8 Helpful Coaching Tips to Transition Junior Indoor Players to Sand
As the sand game continues to grow, many junior players are transitioning from the indoor game to sand, and there is a big difference in how the two sports are played, as well as coached. Below are 8 tips for coaches who are working with indoor players and hopefully these tips help make the transition a smoother one.
- FUN: Make it a fun beach day and ask your players to come down to the beach or to a sand facility to play some volleyball. Once you get them on the court they will love it and it is great conditioning and cross training for them.
- TEAM OF 2: Make sure your players know that playing on the sand is very different than playing indoor with six players on the court as they will be playing doubles.
- COMMUNICATION: Although the court size is slightly smaller than the indoor court they will need to communicate more than normal as there is only the two of them covering the entire court. If they communicate well they give themselves the best opportunity to win.
- OUTSIDE FACTORS: Be aware of the elements like the wind and sun. If they win the toss they should always take the side where the wind is blowing toward them. The other advantage is to look up and find the sun and try to start on the side with the sun behind them. If the wind is blowing towards them and the sun is behind them then they have the good side to start the game which is a huge advantage.
- HYDRATE: Bring sunglasses, sunblock and LOTS of fluids as it's usually very hot in the summer on sand courts. Do not let them wait until they are thirsty as this is a common mistake with new sand players and often results in dehydration and cramps. Also tell them to not only drink water but a good sports drink or coconut water will hydrate them best.
- MOVEMENT: It is not easy moving in the sand but it is a lot of fun to dive in! Always be ready for the ball to come over and a good thing to put in their heads is the THINK DINK. If you are always ready for the short ball you will be a great defender and remember that it's fun and easy to dive on the sand. Volleyball is a forward sport so make sure they aren't letting balls fall in front of them and you will have a good team that will also create a lot of rallies and make the game much more enjoyable to play and watch for a coach.
- KEEP IT LOW: Don't pass, dig, or set the ball too high. The object is to find a good rhythm with your partner and if you can teach them smaller touches on the ball they will find it much more comfortable on the court and their opponents won't have as much time to reach to their offense. Simple rule of thumb is the windier it is the lower you need to keep the ball.
- GOALS: Set realistic expectations. Let your players know that although the sand game is very different, they are there to have fun and use the skills you taught them.
Now you are ready to conquer the sand with your players! See you on the beach!
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