my leg and arm bands before every practice and game to properly prepare my body for the intense training it is about to go through.
Massage Gun. Massage guns are a relatively new but loved addition for a lot of beach volleyball players. There are many brands which sell smaller, portable versions with just as much power and ability to reduce muscle soreness and tension. It works by consistently applying deep pressure to areas of your choice to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow.
Investing in this simple equipment can make a significant difference to your physical safety and ability to stay injury free whilst training and playing. It will also help your performance regardless of your current level.
We all love the feeling of just rocking up to the beach and playing for hours, although tiring it feels effortless and yet many beach volleyball players will avoid doing an extra 30-45 mins of warm-up to get their body and minds prepared for action. Executing an intentional warm-up is one of the most effective ways to avoid injury. My top tip for an effective warm-up is listening to your body before you start. Does anything feel sore or fatigued? Are you experiencing pain anywhere? What did you do the day before, how will this affect your warm-up and performance? Asking these questions is a great way to understand and plan out exactly what your body needs before stepping onto the court to play. The answer may change daily or there may be parts of your warm-up that stay constant for a long time, everyone and everyday is different.
A common way to warm-up to prevent injuries is to cover all the muscle groups and movements that beach volleyball demands of the body. I love to start my warm-up with arm and leg bands. I do a variety of movements that mimic what I do on the court, and I use the band to provide resistance to work against. The band work does not need to be heavy, but it does need to be done in a smooth, controlled manner. Once this is completed, I recommend performing a dynamic warm up that incorporates flowing stretches that slowly builds in intensity. You should be breaking a sweat and breathing heavy after this dynamic section. Make sure to include sprints, jumps, shuffles, and lateral movements in this section to replicate movements you will do on the court.
Taking the time to intentionally warm-up before diving onto the court will aid your performance greatly as well as reducing the risk of injury. The better prepared we can be the better the outcomes will be on the court. Another top tip is to make your warm-ups are fun, incorporate things you enjoy so that you stay motivated to do them each time your toes tocuh the sand!
Active Recovery and Rest
If, like me, you’re addicted to volleyball, actively deciding to take time off can be more challenging than conditioning (I’d rather do the latter!). But rest and active recovery are undisputed key elements needed to perform at your best. Smaller injuries can start to build up due to fatigue and if rest and recovery are not prioritized alongside training in the sand and in the gym they can lead to much worse physical problems. A typically overlooked component of rest and recovery is getting enough quality sleep. Sleep is crucial for repairing damaged muscles and cognitive development. My tips for a great night’s sleep are as follows; keep your room cool and dark, 20 degrees Celsius is an optimal temperature to aim for and stay away from screens at least an hour before you sleep. During this time, I enjoy reading, meditation, and yoga. I feel that each of these actions really prepares your brain and body for sleep. My last top tip for sleep is to write down anything that you want to remember for the next day. A lot of people struggle to sleep because they are stressed about the next day and they want to remember everything they need to do. By writing it down it allows your brain to forget the pressure you are feeling and switch off for sleep.
Playing beach volleyball is incredible, it brings joy to people all over the world. Ensure that you can continue to participate and feel that joy by implementing these injury prevention top tips, techniques, and equipment.
I hope this helps!