Beach Defensive Strategy: Pulling Down the Line

from Beach Nation Founding Coach Patty Dodd


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Covering the sand court with two defenders requires a balanced defensive strategy. Beach Nation shares the most common defensive strategy used among junior and collegiate programs of pulling down the line.

When the opponent's set is far enough off the net, the front defender (blocker) should "pull" off the net to dig, rather than block. Pulling down the line vs the angle is more commonly used and trained because it is more efficient. The goal for the front defender is to get back to a good defensive position as quickly as possible. It is a shorter distance for the defender (20 feet) to pull off the net to defend rather than pull to the angle (28 feet).  

Teach and train pulling down the line

1. Pull back with 4 BIG steps (open, crossover, hop, hop).

  • Remember to keep your eyes on the hitter as the hitter is going to tell you where they are going to hit or shoot the ball. 
  • Pull with hands at shoulder height and as you get further off the net your hands and arms go lower into a traditional defensive position.  
  • Right before the hitter strikes the ball, stop your feet in an athletic position with your weight on the balls of the feet and relaxed so you can move in any direction as needed.  
  • Your arms should be slightly in front of you just outside of your knees.  
  • A common mistake is to have your hands and arms already together before the ball is hit so really focus on keeping your arms apart.  Goal is to end up about 20 feet off the net with hips and body directly in line with the attacker.

B. IF the set is low and you don't have time for 4 BIG steps then take a 2 giant step pull (open, crossover hop).  

  • Right before the ball is attacked stop your feet with your hands up around head height.  
  • Just like in a 4 step pull your eyes are still focused on the hitter as they will tell you if they are hitting or shooting and where they are going to hit or shoot. 
  • If done properly, you should be in a position to overhand dig the hard driven ball and dig any short shots as you will be about 12 feet off the net. 
  • The weakness in the defensive pull here is the deep line shot.  If they shoot a deep line shot, do your best to open up the hips and run to dig the shot.

For more beach coaching education click HERE. For related reading on beach volleyball click HERE.


Learn more…Beachnation.net

Beach Nation is the beach education partner of the JVA. The world class coaching staff has unparalleled experience ranging from teaching the youngest athletes in club volleyball to winning the FIVB World Championships, winning an Olympic Gold Medal, and every level in between. At Beach Nation, you'll be coached by the top beach players, Olympic gold medalists, USA Beach National Team members, USA National Team Coaches and every level in between. 

Patty Dodd is the USA Junior National team coach, Founder of MBSand and Beach Nation Partner. View Patty's full bio HERE.


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