A couple questions we get asked a bunch here at SandRecruits are “What happens after the summer season is over?” and “what should I be doing in fall to set myself above others in my recruiting class?”
Well, listen up folks! Here are some answers.
Welcome to 6 things to think about as a beach volleyball recruit in the fall portion of off-season.
We are going to be taking you through a six point checklist that you as the athlete (or the athlete’s parent) should be thinking about going into fall, starting with…
#1 TIME MANAGEMENT
How are you planning your life and spacing out time towards becoming a better beach volleyball player? Where do your priorities lie? How do you find balance between your secondary sport(s), beach training, and school?
Can you balance high school indoor volleyball and still make beach volleyball training a priority in your weekly planning?
We are not ones to tell you what you can or can’t do, that journey is for you (the athlete) to decide. If you are confident in your abilities to juggle school, beach training (on sand and in the weight room), extracurriculars, and more, then go for it! It is completely doable in the right mindset, and we know plenty of athletes who were successfully able to
College beach volleyball players compete at the highest level while earning their degrees, and participating in strength and conditioning training along with their scheduled practices. Learning to do this all at once and finding confidence in your ability to time manage and balance is something incredibly important and useful, so doing it as a recruit isn’t a bad idea!
#2 STRENGTH TRAINING AND CONDITIONING
Another question that seems to be asked a decent amount is “should an athlete incorporate strength and conditioning training into their training plans? How does it improve one’s game?”
Training in the weight room is basically a “how to become a better overall athlete” tutorial. It improves a player’s vertical jump, arm speed, dynamic movement, and from a more general standpoint, overall strength and speed. Conditioning on top of this, in the weight room and/or in the sand, will help to improve endurance, and again, overall quickness. If you’re looking for a way to get just that extra edge ahead of your competition, starting training in the weight room and doing some extra conditioning is the way to go.
This added strength actually improves player physical health along with performance. Strengthened and trained muscles have a higher likelihood of being able to handle high strain, which will come when tournament season picks up and athletes are playing tournaments just about every weekend.
On top of all of this, getting started with strength training in high school will put you a step ahead once you get to college. All college beach volleyball teams lift weights, so getting into a rhythm and knowing proper technique early will ensure that when you get to college, you are 100% ready.
#3 GRADES & ACADEMICS
Parents, you’re gonna love us for this one. It may be #3 on this list, but it should be your #1 focus in the school year to prioritize your grades & academics. A good GPA is a great selling point to coaches, and it is always great to reestablish a sense of strong work ethic off the court.
Keeping a strong academic-focused mindset is a HUGE piece of getting recruited. Athletes who work hard in school and on the beach volleyball court are one step ahead of the game, and prioritizing academics, especially in your off-season, will make the difference. Training yourself in fall to grind in the classroom will easily benefit you come spring when beach training ramps back up.
As an added bonus, some of the best beach volleyball programs are at schools known for having high academic standards. Showing as a recruit that you prioritize school just as much as you do volleyball can increase your value to college coaches.
#4 SELF ANALYZATION AND EVALUATION
Now up on our checklist is self-analyzation and evaluation, or just an overall desire to improve your game. It all starts with an understanding of your skill level, and a desire to raise that level. The off-season is the perfect time to make big changes and strides in your game, so pick the skills you’ve got that need the most improvement and start working on them!
Some athletes are able to change their entire game trajectory just from getting extra reps that are more specific to exact skills in the off season. Examples of how to split up what you’re working on in practices include:
Dedicating days to individual skills. Want to work on passing? Setting? Serve receive? Defense and/or blocking? Hitting? All of these can be divided up in drills or in fully separate practices, to be able to fully focus on one skill at a time. Court IQ practice can be a little different, where players work on taking looks, watching film, and figuring out how to increase their knowledge of the game so that they can work smarter and win more effectively.
The most important piece of self-analyzation is the ability to understand your level of skill and always be looking to improve. Having a growth mindset in sport is absolutely essential to improvement, and will help in a player’s overall coachability as well.
#5 EMAILING/UPDATING COACHES
Fall is the PERFECT time to start updating your highlight films with your summer footage, and to send updates along to the college coaches who you have the most interest in/who have the most interest in you. By updating and staying in touch with coaches by sending them your updated film throughout the off season, you keep them fresh in your mind and ready to watch you when the time comes for you to attend their clinics or other recruiting events and tournaments.
Want to contact coaches directly through SandRecruits?! Easy! From your profile, click on the “share profile” button and select which college programs you’d like to connect to!
Need help finding a coach’s email/contact information? Look no further! In the “College Search” section of SandRecruits, you can find all schools and their coach information. Once you click on the school you are interested in, all you have to do is click on the “Coach Info” tab in order to find a coach email!
The most underrated aspect of all training/competition mindsets is without a doubt recovery. College athletes learn quickly that prioritizing recovery is more important than just about anything else, because a body that isn’t recovered well is at a much greater risk for injury, or lowered performance in general.
We want to emphasize the importance of taking some time off following the summer season. College and professional athletes alike consistently take ~1 month off following their seasons, in order to give their minds and bodies the time to rest. Going 100% year round can be exhausting, and truthfully speaking, no one does it. We all have ebbs and flows in our training, and embrace and emphasize getting off time in. While this article has emphasized the importance of what types of training to do in fall, all of this is at a slower pace than the more intense spring and summer training blocks, and should be much more technically focused.
Take the time in the off season to go to physical therapy for nagging pains, get a massage, stretch, roll out, SLEEP, it all is SO important to make sure that your body and mind are functioning at the levels you want them to. Something as little as a proper night of sleep can make a world of difference when it comes to recovering at a high functioning level. Athletes who take the time to recover are athletes who perform better in the long run.
We can’t emphasize this enough. LEARN TO PRIORITIZE RECOVERY!! It will benefit you so much in the long run.
Each athlete’s journey in sport and in recruiting is different, and all have varying degrees of success and challenges. But, taking the time to prioritize yourself as an athlete and student in the off season will definitely boost your recruiting journey.
About the author
Hi all! Charlie Ekstrom here to answer some SandRecruits FAQs. Some quick background on me: I am an alumna of Stanford University, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Architectural Design and a master’s degree in Communications and Media Studies. During my 5 years there I competed on the beach volleyball team (I was an original SandRecruit, #196), and was an AVCA All American, 4 time all Pac-12 Team member, and 4 time Pac-12 All Academic Team Member. I currently play professionally on the AVP tour, and am so excited to be able to share some curated tips and advice on the recruiting process to make it easier for everyone!