So as many of you know I still love playing beach volleyball competitively and I wanted to share an important tip that has really helped me as I turn 40 this year to compete against those young bucks. Hopefully it will help you do the same!
As an older player I find attacking successfully is one of the most difficult things to do as you get older. Pretty much most of the other skills can be overcome still with wisdom, experience and the ability to “Read the Game”. Even blocking can be compensated for with a lower jump. (Next week I will share my secret on blocking higher on the beach!)
So a few months ago I was out in Manhattan getting my butt beat by some young up and coming studs one of which who was at the Pan Am Games for the United States and I could not sideout for the life of me.
Watching the video: I was taking a two and half or three step approach on the right side with a more inside up and down set. A few things were happening, #1 – My hard angel hit on a line block was getting dug consistently, #2 I had no range to hit a sharper angle hard hit, #3 I was easy to read. #4 I was struggling to hit the line shot as I was not going to the ball or the ball was dropping inside on my left shoulder.
Finally, and this was the worst, I was not jumping well! Yeah the truth hurts but it’s important to be brutally honest with one’s self! (Read more… The Stockdale Paradox – Jim Collins – Good to Great)
So how could I change it? Coaching Indoor Volleyball1on1 Summer Camps all summer one important new concept that I have been hammering with younger players is the importance of a 4 step approach for better timing and acceleration which transfers into higher jump and contact point.
As I was thinking about it I remembered some OODA Loop “Mental Models” watching Sean Rosenthal approach on the beach and how as a relatively short guy he had a ton of success on side out. Well Sean takes a 4 step approach and really accelerates to the ball.
Demo 1 – Demo – Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser, Sideout on Cut Shot Off Serve,
Sean Spiking – 4 Step Approach
So I tried it! Bam! I am crushing balls again and to be honest I think I am siding out at the best level I have in at least 10 years. Some important points to consider…
– I play mainly right side on this and I like a ball that travels more like a 4 or 5 set indoor. The set still has more of an up and down trajectory, however it drifts to my right shoulder if I let it.
– Your right step, or your first step if you are a righty on a four step approach starts as the setter contacts the ball.
– Your left or second step is your direction and should go to where the ball is set, inside or outside.
– Your final two step are your biggest and fastest and your goal is acceleration.
What I found by doing this is:
– I jump higher
– I contact higher as I go to the ball better
– I have better range for my hit and shots (I can crush sharp and angle and line easier)
– I am more naturally more aggressive
– I have better court vision and see the block and defender better
– My opponents struggle to “read” me as much as my approach is always aggressive.
Also really worth noting, I am “in system” allot more because of this!
I believe the reason why is I tend to focus on the pass more (See OODA Loop – Response Complexity) and “finish” the pass. (“Finish” is a passing verbal cue that helps with passing and response complexity)
I am less concerned about rushing to a spot to get ready to take my approach from in order to attack.
Let me know your thoughts? Also keep in mind my other business is my staff and I teaching indoor and beach summer camps / clinics for coaches and players at clubs and high schools. All the concepts brought up in this article are taught in these camps. Contact me below if you would like more info on these camps and clinics.
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Andor Gyulai – Owner of Volleyball1on1 at (310) 435-5840 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To See More Video by Andor Gyulai on Volleyball Spiking and Hitting – Click the Link!
Andor also runs Volleyball Spiking Clinics for Clubs. If you are interested in running a clinic at your school or club contact him.