Delve into the Strategies #2: Beach Volleyball
Beach volleyball. Some don't even know it exists in the school. You do, though. And you want to get better. You might just be picking up the sport right now in search of an extracurricular. You might have some experience playing beach volleyball, but consider yourself unsuccessful. Well, an essential aspect of the sport that many people overlook is the teamwork and chemistry you must bring with your teammate into the game.
One of Gahr’s best beach volleyball players, Luke Nagata, advocates teamwork and mental tenacity above anything else. Teamwork and critical thinking are crucial for becoming successful in beach volleyball, as games are only played in teams of two, meaning that 50% of the burden is shouldered by your teammate. Making sure your teammate is always performing at his best will help you succeed more in games and help you achieve better plays. This includes keeping your teammate mentally motivated, which Luke claims greatly helps his own playing.
Great chemistry and teamwork were what Luke claims to have contributed to his best performance to date. “I think one of my best performances was with Ivan. Our chemistry was there, and Ivan and I were
getting some really nice spikes and highlights," Luke recalled. This is why it is important to prioritize picking a good teammate to play with. Having good chemistry with someone allows you to set up some nice plays with them, which would usually be difficult to do with a teammate you do not get along with.
Other mental aspects of the game that Luke claims you should prioritize include predicting your opponent’s moves. If you can determine what your opponents play like early on in the game, it will be much easier to counter them. He details, “You get to see who out of the two are the stronger hitters, where they like to hit, who the better passer is, etc. Adjusting to their play style may take time throughout the game but just making sure you notice their tendencies is huge." An example of this that Luke brings up is noticing how your opponent angles their hand to hit the ball. Suppose you pick up on the angle at which your opponent hits the ball by keeping your eyes focused on their hand: it would make predicting where the ball will go a lot easier, helping you to win rounds more easily. So knowing how your opponent plays is a huge factor that contributes to your success as a beach volleyball player.