At 6-foot-1, Nick Lucena is one of the more diminutive players on the world professional beach tour, earning a living battling the huge trees like the Netherland’s 6-11 Christiaan Varenhorst, the USA’s 7-1 Ryan Doherty, and Brazil’s 6-11 Evandro Goncalves.
More often than not, he has won the battle, with four gold, two silver, and one bronze medal on tour this year with partner Phil Dalhausser. The Olympic medal contender has this advice for those forced to face physically imposing blocks:
1. I make sure I can pass the ball as perfectly as I can. If you’re not in system, then you’re in trouble. It doesn’t matter how big you are.
2. I try and stay behind the ball, try and be as late as possible getting to the ball, that helps me with my vision. With the super big guys, it’s always good to beat them low. I try to beat them low and fast, and keep my arm locked and loaded and try and change the pace of my swing.
3. When all else fails I try and hit between their hands and hopefully hit their head every once in a while.
4. A lot of time you can just hit at the block, they’ll make some big moves and you can get away with it. I learned that by watching Todd. I’ve also been blocked a lot of times with this technique.
5. Last and most important, another thing is to make sure your partner is a good setter. Otherwise you’re in trouble.