NCAA Women’s Sand Volleyball: Transitioning from Indoor to Beach Volleyball
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NCAA Women’s Sand Volleyball: Transitioning from Indoor to Beach Volleyball
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With sand volleyball approved by the NCAA, many players are now taking their game outside. But the many differences between indoor and outdoor volleyball makes this more than just a change in venue. Switching to sand volleyball means a change in rules and in style. By focusing on a few elements, the indoor player can learn to dig down and serve a wicked game outdoors.

Not all differences between indoor and sand volleyball are visible. The court is smaller, the matches are shorter and the rules are stricter. Add to that challenges from the sun, heat, and the ever-shifting sand. Experienced sand players have learned to move fluidly on the unstable sand, making each decision quickly. Their core muscles are solid, and they use their entire body to dig and hit.

For indoor players looking to relocate, professional sand player Misty May-Treanor recommends starting slowly, beginning with building your “sand legs.” Spend time exercising on the sand to get a feel for it under your legs. Understand how it shifts and moves, both with your body and against it.

Because a sand volleyball is softer and lighter, you will also need to get comfortable with the ball. Sand volleyball focuses on getting the ball to float instead of the hard, powerful hits of the indoor game. Practice in different wind conditions. Learn how the wind affects setting, and work on using your whole body to overcome its influence.

Become unspecialized. Inside players work one position, but outside you are the either the left side or the right side, covering all shots that enter your territory. Indoor players experienced in several positions will be more flexible in transferring to the demanding sand court. Outside hitters tend to transition the best, with 17 out 19 girls on the USAV’s Youth and Junior Beach National Team originating from that position. However, any indoor player with good strength, balance, and quick thinking can make the move to the sand.


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