Beach Volleyball Drills for Improving Ball Control


May 10, 2024By Volleyball Paradise Club

Introduction to Ball Control in Beach Volleyball 

Beach volleyball is not just about power; it's a game of precision and control. Mastering ball control is essential for every player aspiring to improve their gameplay. Ball control in beach volleyball refers to a player's ability to manage where and how the ball is played during a match. This article explores various drills and techniques that can enhance your ball control, ensuring you make every touch count. 

What is Ball Control? 

Ball control involves handling the ball in a way that maximizes your team's strategic options while minimizing the opportunities for your opponents. It requires precision, timing, and an acute awareness of the ball's trajectory, speed, and spin. 

Why is Ball Control Crucial in Beach Volleyball? 

In the sandy, often windy conditions of a beach volleyball court, controlling the ball can be challenging. Effective ball control ensures better set-ups for attacks, more accurate serves, and improved defensive plays. It allows players to dictate the pace and flow of the game. 

a group of people playing volleyball on the beach

Core Drills for Enhancing Ball Control 

Improving ball control involves a variety of drills that focus on passing, setting, and serving—the fundamental aspects of beach volleyball. 

The Basics of Passing Drills 

Shuffle Pass Drill 
The shuffle pass is fundamental for improving lateral movement and passing accuracy. Players shuffle sideways to meet the ball, ensuring their platform is solid and their passes are precise. 
Target Passing 
This drill involves setting up targets on the court where players aim their passes. It helps in developing accuracy and control under different playing conditions.

Essential Setting Drills 

Hand Setting Technique Drill 
Hand setting is crucial for setting up spikes. This drill focuses on the player’s ability to control the ball with their fingertip pads, providing precise and soft sets. Start learning the beach handset by catching the ball at your nose and then pushing the ball to the sky through arm extension.  

Hand setting Accuracy Drill 
Choose a target on a wall to set the ball to each time when setting to improve your accuracy and make an easier set for your partner to hit!  

Serving Drills to Boost Precision 

Consistent Serve Practice 
Regular serving practice helps players gain muscle memory and consistency, crucial for controlling serve placement. Learning to overhand serve can be difficult, take a ball and find a wall to practice tossing along and collapsing the ball against while practicing your muscle memory movements for your serve!  
Serve Placement Challenges 
Incorporating challenges such as hitting specific zones and serving different styles can sharpen a player's ability to serve under pressure, throw in change ups against teams and improve accuracy.  

Advanced Techniques and Tips 

Utilizing the Wind 
Understanding how to use the wind to your advantage can significantly affect ball control. This section covers techniques for using the wind to alter the ball’s path favorably.

Good side vs Bad side: Wind prevails  
There is always a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side to each court when wind is present. The general ‘good’ side is when the wind is at your face. This is because you can hit or serve as hard into the wind as you want and the wind will keep the ball from floating out! Serve receiving with the wind at your back is significantly harder than with the wind at your face as well. If it’s above 10mph winds, choose the good side with the wind AT you! Every point, many professionals toss sand in the air to guage the wind to compensate appropriately for their game play.

woman wearing blue dress shirt and white short shorts walking on seashore

Adapting to Different Sand Depths

Different beaches have varying sand depths, which can affect how players move and control the ball. Adapting your strategy based on the playing surface is crucial for maintaining control. A beach with really ‘deep’ sand is easier to dive in but is harder to move in and you may feel your vertical, agility & explosiveness decreases. A beach with ‘shallow’ sand will feel more like you’re on a regular floor making it easier to jump, explode and run.  

Integrating Drills into Practice Sessions

Creating a Routine 
Developing a structured routine that incorporates these drills into regular training sessions can help solidify the skills needed for better ball control. 
Measuring Progress 
Tracking progress through drills and adapting training based on results ensures continuous improvement. For example, did you pass 15 out of 20 balls to the target? Did you serve 10 serves to the line or cross court?

FAQs on Improving Ball Control

How often should I practice these drills? 
Practice amount depends on how quickly you want to improve! Each rep will progress your skills so get out there and play as much as you can! 2-3 times a week is a great amount!  

Can these drills be modified for beginners? 
Of course! For beginners that are solo and trying to improve, the wall is your best friend! Pass, set, hit and serve against it as much as you can!  

How does ball control differ between indoor and beach volleyball? 
Beach volleyball requires more ball control and more variability in skill strengths since you need to complete every skill!  

What equipment is best for practicing these drills? 
A ball is all you need! If you have a wall or a friend, you can become a professional depending on how much practice you put in!  
How can I measure improvement in my ball control skills? 
Measurable goals! Count your reps and how many good reps you had out of that round, but always be patient! Some days will be better than others, such is life! 

Conclusion: Mastering Ball Control in Beach Volleyball

To excel in beach volleyball, focusing on ball control through targeted drills and consistent practice is essential. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced player, enhancing your ball control skills will lead to better game performance and more enjoyable play. Keep practicing, stay consistent, and watch your control over the game strengthen day by day.