At BEACH NATION we believe teaching the keys to good consistent passing helps you become the best passer you can be. These keys will stay with you on and off the court so when you are playing or reviewing film of yourself you own the keys that help you improve.
The first key is “good passing posture”. Good passing posture is an athletic stance in a balanced, loaded position so you can move quickly in any direction to get to the ball. In serve receive you try to get a jump on where your opponent is serving by watching their toss, arm swing and contact. Then react quickly and get your feet to the ball.
The second key is “present your platform and forearm contact”. After you have moved into position to pass, an early presentation of your platform can insure good forearm contact and an accurate pass. Using the first key, “good passing posture”, your arms are bent and at your sides to assist in movement. Once you have gotten into position you extend your arms and put the heels of your hands together presenting a solid platform for the ball to rebound. You want to expose the inside part of your forearms and have the ball contact your forearms from about 1-2 inches to approximately 6 inches above your wrist. Keep your body still and relaxed. This will insure the most ball control and consistency.
The third key is “angle your platform to the target”. There are two angles to be concerned about – the vertical and the horizontal angles of your platform. The vertical platform is very important in the beach volleyball game. You have to be concerned about giving your partner enough time to get to your pass. Since you will most often be passing halfway between you and your partner, the horizontal angle is ever so slight. When you cannot take the ball within the midline of the body, the horizontal angle becomes much more significant. To horizontally angle your platform, lift your outside shoulder, which will angle your platform to your target. Don’t swing your platform to direct the ball, just present a good angle and let it do the work.
The final and fourth key is “simple movement to the ball”. You always want to make sure your platform makes good contact with the ball. In some cases you may have to lift the ball on contact, and in the case of a high speed serve it may be more like relaxation once the ball makes contact with your platform.A perfect pass in “normal” conditions will reach the height of the antenna top, be 5 feet away from the net and be 5-8 feet towards your partner’s side of the court.
In addition to improving passing technique it is critical to talk with your partner. One of the more difficult or most vulnerable situations is being served down the middle of the court. By design, a middle serve can create confusion between partners of who will pass the ball. Before each serve, talk to your partner and let them know if you are taking the middle or if you want him/her to take it. Most often, the player who is crosscourt from the server will take middle serves. Remember to always call the ball when passing. Accurate passing is critical to success at all levels. With a lot of hard work using the keys as a foundation and constant communication, you will be on your way to becoming a great passer.
Written by Bob Bertucci, Sacred Heart Volleyball Coach.
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