Men’s volleyball team savors ‘beach time’ as it preps for a full indoor season
Liberty University’s men’s volleyball team has taken an unorthodox approach to preparing for its indoor volleyball season, which starts with a match at Virginia Tech on Oct. 30 before the Flames host the first ECVA play date since Spring 2020 on Nov. 6 at the LaHaye Multipurpose Center.
Using its two sets of four beach volleyball courts on East Campus, Liberty trained predominantly in the sand through August and September before returning to indoor practices this month.
“We’re excited to be back out on the sand,” Head Coach Kaleb VanDePerre said last month, noting that many of the indoor players are also on the beach volleyball roster for a season that runs from spring through summer. “The last two seasons for men’s beach (volleyball) have been a little up and down with COVID (so) we’re excited to have a little more organized play this semester. We’ve been teaching some of the younger guys the sand game, getting a lot of touches serving, passing, setting and hitting. Working on their IQ in the sand is a little different.”
Flames junior libero/opposite hitter Tait Lapham said the indoor and beach games are completely complementary.
“I personally enjoy it, beach being kind of a different sport, but still the same game,” he said. “We still get to work on all aspects of the game of volleyball and for me, I want to be a more well-rounded player and I get all types of different looks being on the beach compared to indoors, so it’s a good experience.”
“Last year we also started off in the sand,” he added. “Maybe it was more in the summer than during the semester, but I feel like we’re in system right now and just ready to start playing.”
VanDePerre believes the sand conditioning and ball handling will benefit his players through the rigors of the six-month indoor season, which stretches from the end of October through the end of April.
“All of those touches serve us well when we get back inside,” he said. “You just touch the ball a ton and it translates pretty well back to the indoor game for more ball control, more understanding, and it should help us continue to be a top competitor in the country.”
Video by Patrick Strawn/Club Sports Director of Video & Media