PACC Partnership ☺
We all know already beach volleyball is different than indoor volleyball in a lot of ways. An obvious one is instead of six people there are only two on the court. For me, the biggest difference is the dynamic between the teams. In indoor there are six players, which means five other people that have your back and people you can lean on. In beach volleyball, there is only one other person……no subs… no hiding when things go wrong. A skill to succeed in is not just being a good player but being an even better partner. In any sport or club there is always a base of what to build off of. For a successful partnership some key factors are Pressure, Adaptable Communication, & Commitment.
Make yourself a PACC Partnership
***Yup, I completely made up PACC Partnership, but let’s be real it sounds cool and you are going to remember it now. You and your partner want to be a unit. Going into a game basically means going into war and your partner is your “pack”. Use these skills to prepare your pack for battle.
Throughout your game (war), there will be constant pressure. As the game goes on the pressure will only get more intense, so keep your pack strong no non-targeted partner is there to take pressure off of who is being targeted. Taking more pressure does not mean over playing and trying to do a one-woman show. Your partner is feeling the heat and let’s be real, it is tiring being the target. Have faith that your partner can handle it, but help a girl out! This means “doing your job” the best you can: taking more seam in serve receive, giving solid shot calls, taking most of the free balls, and serving aggressive are ways to take pressure off. Most importantly, give your partner MONEY SETS! She is working her butt off already trying to pass, transition, side out, and get back to base. Make her life a whole lot easier and focus on setting no matter what the pass is like.
Throughout your career you are going to play with many different partners and through each one, you grow individually. Every partnership will be different, so make each one unique in your own way. Make your own routine, so you both know when it is time to be locked in and ready for battle. Something as small as a handshake or a phrase can work. The goal is to find out what motivates your partner, what they are like when they start losing confidence, and how to get them out of it. Everyone is different, which means every partnership takes work for it to be successful. Your partnership is a relationship, so be your partner's biggest hype-woman! It is easy to look good when you make your partner look good.
Obviously communication is a staple of a successful partnership because are human and love to talk and be heard. No matter who you are playing with, communication should always be first priority. Everyone has a different style, and that’s okay. Some are loud and dominant with words, and others are quiet and dominant with actions. Different styles of communication are common, so with a successful partnership comes compromise in finding a style that works for BOTH partners.
When you are talking to your partner, whether it be in practice or a game, you always want to think about what “type of language” you are using. It is easy to make your partner feel like crap if you are constantly telling them what they are doing wrong or what to do better to make you look good. This is a perfect example of being a “blamer”. This means that you make nothing your fault and do not own your flaws. Beach volleyball is a game of errors and once you accept your own flaws, you are one step above your competition.
Over-talking is a habit that has a possibility of happening when practicing positive language. GUILTY HERE! Every coach I have had has pushed the concept of communication, but that does not mean just saying random, mindless words. I had to learn, and am still learning, the concept of “PURPOSEFUL Communication”. This means whatever comes out of your mouth has a positive purpose behind it. It also means talking about future events and not the past. You and your partner know what just happened when you lost that point and unless there was miscommunication, or it is going to help you in the future, then forget about it and move on. Short-term memory in a game is key. 99% of the time after you make an error and you are still thinking about it during serve receive you will not be present for that pass. SHANK CITY here we come! Between every play is where you and your partner come together to talk about what is next and refocus.
Bad body language is the silent killer of a partnership! The rolling eyes, shoulder shrugs, and backs turned to your partner when things go bad means your competition has already beat you. SUCK IT UP! The game is not just about you, it is about the partnership and finding a way to stay together. High fives, knucks, hugs, or buttslaps! Do what you need do to stay together and on the same mission to never stop fighting back until the victory is yours.
Beach volleyball is an interesting sport because it can be seen as an individual sport but also team oriented. As a player I feel like we go through THREE stages that progress from individual growth into team growth. The first stage is where you learn how to play the sport in general and are working on individual growth in the technique and mental state. During the second stage, you develop how to work with different partners, which grows concepts of commitment and working hard for someone other than yourself. The last step is the highest level because you want to have one set partner and grow together as a partnership. Most people stay in stage two for a while because it is where the individual growth starts to turn into partnership growth. In a sense it means you have to stop playing for yourself and play for your “pack”. Commitment is one of the main goals of stage two. You have to learn that a partnership is like a relationship. Honesty, loyalty, and respect are aspects that make a successful partnership. Beach volleyball is a little different because it is okay to see other people (play with other partners) as long as you fulfilled the prior relationship. This means when you say you are going to play with someone, you fulfill that commitment. We all know life as a way of messing up plans, so if something were to happen where you cannot fulfill a commitment make sure you are honest and talk to your partner. Also, go into the conversation having a plan to help them out so they are not left high and dry.
There are so many other aspects that make up a successful partnership, but as you will find everyone is different. Try out the PACC Partnership and see if can prepare you and your partner for battle!