How to Choose a Beach Volleyball Partner
With only two people on a team and no substitutions allowed, choosing the right teammate is of utmost importance in beach volleyball. Whether you’re looking to take your game to the next level or just looking for a consistent person to pair up with when you’re at the beach, you need to find a good partner.
Here a few tips and suggestions to aid you in the process.
Location, Location, Location
Climbing up the beach volleyball ladder requires talent and lots of practice. That’s why it is important to select a partner who lives close to you; that way you'll be able to log training hours together. Long distance partnerships are rarely successful in beach volleyball.
Look for a Complimentary Skill Set
An ideal partner will possess a skill set that compliments your playing style, and vice-versa. For example, if you are an exceptional blocker, you may want to look for a partner who is a brilliant defender in the back court. However, don’t make the mistake of choosing a partner with a glaring weakness in any of the core skills. Because there are only two players on the court, both need to be able to perform all the skills fairly well.
Similar Skill Levels are Helpful
Improving as a team is one of the most enjoyable aspects of beach volleyball. So it can be frustrating for everyone involved if there is too big of a disparity between partners’ skill levels. The best case scenario is to hook up with a player who is slightly more advanced, that way you’ll be motivated to push yourself harder.
Worry About Chemistry on the Court, Not Off
One of the best ways to find a great partner is to be one. In other words, take a second to ponder this question: Would you want to be your own partner? Strive to possess all the qualities that you would like your partner to have. If you think you’re a catch, chances are other players will too!
Ideally, partners will have good chemistry both on and off the court. But the truth of the matter is getting along with your partner off the court is not required. Teams can be successful and not necessarily be buddies. The partnering of Kent Steffes and Karch Kirlay is a fine example. They led separate lives and rarely socialized off the court, but they were the dominant team on the AVP tour during the six years they played together.
Chemistry on the court, however, is absolutely a key component to forging a winning partnership. Partners must be able to work well together and support each other throughout the match. If you find that you and a potential partner are simply not gelling on the court, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Communication is a Must
The key to a successful beach volleyball partnership is communication. You and your teammate must be able to communicate with each other. And while breakdowns in communication during a match are inevitable, communication can help teams grind through the tough times.
Translation: If you are having problems communicating with someone, they are probably not the right partner for you.
The Beginning of a Beautiful Partnership
Finding the right beach volleyball partner is a process of trial and error. In other words, you find yourself teamed up with a few partners who aren’t quite a good fit. The good news is that teaming up with the wrong partner will help you find the right partner. Along the way you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t; so that when you do find the person, you’ll know.