This season I’ve had very few opportunities to train on the sand, so I have concentrated more on my fitness than my skills. The only skill that has noticeably suffered has been my hand setting, so I have slowly started using my hands less and less.
Last weekend I had my first serious tournament in about three years. I threw up one horrible set in our first match, (that the ref failed to call), and told my partner: “Sorry mate, I’m going to trade my surf board in for a body board, and start bump setting.”
I didn’t use my hands to set a ball for the rest of the tournament, and I’m pretty sure I only made about 3 or 4 bad sets in the next 4 games. (We won the tourney, although my surf board is still in the garage).
So how do you decide? What should you take into account?
In favour of hand setting:
Hand setting is more accurate. No question. If your partner has a small hitting window then it’s harder to get it there with a bump set.
Hand setting looks better and give you more street cred. with your beach volleyball mates.
In favour of bump setting:
A bump set will never get called a double. Personally, I can count on at least one bad set per game, so bump setting puts me up 1 – 0 before a ball is even served.
The Dutch team of Nummerdor/Schuil are a good example of a team that bump sets. They seem to do pretty well.
And my final comment in favour of bump setting is that by removing the possibility of being called for a double, you remove a distraction from your mind. You will never think to yourself as you are about to set your partner on match point, “I hope I don’t double”. And I’ve seen some of the best get caught throwing a set on match point.
As Forrest gump says, “One less thing to worry about.”
What do you think? Are you a hand setter or a bump setter?