“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication just like any pro sport. Especially for beach volleyball you don’t have to be tall or as fast as other sports. You just have to have the skills.” —Misty May-Treanor

As with any sport, there are no shortcuts in beach volleyball—except for maybe growing a foot or two, but as Misty said herself in the above quote, you don’t have to be tall, you just need the skills. So if you’re not six feet tall, no worries: Misty is only 5’9” herself, and she has gone as far as you can go in beach volleyball!

If you’re showing up to train every day, then you’ve already taken a great step in the right direction. But there’s always more you can be doing. Honing your skills on your own time off the court is a great way to start. Start with our suggestions below:

1. Hit against the wall. No partner, no problem? All you need for this is a ball and some determination. Focus in on the little details here like snapping your wrist and following through. Your shoulder will be stronger, and your arm swing will improve as well!

2. Set to yourself. Have you ever heard of the ten thousand hour rule? Basically, researcher Malcolm Gladwell found that the best of the best at whatever they were doing had spent at least 10,000 hours practicing before reaching greatness. So go ahead, grab a ball, lie down on the floor, and set to yourself over and over. Each touch on the ball is a step closer to that complete ball control that you need to take to your game to the next level.

3. Set against the wall. Another variation on the above drill, this one simply involves you setting against the wall. This will force you to follow through and keep your sets high.

4. Strength training. This is something you definitely have control over: how toned and explosive your muscles are. We love a good interval workout for the muscle power it brings but also the increased stamina. Even if you all you have is a set of stairs, then you can practice sprinting up them or maybe jumping two at a time.

5. More strength training. Seriously, you can’t get enough of this. Next time you’re in a long rally or grueling match, all your strength training will pay off. Try some fingertip pushups to strengthen your hands, shoulders, and biceps. Or keep it simple and get off the couch during commercial breaks to do some squats or ab work.

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