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Get back to the basics of beach volleyball with ROXY Outdoor Fitness ambassador Rachel Moore. Whether you’re picking up a ball for the first time or brushing up on some terminology, this should help do the trick.
Serving: Each play starts off with a serve. The server steps behind the line at the very back of the court, called the end line, and has freedom to serve from wherever he or she pleases as long as the foot does not touch or cross the line. Here are a few tips on how to do two different types of over hand serves.
1. Float Serve:
Put your left foot in front of your right, about shoulder width apart. Hold the ball at about eye-level with your left hand on the bottom and your right hand on top. The toss should only be high enough so that when you pull back your right arm, the hand contacts the ball on its downward swing. Toss the ball with your left hand, pull back your right arm as far as possible and swing, but not all the way through. Stop the motion of your right arm when your hand contacts the ball, as if you’re punching the ball to the other side of the net, and don’t snap your wrist. This serve allows the ball to float and wiggle in the air; making its positioning on the opposite side of the court difficult to read and return.
The beginning steps for the topspin serve are just like the floater, but the toss for the topspin must be higher. Toss the ball high enough so that the right arm can come down on the ball in a snapping motion on the underside of the ball. Do not stop the motion of the right arm when it contacts the ball; rather, turn your shoulder away from the ball, swing all the way through and DO snap your wrist. Snapping your wrist will deliver a hard and fast serve to your opponent. This is very similar to a tennis serve.
Passing: Passing is probably the most important skill in volleyball. If you don’t get the pass right, there is a low chance of making an effective play over the net.
A good pass starts with proper foot placement. You always want to make sure you are staying behind the ball. It is a lot easier to run forward in the soft sand than it is to run back. If you’re right handed, your right foot should be slightly in front of your left, a little more than shoulder-width apart and bend the knees slightly so that from this position you can easily move to the ball.
Next step is focusing on having proper arm alignment. Make a fist with your left hand with the thumb on top, and cover the left fist with your right hand. Your thumbs should line up side by side. Bring your arms together straight and away from the body. Your forearms should create a “platform,” where the ball should contact. Try not use your fists or wrists to hit the ball—the contact should be about two to six inches above the wrists. Then hold your arms lows almost against your chest, and keep your elbows locked. Try not to swing your arms, just let the ball make contact with the platform you have created.
Always keep your eyes on the ball! Try as best you can to watch the ball come over the net and follow it all the way to your platform. Watching the ball the whole time will help you better position your body behind the ball. If you do this correctly, the ball will be better controlled.
Attacking the ball is all about timing and precision. The goal of the third hit, or spike, is to make the ball difficult for the opposing team to return.
Your approach to the ball will determine how and where you hit the ball so it’s very important you take the time to get it right. Start by positioning yourself with your knees and hips flexed; your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, and all your weight should be on the balls of your feet. The footwork for the approach works best when it is most comfortable for you. There are variations for all hitters, but usually it is a three-or four-step approach. Watch the ball and make sure the setter knows where you want to hit by calling for the ball.
The first step you take determines your direction. I start with my right foot. To get your momentum going swing your arms in front of you as you take that first step.
The last two steps are quick. The second step is for gaining momentum and power. This should be a big, long step with your left foot. Bring your arms back as your left heel lands and your weight shifts.
The last step is to stop forward motion. The jump begins when you plant your right foot next your left. Keep your knees bent and use the momentum of your arms to push off the floor. Bring your arms back as in a topspin serve and swing through, snapping your wrist. Beware of blockers.