Understanding Hand Signals of Volleyball

Beach Volleyball professional showing Beach Volleyball Hand Signal

What do these Volleyball Signals mean?

We have all been there, watching a Beach Volleyball game and trying to understand are these mysterious Beach Volleyball signs that the athletes are showing. What do these signals in Volleyball really mean? 

Similar to many other sports, signals in Beach Volleyball play a huge part in the sport. 

Because the Beach Volleyball teammates are co-dependent, they must be able to communicate their ideas without giving out the information to their opponents. Not only that, but they must also be able to divide the 64 meters of their court-side between themselves systematically. To do that, they rely on Beach Volleyball hand signals which indicate what part of the court the blocker is going to close. 

These are paramount in helping both the blocker and defender understand their respective positions. These signals in volleyball are placed on the lower back or buttocks of the blocker or defender, depending on who is on the court before the serve. 

The left hand corresponds to the opposing player who is on the left side, and the right hand to the opponent on the right side. The blocker can also slightly shake their hand prior to the service to show which player he wants the defender to serve to.

So now that you know the primary function of Beach Volleyball hand signals, let us dive in and explore what are the different types of signs that are commonly used? 


Signals in Volleyball

Common Signals in Beach Volleyball

  • Closed Fist: This Beach Volleyball sign indicates that the blocker will not block the attacker that corresponds to the hand on which the signal is shown. In different teams, this sign is often changed with the Open Hand Beach Volleyball signal. It ultimately depends on the team’s preferences. If the partners decide that this Beach Volleyball sign does indeed mean that there will be no block, the blocker’s job will be to stay close to the net, simulating a block until the ball is set. He will then proceed to back up from the block and play defense. However, even if this signal is shown, and the ball flies really close to the net, then the blocker must throw it back regardless, and failure in doing so, often results in quarrels between the teammates!

  • Open Hand: This signal means that the blocker will block “the ball” and use his own judgment and timing to try and catch the attacker off guard. When this is the strategy that the defender and blocker pick, the blocker will not pick a specific position but will try to block the strong attack regardless of where it is directed. If the attacker is planning to spike a line, it becomes the blocker’s job to close the line and if the attacker is planning to spike angle, it becomes the blocker’s job to close the angle. You can see that this is a more fluid strategy and because of the lack of its specificity, it is used less in professional matches. 

  • One Finger: The blocker will proceed to close the line of the attacker, meaning that if the opponent attempts to spike line, the blocker’s hands will be placed accordingly to stop this strong attack and attempt to catch the line cut-shot. When this Beach Volleyball sign is shown, the defender will attempt to pick up the diagonal strong spike, chase after a line cut-shot, or a close diagonal cut-shot. This is the most commonly used signal in Beach Volleyball because of its stability and benefits. The partners each know which area of the court they are responsible for and what type of attack is likely. However, this strategy is quite aggressive and takes a lot of time to perfect. 

  • Two Fingers: The blocker will proceed to close the angle, meaning that he needs to prevent the attacker from hitting and cutting through the diagonal. This is a more difficult signal to employ because often, the attacker will see the blocker and place a cut-shot over the diagonal. Chasing after diagonal-shots is significantly harder than chasing after line-shots, which makes this strategy used less than the blocking line in the professional sphere. 

  • Three Fingers: The blocker shows that he is going to block the angle of the attacker and then jumps then blocks the line. This signal in volleyball is employed significantly less but is effective if used correctly. It is most often used to trick the opponent and play with his intuition. If the attacker sees that there is a blocker on the angle, he will be more inclined to attempt to hit the line. This is exactly when you will catch him!

  • Four Fingers: This is the opposite of the three-finger signal, meaning that the blocker is going to show that he is going to block the line and then in the last moment, jump and block the angle. There needs to be no further explanation as it is practically the reverse of the previously described Beach Volleyball hand signal. However, it is also important to mention that this strategy, similar to the two-finger Beach Volleyball sign is more difficult to execute than the line alternative. 

  • Fingers with a pinky: This is a lesser shown signal, which indicates that in addition to the blocking position indicated by the number of fingers, the blocker will pull diagonal versus the regular line pull. Pulling diagonal is drastically more difficult than pulling the line because you, as a blocker, are required to cover significantly more area. Consequently, professionals rely on this Volleyball Signal significantly less. 


Beach Volleyball Blocking Signals


Now you know the basic signals of Volleyball that the professionals utilize to win. However, remember, that different teams use different signals or strategies. It is up for the team to decide what each of these Beach Volleyball signs mean and how they will use it to trick their opponents. I hope that with this article, you now have a slightly better idea of how Beach Volleyball works and will have a better time watching a game knowing what these Beach Volleyball signs mean! 

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