Many NCAA schools had their first official sand volleyball season this past year. Sand volleyball is a new NCAA sport with programs in the Division I and II levels, as well as NAIA. By offering sand volleyball as a new sport, there are more opportunities for volleyball players to play in college. There are just a few confirmed programs as of right now, but more and more are publically announcing their intention to get a sand volleyball program, meaning popularity is spreading. Sand volleyball also has scholarships available at some of the participating schools. However, don’t count on your skills from indoor volleyball to transfer so easily.
While there are many techniques and skills that all volleyball players have, there are many differences between sand volleyball and indoor volleyball. There are different rules to learn that change the pattern and flow of the game which takes some time to adjust to. You are also playing doubles rather than with 6 people per side which requires an incredible amount of versatility for sand volleyball players. But the biggest difference obviously is the playing surface: sand. Being able to run, pass, and jump on sand takes a great deal of training and physical endurance. But, having experience in indoor volleyball can be a great asset if you are interested in playing sand volleyball.
While many volleyball players would love an opportunity to play for both the indoor and sand volleyball teams in college, the NCAA has set up rules that encourage schools to keep them separate. While it’s not impossible to play both, you should be warned that coaches may want to keep them apart.
So what does this mean for your recruiting? It’s hard to say. Sand volleyball coaches may not strictly recruit sand volleyball players, and instead go for someone who can play both. Other coaches may just be interested in sand volleyball experience. It all depends on the coach and how they want to mold their own program.
So to find which coach is looking for a player with your experience, you need to reach out to them and ask for yourself. Because sand volleyball is so new, there really aren’t any recruiting guidelines and specialties set in place yet. Coaches may be more flexible in their recruiting now than they will be in a few years when their programs have become more established. Make sure to send them both your beach and indoor volleyball experience (if applicable) with your highlight video as well. Your video can prove a valuable asset if a college coach sees potential in you as a sand volleyball player, even with limited or no experience.
The best way to find sand volleyball scholarships is to contact the college coach first and strike up a conversation. You never know if you might be a player they are looking for!