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A Guide to Finding a New Beach Volleyball Partner

A Guide to Finding a New Beach Volleyball Partner

A step-by-step guide to finding the one. 

First, you have to get dumped by someone else. Or do the dumping. This often requires an awkward interaction after having not successfully gelled as a team. Uncomfortable all around. There are a few methods to dumping your soon-to-be ex-partner:

  1. The Mature Method 
    1. Have an in-person chat or phone call in which you wish them well and then drop the bomb that you think it’s best for both parties to move on. 
    2. This is the most straightforward and grown-up approach. 
  2. The Text Method 
    1. Shoot your partner a text saying much the same as the phone call in the Mature Method. 
    2. Deploy this method when you’ve been playing for fewer than three months. 
    3. Though texting can be seen as cowardly, sometimes when it comes to bad news, it’s better to text than call. The receiver can have their initial reaction, collect their thoughts, and then respond when they’re ready. 
    4. A text also avoids awkward silences, so nobody has to pretend they’re driving and just went through a tunnel. 
    5. Advice: be super nice, because you’re putting your words in print. You don’t want the scorned party to enact revenge by showing everyone your mean text. 
  3. The Mean Method
    1. Don’t share any info with your partner and let them find out through the grapevine that you’re playing with someone else. 
    2. To successfully execute this approach, practice with other people in highly-frequented locations and post about your sessions on Instagram.
    3. Extra savage bonus points: tag your old partner. 

Once you’ve dumped your partner (or been on the receiving end of *hopefully* the first or second method above), you’re ready to play the field. Pro Tip: go for someone in a similar position as you – someone who hasn’t been successful as of late but has major potential. If you try to break up a winning team, you’re headed for heartbreak.

If you have someone in mind…

    1. Text them and see what their plans are. Something like, “Hey! Hope you’re well. I was just curious what your plans are for the next tournament (or season). I’m looking for a partner and think we’d be really great together!” 
    2. If you want to be really bold/mildly manipulative, drop in a few veiled insults about their current partner:
      1. “I heard you and so-and-so were done. True?”
      2. “I wasn’t sure if you and so-and-so broke up after losing so badly to…”
      3. “So-and-so looked angry at Starbucks. Did you two break up?”
    3. Wait with bated breath and increasing anxiety until they text back. 
    4. Once they text back, analyze the snot out of their response:
      1. “Hey! Thanks for reaching out.” In my experience, this is a bad sign. They’re acknowledging the courage it took to put yourself out there. But it’s not a reciprocation. 
      2. “I’m set for now.” They’re winning and uninterested in you. Or worse, they’re not winning but still uninterested in you.
      3. “I made a commitment and plan to stick it out with so-and-so.” They’re either telling the truth or secretly saying, “I hate my partner, but I’m a person of my word and won’t break a promise.” 
      4. “While I think it would be so fun to play with you…” Just stop reading and delete the text stream. And maybe the contact from your phone.
      5. “We don’t have enough points to get into the Main Draw, so I’m going to stick with so-and-so.” Honest but brutal. This response used to bother me when I knew we could be a good team, but they’re preoccupied with auto-Main Draw rather than believing in our potential. We could have been a beautiful union, but you don’t trust the process! I digress…
      6. Notice I didn’t include any positive responses. You’ll know it if one comes, and the anxiety will melt away. Yes’s are sweet treats to the soul. If you get a yes, you can stop reading now and get out on the court with your new boo. 

If you don’t have someone in mind, it’s time to make a list. 

    1. Best Options Method:
      1. Start with the person you most want to play with, considering reasons like Skill Level, General Likeability, Proximity (essential for manageable practice schedules), and Availability (also key for practice, but this applies to tournaments, too. For instance – college women have to miss any events happening before their school season ends and usually once school starts in the fall).
      2. Text your way down the list until you get a sweet yes. 
    2. Points Method via AVP Points Page
      1. I’ve spent hours on this website predicting Main Draw cutoffs and Qualifier matchups. We are frenemies, but you need to be familiar with the points sitch in general.
      2. Add your points to all the people you’d consider playing with, and see who you’d rank highest with. 
      3. Jen Kessy says, “Start at the top and work your way down.” That’s how she got April Ross. But we’re not all Jen Kessy’s level of greatness, so keep it real, my friends. Remember the Pro Tip #dontbreakupwinners.
    3. Friends Method 
      1. Jot down people you just love to be around, even if maybe they’re not your best option or have the most points. 
      2. This is especially useful when you’ve all but given up on volleyball, and most tempting toward the end of an unsuccessful (drama-filled?) season. 
      3. Playing with a friend ensures practice and travel are more fun. 
      4. But if you’re losing, nothing is fun. So proceed with caution.
      5. Adjust your mindset and get your priorities straight with this method. Commit to the relationship being more important than winning.
    4. If you’re not a list person, it’s time to really play the field. 
      1. Float a few of the same texts (copy/paste/paste/paste/paste…) to a variety of potential partners and see who bites first. This is especially apropos within a few days (or hours) of a tournament entry deadline. I’ve been on the delivering and receiving ends of these desperation acts. 
      2. Ask around. Get the tea on who may be breaking up or ripe to break up soon. See who your coach thinks would be the best fit for your game. Maybe a hidden upcoming talent is just peeking over the horizon.

Last note – To make any of this possible, you need everyone and their mom’s number. Your contact list is something you’ll want to constantly build. It’ll offer abundant practice players and clue you in on who’s texting you to play (nothing worse than a, “Sorry, who is this again?” response when it’s a flippin’ Olympian). 

It’s simple: Ask each and every person you play with for their number and save it. If there’s a practice group text with unknown numbers, ask everyone to send their name and create a contact for each. Add “Volleyball” in the Company section of their contact card to narrow down searches later. Bonus points: add “Defender” or “Blocker” to the Company section.

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