On occasion I hear the opinion expressed that reading on the beach is more important than indoor. Or perhaps that it’s done more. The idea seems to be that because as a defender (assuming your partner is blocking) you have every ball. As a result, you need to read to be in the right position. This is as opposed to indoor where the ball could be someone else’s. Also, you have a much more limited area of responsibility.
I certainly agree from a defensive coverage perspective. A good read on the beach is really important. Being even a little wrong puts you well out of position given how much area you have to cover.
I don’t agree, however, that beach players have to read more than indoor players. I think all players have to read the same amount. It’s just that for an indoor player the read comes with different potential implications.
For example, if you read that the ball will not be attacked in your direction, you shift to your next responsibility. If you’re a hitter, that’s transitioning to attack. For a setter, that is moving toward target to take the second ball.
All players read all the time.
Let me restate that.
All players should read all the time. Doesn’t matter if you’re talking beach or indoor. It always matters what the opponent is doing, and how they set up for the next contact.
To my mind, this is one of the areas of coaching that doesn’t get enough attention. And yes, good reading skills are something players can learn.