Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
The Transition to Sand Volleyball
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 12, 2014

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Tulane vs. Arizona Christian, 12 p.m.

Arizona vs. Arizona Christian, 2 p.m.

Tulane vs. Arizona State, 4 p.m.


Arizona State vs. Arizona Christian, 10 a.m.

Arizona vs. Tulane, 12 p.m.

Differences between the surfaces of sand and hardwood can make a big impact on the transitioning process for the Arizona volleyball players.

The court dimensions are smaller in sand; physically though, the abilities change. The sand is harder to jump in, but will prepare the players for the next indoor fall season.

“The surface has been the hardest transition for me,” said junior Madi Kingdon. “Going from hardwood to sand is difficult. It is obviously a lot harder in the sand. It’s harder to move so there is a lot more cardio in practice.”

Although the sand makes it more difficult for some players, they know that at the end of the season they will be better prepared for the fall.

“I think playing sand will help a lot with my defense,” said Kingdon. “It will also make me jump higher. I think that will help everyone from indoor have a better game.”

Normally in the off -season, the players hit the weight room harder. With the benefit of playing sand volleyball, the indoor players will be more than ready for the next hardwood season.

“Physically, there is no better conditioning for them than this,” said head sand volleyball coach Steve Walker. “Coach Rubio and I talked in the past and said, ‘If you don’t lift a weight but you go down to the beach for four or five days a week, you are going to come back to the fall a much better athlete.”

Sand and indoor volleyball are two different sports. Although some of the skills are the same, there are elements of sand that differ from indoor.

“From a fundamental standpoint, the difference and techniques between the two sports really provide the girls a nice cushion of time to really adapt to the outdoor game,” said Walker.

From a coach’s standpoint, it is more difficult to interact with a player during a sand match. Just like in tennis, once the ball is in play, there is no way to communicate to the athletes.

“Coaching sand is a lot different,” said Walker. “I have never really coached for competition until to this point. There are restrictions on type of coaching you can do in competition. There’s no coaching to be done while the ball is in play.”

Playing the game both inside and sand will not only help the players in their physical game, but also in the mental aspect and knowledge of the sport.

“Sand will help the indoor players’ reading skills,” said Walker. “Even though the court is shrunk by one meter in width, you still only have two players covering the entire court. Your reading skills really have to ramp up if you want to excel at this sport. I think once they become proficient in that, they will always be proficient in that when they step back on the hardwood in the fall.”

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