by Alex Hurlburt
Not able to jump up and pound the ball through the floor on every set? Yeah, me neither. Thankfully, you do not have to be over six feet tall and be able to fly in the sand to be successful!
In beach volleyball, it is often said that placement is more important than power. Now, before going into this idea, I must point out that having placement AND power is obviously the ideal, but this is not as necessary in the sand as it is indoors. Often, a well-placed ball will do the trick, even if hitting in some of the most inopportune of circumstances.
Because of the larger square footage that each player must cover in sand compared to indoor, it is much easier to earn points by forcing opponents to have to move to dig a ball. Many shots that are easy conversions for an indoor team -- such as a roll shot over the block or a short pass over the net -- become difficult for a sand team to dig.
Check out these three placement shots and see if you can add one or two to your offensive repertoire:
If the opponents are forced close to the net -- possibly to dig a short set or tip off the block -- it can be a good idea to send a ball deep toward the end line. It is harder to move backward than forward, and this shot will often render your opponents unable to return it.
Short roll over the block
When the opponent has a block up on the net, consider rolling a ball directly over the block and towards the side of the court that the defender is not. Even if this shot has a high trajectory, it is often difficult for the defender to cover as much ground as is necessary before the ball drops behind the block.
If your opponents are not setting up a block and are playing defense deep in their court, try to see an opportunity to poke or pass a ball short over the net. This shot can often earn its own point many times, or it can set up an opportunity to take advantage of an opposing player getting stuck close to the net by sending a pass or roll to the vacated deep area of the opponent's court.