As the agent provocateur of beach volleyball, and on behalf of all you good caring fans out there, I have a few resolutions for the sport to get off my chest for 2023:
NORWEGIAN WOULD: Miles Partain and Andy Benesh please fly over to Norway for a month (at least) of hard core training and soak up (is it in the water?) some of that “secret sauce” that the Mol (Anders/Hendrik/Marcus) family and Christian Sorum have formulated.
ADD SANITY TO THE SCHEDULE: It makes no sense to have the World Volleyball Tour Championships, the biggest event of 2022 outside of the World Championships themselves, in Doha in January of 2023. The first month of the year is when beach players should be playing golf, getting some rest and kicking back with Pacifico or another beer of their choice.
I understand the NFL and college football have their postseason championships the next calendar year, but the difference is that they are FALL sports. Beach volleyball is a spring and summer endeavor. Meaningful tournaments should take place from March until Labor Day. After that not a lot of people pay attention. It’s all football or futbol all the time, be it the American kind or English Premier League. In 2022, there were 12 tournaments on the Volleyball World tour that took place after September 1.
And while we are on the topic, contesting the 2023 World Championships in Mexico, in October of all months, is crazy. Sports fans are not thinking beach volleyball in mid-fall. The Worlds should provide the culmination to a season with athletes building up to a late summer peak. Mid to late August is the sweet spot.
What’s more, there should be at least half the weekends in that March-August window specifically carved out for all of the national tours to hold their events, including the AVP and other national/regional tours. This allows each circuit to have their best players competing on both the domestic and international tours, without cannibalization. A synchronicity of the calendar if you will. It makes no sense to do otherwise. Whether it be an AVP in Manhattan Beach, or a Volleyball World event in Gstaad and Espinho, they all deserve to have the best players going head-to-head.
KISS: Back in the 1970’s, the great late discus thrower John Powell introduced me to the concept of Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). Well, we have gotten away from that in beach volleyball in a big way.
How can the uninitiated differentiate between a Volleyball World…