4 Factors That Impact Beach Partner Selection

Junior Volleyball Association (March 11, 2020) By Stephen McCarthy

For younger athletes, partner selection is an easy process. Pick a player of similar skill level that you enjoy playing with and can compete together at a high level. But how do you create a high level partnership for high school, college and pro beach athletes?

A big trend in today’s beach world is management of players or combining the physical traits with a large amount of charted data from new computer applications and from this understanding, a partnership is born.

But our opening quote says something different. Best players paired with the best data do not win, best teams do.

The science says a successful beach partnership will form 80% of the time when reliant on statistics, apps and technology. Well, what happens when the other 20% actually happens, which begs the question… how can a successful beach pairing or best team occur that includes the charted data, the physical attributes of the players, but is not limited only by this information?

Equitable hard work

Players who are willing to pay the price together and do the same work as the other, create a bond and buy in from one another that is deeper than the stats. It becomes more than just a partnership, but a mutual respect, appreciation and trust… a team.

Balance of skills

There can be two strategies when it comes to beach partner selection based on skills. One of them is to find a partner that balances out the other’s weaknesses, for example, putting a taller blocker with a shorter defender. The other strategy is finding a partner with similar skills. Sometimes when partner’s are very similar in skill they will each have the same expectations. When a shot comes over the net, a fast defender will expect a partner to be able to get the ball that he/she could play as well. A great hitter would expect to see a partner hit a smart shot when given a good set.

Sometimes it can be frustrating to have a partner that does not match your skill set. It is also difficult to be disappointed with a partner that misses a play that you wouldn’t have gotten either. 

The ability to find chemistry

A major question must be asked and answered; can the potential partners create a meaningful chemistry between themselves? Coaches must purposely create ways to locate the barriers to chemistry within the players past, present, and future environment. One way to find these barriers are experiential learning techniques, special events in challenging environments, projects that create a deeper understanding of others, to name a few. Such events create a safe environment and essentially challenge the players to find ways of developing chemistry with others to solve the puzzle, all the while, giving the coach the opportunity to see the signs or potential signs of a partnership.

The fallacy of science and the role of intuition

Computers are important, but they are not all knowing. They do provide reams and reams of information on your players, but what is happening in real time could be different than what should be happening. Intuition can trump data in many scenarios.

Many coaches make the majority of the decisions for their team based on the scientific method, but there are times when it just seems right to put two players together or follow your intuition when all the data says it should not work.

While we have only covered a few of the components, in a very brief manner, of partner selection for best teams, the process is somewhere in between the concepts mentioned and the many others we could add. But in the end as the quote mentioned, the best TEAM wins with the best players The best players do not win without equal hard work, a balance of skills, great chemistry and a coach’s intuition.

Sources: TMP Beach and ProjectU Showcases Interview with Damien Elder and Stephen McCarthy

For related reading for beach volleyball coaches and club directors click here. For more beach volleyball education click here.

2021 Nike Indoor and Beach Volleyball Camps

Nike Volleyball Camps, a division of US Sports Camps the largest provider of sports camps in the world, has announced the addition of a new beach volleyball camp in Minnesota for 2020.

Camp Highlights Include:

  • Morning and afternoon training sessions
  • 1:10 coach to camper ratio
  • Camp tournament and video analysis
  • Nike Volleyball Camps T-shirt and prizes! (multi-day camps only)

2021 Indoor Camp Locations:

National Training Center, Rochester, MN, June 28-July 2 and July11-16
Champions Hall, Eden Prairie, MN, June 21-25 and July 26-30
Berto Center, Deerfield, IL, July 19-23
Adrenaline Sports Center, Ramsey, MN, August 2-6

2021 Beach Camp Locations:

Sand Point Beach, Prior Lake, MN, July 6-9

New Beach Volleyball Camp in Minnesota Added to Nike Volleyball Camps

Nike Volleyball Camps, a division of US Sports Camps the largest provider of sports camps in the world, has announced the addition of a new beach volleyball camp in Minnesota taking place in August of 2020.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Nov. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Long time Nike Volleyball Camp Director, Stephen McCarthy, and his staff are set to host camp at Sand Point Beach in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

McCarthy has been a Nike Volleyball Camp Director for several years, hosting multiple camps across the country. He is a top junior volleyball coach and the founder of the McCarthy project, an organization aimed at training athletes to help them rise to the next level. He will be lending his knowledge and experience to this Minnesota beach volleyball camp this summer.

“Beach volleyball is on the rise in the US, and we wanted to give athletes more opportunities to grow in the sport,” says Liz Tellez, manager of Nike Volleyball Camps. “We love working with Stephen, and his dedication to helping players improve will certainly show in this new beach volleyball camp.”

While at Sand Point Beach, players can expect to train on the three sand volleyball courts with other athletes looking to train, compete, and improve. Through various drills and competitive play, campers will learn how to work with a partner and elevate their communication skills on court.

This camp is set to run August 3-6, Monday-Thursday, and will run 9:00am-3:00 daily. Players can expect to receive morning and afternoon training sessions during the day.

Optimizing Sports Performance in the Heat


As the sport of beach volleyball becomes more popular, the athletes competing should be aware of the affects that heat has on the body and sports performance. Especially those athletes that live in the Midwest where the weather conditions change from the snowy cold to hot, sunny days. Being aware of heat exhaustion preventative strategies can not only reduce heat related illness but it can improve sports performance. Thermoregulation is defined as the body’s ability to regulate temperature under normal conditions. The stress of environmental heat combined with physical exertion can be a burden to the body’s ability to self-regulate temperature and adversely affect performance. Below are three strategies you can use to optimize your performance in the heat.

  1. Appropriate hydration and electrolyte replacement—Start by drinking a sufficient amount of water the night before competition and make sure your urine is clear. For the day of competition 17-20 oz. of water 2-4 hours before exercise and 7-10 oz. of water 10-20 minutes before is recommended. Because of electrolyte loss during sweating, sports drinks are more effective for fluid and electrolyte replacement.
  2. Gradual acclimatization and heat training –Don’t just go and compete without training in the heat. It is recommended that graded exposure to competing in the heat occur over 7-10 days. Check out the National Athletic Association consensus statement “Preseason Heat acclimatization guidelines for high school athletes” for detailed recommendations.
  3. Keep Cool – When overheated, the body will shunt its blood to vital organs. That means that the muscle groups needed to pass, defend and attack the ball won’t get the blood they need. When not competing, make sure to take shade and rest your body. Bring an umbrella with a lawn chair or find some shade under a tree to help your body maintain a normal body temperature. You can also bring a cooler with wet towels to place on the back of your neck.

If you have any questions or would like help implementing this regimen into your training don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our physical therapist at any of our Orthology locations.

Dylan Moen, DPT, PT, ATC

Orthology Inc

9325 Upland Lane N, Suite 230

Maple Grove, MN 55369

763.315.0466 I  F 763.260.7653

dylan.moen@orthology.com l @orthology_inc


“Exercise in Hot and Cold Environments.” Physiology of Sport and Exercise, by W. Larry Kenney et al., 5th ed., Human Kinetics, 2012, pp. 283–285.

“Environmental Considerations.” Arnheim’s Principles of Athletic Training: a Competency-Based Approach, by William E. Prentice and Daniel D. Arnheim, 14th ed., McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2011, pp. 151–155.

Coaches Corner Podcast: The Rise of Beach Volleyball and its Effects on Indoor Training

A couple weeks ago, I joined Jack Davis of US Sports Camps/Nike Volleyball to talk about the rise of beach volleyball within younger indoor volleyball players. Some of the areas covered include: the benefits of playing both indoor and beach, the common myths related to beach, the why playing on another surface will develop your overall game. For the entire interview, visit here.

ProjectU Beach Tournaments

Our ProjectU Beach House Camps are on and off court overnight camps that include creative on-court skill development training, as well as, experiential learning and competitive cauldron games, nutritional seminars, and speed development training off court.  The event is open to all athletes who are committed to understanding themselves and moving ahead as a player and a person and per NCAA rules, this event is open to any and all entrants limited only by age, gender, grade, or number.

2018 ProjectU Minneapolis (Big Lake,MN)

“Over the past 20 years, we have developed a gestalt theory of elite performance in beach volleyball. Not only will this camp will be a point for athletes to learn from some of the best college coaches, but also learn how to apply what they learned and take their game to the next level.” -Stephen McCarthy, director of ProjectU Showcases

Dates, Cost and Accommodations:

May 31st-June 2nd: Thee Beach at Bishop, Tampa Bay, FL. Commuter $460 per athlete. Tournament on Sunday afternoon will be an AVPFirst East Coast Championship qualifying event.  For tournament only, $50 per player.  Limited to 50 players for clinic portion and 50 teams for qualifying tournament.  Overnight stays available. We will at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School for all indoor and outdoor training sessions and meals.

July 1st-5th: Los Angeles Training Camp. Commuter $600 per player.  Overnight $1100 per athlete. Limited to 60 players. The location will be at 1200 PCH in Santa Monica, CA.  Located right in front of Perry’s Cafe on the beach. Link for location

***See below for specific information on each camp**

Colleges In Attendance:
Tampa Bay: Tulane University, Georgia State University, Houston Baptist University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Southern, and University of Tampa.

Tampa Bay (June): Tulane University, Houston Baptist University, Texas Christian University, and University of Tampa with more to be announced.

Santa Monica (July): Oregon, Houston Baptist University, Tulane University, Texas Christian University, Missouri State, and Stephen F Austin with more to be announced.

Camp Highlights:

  1. On court sessions lead by leading college coaches, as well as, off court sessions with current college players and camp staff with a approximate coach to player ratio of 1 to 9.
  2. Up to 8 hours of instruction per day: 4 hours on court, 4 hours off court
  3. Overnight accommodations
  4. Camp activities after training
  5. Final Day Coaches Panel and Tournament: Coaches answer your questions on a wide range of subjects. Parents are welcome to attend Coaches Panel and the tournament following.

2019 Beach House Camp Specifics, Based on Location:

California Beach Training Camp Information

Tampa Bay Training Camp Information

About ProjectU Showcases:
Stephen McCarthy, Director of TMP Beach and AVP Academy Camps and Clinics, has prepared over 15,000 youth, high school, college athletes for over a span of 18 years. He has trained players who have played the following professional sports: NBA and NHL. He has developed over 150 college athletes within the sports of basketball, volleyball (indoor and beach), soccer, swimming and hockey.  Currently, Stephen is a USAV certified official, a USAV Beach Impact and BCAP I certified volleyball coach, a member of AVCA, a sponsored JVA beach club, as well as, a ISSA certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition consultant.

Click link for additional TMP Beach Volleyball Tournaments and Camps

TMP Beach Volleyball Team

Outside our state, a player might easily choose their primary volleyball focus to be beach. However, in Minnesota, quality beach opportunities are not as prevalent and players tend to focus on indoor/court volleyball. TMP Beach players know there doesn’t have to be a choice; more importantly, they recognize how much each player’s “beach game” can contribute to and elevate their indoor game.

Karch Kiraly, author of Beach Volleyball and the current head coach for the women’s indoor National Team, speaks directly to why outdoor players make better indoor players: “More and more, indoor players are specializing.  For example, a 6’10” guy (or a 6’3″ girl) today will probably be put at the net to hit and block. There’s a good chance they will be taken out of the serve reception entirely, thereby given a very limited opportunity to defend, if at all.  They will never set the ball unless it comes to him by accident.  In contrast, that same big is going to learn defense and ball control in the sand, whether they want to or not.” The opposite also holds true for shorter or back row indoor players – they do not get a chance to attack or swing, as they are are usually taken out for taller players.

At TMP Beach, players develop an entire set of skills, not just a particular or specialized position.  Players touch the ball every play at least one time because they are involved in every volley in every set, acting as passers, setters AND hitters in a single volley.  In addition to the foundational skills and techniques, offensive and defensive strategies are effectively honed and curated. Mental fortitude is challenged and strengthened. The higher level performances are tied to personal growth and achievement, rather than a score or a coaches goal.

Parent Meeting and New Players:

Zoom Player/Parent Meeting: TBD, April 2021 Approximately, 1 hour. This meeting is for all current TMP players and parents.

New Players, Summer Season: (May-Beginning of August 2021) we are looking for 5-8 new players for the summer season. If you are interested in being considered, please submit a introduction letter to Stephen McCarthy by April 1st. Please include playing history with a short bio. We will review the information within 48 hours and let you know either way. If you have questions before submitting your application, please call Stephen at 612-741-0982 or email at cs@themccarthyproject.com.

New Players (Aged between 11-18) Fall Season: (Mid-August-End of September) For 2021, we are looking for new players for the fall season. Players who are not playing for high school team, or looking to extend the season. If you have questions, please call Stephen at 612-741-0982 or email at cs@themccarthyproject.com

Beach Littles (Aged under 11) New Players, Fall Season: (Mid-August-End of September) For 2021, we are looking for new beach little players for the fall season. We play 4 versus 4 on a lower net. Our hope is to develop the skills in the future generation of beach players. If you have questions, please call Stephen at 612-741-0982 or email at cs@themccarthyproject.com.

Team, Schedule and Tournament Information:

We start the first or second week of May, and end early August, depending on the player’s schedule.  Located at Sand Point Beach in Prior Lake, MN, Antlers Beach in Lakeville, MN and Riverside Park in Rockford, MN

The Fall Season for club players and players under 11 (Beach Littles) is from Mid-August till the beginning of October.

New for 2021: TMP Beach National Team:

The National Team is a group of athletes inside the club who desire to compete on a National level and potentially, play beach after high school. Secondly, each National player must have results on the court. The team is invite only. Criteria include: 5th Place or better in local tournaments or early 2021 summer season results in Queen of the Beach or team scrimmages. If interested in being selected, please talk with Stephen.

What do National Team members receive? National team practices, invites to scrimmages outside of the club, 1 Bid Tournament Entry Fee in ProjectU events in Florida and National team gear,

Schedule: 2021 schedule will be posted in Feb of 2021.

Partners: Primarily, players choose their own partners, but players do not have to play together the entire season. For athletes who do not have or looking to play with different partners, the coaches will attempt to locate a partner of like age and skill level, but it is up to the athlete to secure a partner for each tournament.

Cost for Each Season:

Spring Season: (Open to All Players) $25 per player, per session.

Summer: Team fees are $525.00 per player, per season.  The fee includes all practice sessions and TMP player gear; 2-team tanks/jerseys, 1-sports bra, 1-long-sleeve team t-shirt, 1-TMP beach towel, and 1-pair of Sockwa sand socks.  Additional TMP Gear like towels, hats, and shirts are available to purchase, click here. (Will be added to the website by mid-March). Sizing Charts for Plastic Clothing (jersey), Kauai Bikini (sports bra), and Sockwa (sand socks).

Fall Season: (Aged 11-18) Team Fees: $300 per player. Includes all practices, 3 tournament entries, and TMP Team Shirt.

online registration

Beach Littles Fall Season: (Aged 6-10) $150 per player. Includes 7 practices and TMP Team Shirt. (We use a lower net, same ball, and our goal is to get the next generation excited about playing volleyball outdoors).

Payment Options: To pay via credit card, use register now button below.  Second option for Summer would be to pay via check $275.00 by April 15th with the remaining $250.00 due by May 15th.   Tournament fees are separate, they range from $50-$80 per team or $25-$40 per player and are paid to the director of the tournament. Some tournaments require a membership, please contact TMP Staff before purchasing. The fall season is a payment in full by August 10th.

For additional tournaments on different dates in the Twin Cities, visit, SAVA, Surface VBC, or Vital Sand. Additional out-of-state national events, AVP Nationals and Zonal Championships  or Beach Volleyball National Events.

Click here for frequently asked questions or if you are interested in playing for our club or contact Stephen at 612-741-0982 or email at cs@themccarthyproject.com.