Sand Training for Volleyball

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When school lets out and your varsity duties take a summer hiatus, it's the perfect time to hit the beach. But if you're serious about fitness, leave the blanket and beach towels behind—just bring sunscreen and a sweat rag.

Training in the sand has given the University of Georgia's volleyball team a leg up as they look to improve their ranking in the always-tough Southeastern Conference.

"The main reason we use sand training is because it's an unstable surface," says Mike Schweigert, the Bulldogs' assistant S&C coach. "It requires you to work much harder and produce more force, because the surface behind you is moving. The maximum force that you put into the sand translates into more power output on a stable surface. The sand is also a bit softer than the hard court, so when we're doing agility training or plyometric training, it's not as hard on the body."

For Olympian and AVP star Nicole Branagh, hitting the sand wasn't easy, but it's been worth it. Of her transition from indoor to beach volleyball, Branagh says, "It took me awhile to get my sand legs so that I wasn't sore every day after training. I ran every day. I did tons of footwork, tons of practice and repetition."

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