Benefits of Beach volleyball to the Indoor game

Beach volleyball provides high volume additional training and competition experience in summer and off-season for indoor players with strong transfer potential. Its high physical demands can aid in the increase of some physical capacities. Sand is an unstable surface and becomes a good tool to aid in stability and core strength training. Indoor and beach volleyball share many common characteristics and both can lead to excellent participation and performance opportunities (Anton, 2006).

In beach volleyball two people have to cover the entire court on defence. Their ability as readers would usually decide whether or not they would be able to dig the ball. Reading the hitter is a crucial skill as there is tremendous pressure on athletes to defend a large area.

Prediction of what will happen in the game properly is the most important ability in any type of volleyball. Athletic ability and accurate ball control are essential, however reading and moving to the right spot to dig the ball may stand as the most important skill of all. How to “read” from a stopped, balanced and patient position is fundamental and difficult.  Experimental evidence suggest that motor experience added from playing beach volleyball contributes to the much wanted skill to anticipate opponent shots both directionally and for depth (Urgesi et al, 2012, Canal-Bruland, Mooren, and Savelsbergh 2011).
Mel Coutts playing indoorAn indoor player should learn to read and anticipate the probable point of attack with the same level of confidence as an outdoor player. Mike Herbert, a celebrated American coach, recorded that reading in the indoor game may look more complicated but players are using their reading skills to dig the ball at the same rate as their beach volleyball counterparts.
Karch Kirally once wrote that the players who are focused on the ball and less on taking in the whole of the play will have a problem defending. Spending some time on the sand could help any player improve ability to read the game and learn to look more at the attacker and less at the ball. While sand volleyball is a different discipline compared to indoor volleyball, an athlete playing on the sand acquires a fresh perspective of the game which allows them to play it more effectively.
Beach volleyball training is also connected to beneficial physiological changes in indoor volleyball players. New research suggests that sand volleyball training also leads to positive physical adaptations in participating indoor players. The researchers investigated male indoor volleyball players before they began and after they completed 12 weeks of beach volleyball training and competition. Post tests revealed a significant reduction in heart rate, improvement of running economy, increase in VO2 max (the maximum volume of oxygen that can be used in 60 seconds) during maximum exercise and a significant reduction in both body mass and fat among the players (Dimitrios et at, 2013)
As there are only two players per side, a player has more touches than on the indoor court and can build better ball control. Sand is a good opportunity to pick up your skills in other positions. For example, if you’re a hitter, you’ll be forced to improve your setting skills. It can also help developing a bigger range of attacking shots.
Other countries like Germany and Canada make it work with programmes running side-by-side and very much interlinked. Volleyball development, at least at the early stage should not be separated. Instead it can be a 12 month game with a number of months on the sand.

Gavin Watt on the beachTo conclude, there is now some research containing evidence that if you play indoor volleyball and want to dramatically improve your game, learn, practice and play beach volleyball. Some Scottish players have picked that up and are equally good at both games. Scottish coaches should perhaps start to consider that beach volleyball is one of the best training methods known for improving your indoor performance.

If you are interested in the game of beach volleyball you can contact the following places:

Aberdeen Contacts:

Beach Volleyball Scotland:

Broughty Ferry:

Edinburgh beach volleyball club:

South Ayrshire volleyball club:

St Andrews Club:

Troon VC Facebook:

Anton, D. (2006). Volleyball for life: long term athlete development for volleyball in Canada. Ontario: Volleyball Canada.
Canal-Bruland, R., Mooren, M., Savelsbergh, G. (2011).  Differentiating expert’s anticipatory skills in beach volleyball.  Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 82:4 667-674
Dimitrios, B., Efstratios, V., Kosmas, C., Panagiotis, S., Dimosthenis, P., Papaevangelou, E. (2013), The effect of beach volleyball training on running economy and VO2max of indoor volleyball players.  Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 13(1), 33-38.
Herbert, M., (2014). Thinking Volleyball. Leeds: Human Kinetics
Kirally, K., (2010). SAND VS. INDOOR.Coaching Volleyball 27 (4), p20
Urgesi, C., Savonitto, M. M., Fabbro, F., & Aglioti, S. M. (2012). Long- and short-term plastic modeling of action prediction abilities in volleyball. Psychological Research, 76, 542-560.
Ioannis Panayiotakis
Coaching Manager