Five Keys to Playing Well in the Wind

Jan. 29, 2019, 12 p.m. (ET)

Beach TipsOriginally published in the spring 2018 issue of VolleyballUSA

Ready for the beach volleyball season?

Beach national qualifiers have already begun, and it's time to hone your game to qualify for the USA National Beach Tour-Junior Championships. One thing you can always expect to encounter during beach season is wind, so we have a few tips to help you play your best in subpar conditions.

Todd Rogers

2008 Olympic beach gold medalist, head beach coach at Cal Poly

“When you’re serving into the wind, keep the ball deep. Make the other team put the ball in the air as long as possible. The longer the ball is in the air, the more it increases the wind’s play on the ball and impacts their play. On your side, you want to keep the ball low with your passes and sets so you reduce the wind’s effect on the ball.”

Beth Van Fleet

Head beach coach at Georgia State, former AVP pro beach player

“When dealing with a side or crosscourt wind, consider how it will affect your offense. It’s generally helpful to set with the wind instead of into the wind. When the ball travels with the wind, it’s easier for the attacker to track its flight and predict the point of contact with accuracy. Additionally, your partner will be in better position to attack into the wind and wreak havoc on your opponent.”

Angela Rock

1988 indoor Olympian, 27-time pro beach winner, assistant beach coach at Florida State

“When you’re blocking in the wind, if you’re on the good side (with the wind in your face), it’s usually better to stay and block rather than dropping off because the wind will take the ball close to the net. Conversely, if the wind is at your back, it’s often a better choice to pull.”

Meagan Owusu

Head beach coach at University of California, Berkeley

“When playing with a side wind, it’s difficult to hit a ball drifting away from you. Rather than attacking from the bad side, run a back set with the wind. You will then be able to attack from the good side and challenge your opponent with an aggressive attack into the bad side.”

Matt Olson

Pro beach player, executive director – WAVE Beach Volleyball

“It’s important to pass and set lower in high wind conditions. Keep everything moving forward and be sure to release early so you aren’t chasing the lower passes. Likewise, move and stay close to your setter so you can step-close quickly to the lower set. It may be helpful to bump set rather than hand set. That gives the ball more spin, which helps it cut through the wind.”