Keys to this team’s success

Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, at 6-foot-3, is best at net. Misty May-Treanor is the better overall athlete. But both excel at the sport, and they are aiming for their third straight gold.

On offense: Start with a tough serve

On defense: Covering the court

Before the serve, the blocker, usually Walsh Jennings, will signal behind her back which side of the court she will be blocking. After she serves, May-Treanor can then adjust her position accordingly. Some examples:

Blocking the line

When hand signals indicate the blocker will protect the line, the back row player moves to cover the middle/opposite side of the court.

Blocking the middle

When hand signals indicate the blocker will cover the middle, the back row player moves over to protect the line.

Without a block

If neither player blocks, each is responsible for half the court. Balls hit to the middle are covered by the defender cross-court from the hitter.

On offense: Start with a tough serve

Jump serve

Both players’ jump serves arrive with the force of a spike, making it more difficult for the defense to make a good pass.

Dig and pass

May-Treanor covers the court well on digs and can usually make a good pass to Walsh Jennings to set — even on the move.

Good set makes a good hit

A good pass to Walsh Jennings allows her to make a predictable set, allowing May-Treanor to survey the court for her spike.

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