Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Five Tips for Starting a Beach Program at Your Club

Beach volleyball has experienced incredible growth and popularity in recent years. With the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games and the emergence of numerous opportunities for juniors and professionals, starting a beach program at your club can be a rewarding venture. Whether you’re a seasoned coach or a passionate enthusiast, here are five essential tips to help you get started.

Run a Training Program Only; Everything Else is Optional

Simplicity is key when it comes to starting a beach program. Unlike indoor volleyball, you don’t need uniforms or a dedicated coach to begin. All you need are four players, a ball, and a court. Start by charging each player for training throughout the summer. Anything beyond that, such as local and national competitions, uniforms, or extra practices, can be optional add-ons. Assist your players at each step, guiding them through these additional activities if they choose to pursue them.

Budget for a “One-Court Program, and Keep Going From There”

To get started, you’ll need a single court that can accommodate 8-12 players, along with one head coach and an assistant (or a parent). It’s crucial to have at least two adults present for safety and supervision purposes. All adults involved should be members of USAV, have undergone background checks, and completed SafeSport training. Additionally, you’ll need some essential equipment, including doubles lines, volleyballs, a volleyball net, and pool noodles or antennae to mark the sidelines. Keep in mind that additional items like shade structures and coolers can enhance the experience but are not essential.

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Find a Practice Schedule and Location That Fits Your Needs

Your local park districts are excellent places to explore for available courts. You might find courts that are either free or require a reservation fee. When scouting for suitable courts, prioritize safety by ensuring there’s a shelter and nearby restrooms. Check the net systems’ condition to ensure proper installation and functionality. Lastly, pay attention to the sand’s quality and depth to minimize the risk of injuries and provide an enjoyable experience for your players. Consider an eight-week program with 90-minute sessions, two times per week. Preferably, schedule your sessions in the morning to avoid the peak heat hours.

Take Time to Understand the Local and National Beach Scene

As the beach volleyball landscape evolves constantly, it’s essential to stay updated and informed. Connect with your region’s beach volleyball representative, join relevant Facebook groups like “Beach Volleyball Coaches,” and reach out to NCAA schools with beach volleyball programs for valuable insights. Familiarize yourself with the Beach National Team Development Program and Beach National Team programs. Research the various events and organizations in your community and nationwide to determine the opportunities available to your players.

Embrace the Culture of the Sport

Starting a beach club shouldn’t aim to replicate indoor programs. Embrace the uniqueness of beach volleyball and create an environment where athletes can learn by playing the game. Unlike indoor volleyball matches, coaches have limited control during beach matches. Embrace this cultural difference during practice by encouraging self-sufficiency and allowing players to make decisions on their own. Take advantage of the limited opportunities to interact during side switches, timeouts, and post-game discussions.

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Now, armed with these tips, go out and have fun! Starting a beach club can be an incredibly rewarding experience and a source of excitement for you and your players. For further guidance and assistance in starting your program, feel free to reach out to Tim at [email protected].

FAQs

How do I start a beach program at my club?

To start a beach program at your club, the first step is to focus on running a training program. Keep it simple and prioritize the essentials: four players, a ball, and a court. Charge each player for training, and anything beyond that can be optional. Guide your players through additional activities like competitions, extra practices, or purchasing uniforms if they choose to pursue them.

What equipment do I need for a beach program?

You’ll need doubles lines, volleyballs, a volleyball net, and pool noodles or antennae to mark the sidelines. Doubles lines should be two inches with sand plates, and the choice of volleyball will depend on the competition level. Additionally, having a pop-up shade, camping chairs, and a cooler can provide players with a break from the heat.

How do I find a suitable practice schedule and location?

Start by checking your local park districts for available courts. Look for courts that are open to the public and offer safety features such as shelters and nearby restrooms. Ensure the net systems are properly installed and in good working order. Consider factors like sand quality, depth, and timing of practice sessions to create an enjoyable experience for your players.

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Summary

Starting a beach program at your club requires simplicity, adaptability, and a focus on the players’ needs. By running a training program, providing optional add-ons, and finding the right practice schedule and location, you can create a thriving beach club environment. Stay informed about the beach volleyball scene, embrace the unique culture of the sport, and have fun along the way. For further assistance, reach out to Tim at [email protected] to kickstart your program.