692 Beach: Where The Grassroots Beach Volleyball Movement Began
Scott Stover’s career path is, well, it’s not exactly traditional, though it did begin in a relatively standard fashion. He played high school volleyball, which took him to Texas Tech as a middle, which took him to North Texas as an outside.
He received a doctorate, played beach volleyball professionally for a bit, started up his own chiropractic clinic.
And then, of course, as all doctors do, he founded a beach volleyball club, at a point in time when there were no beach volleyball clubs. Not in California. Not in Florida. Just in Dallas, Texas, where Stover first put the wheels in motion for 692 Beach.
“I preferred beach, but I coached indoor because that was all there was,” Stover said. “So when we decided to start 692, I knew it would be perfect because it was what I had experience doing and what I wanted to do. I just merged those two.”
There was, however, one minor issue: He didn’t really know what he was doing. How could he? Beach wasn’t a college sport at the time, and the grassroots boom the sport is currently experiencing was a decade or so away. There was no precedent to follow, no manual to read. Just two guys sort of winging it.
“We said ‘Let’s just analyze video of us playing and let’s break it down to a system of rules to explain to the kids,’” Stover recalled of those early years. “It was really raw. We used blocking footwork from an article Randy Stoklos published a million years ago. That was kind of what we did. We just pieced it together.”
It was more than enough. At the local beach tournaments, girls outside of 692 hadn’t received any beach training. Even the raw video analysis and timeless advice from a Stoklos piece written before Stover’s players were born gave the 692 players such an advantage that, whenever there was a tournament, 692 would sweep first, second and third in every age group.
They did this for four years.
“We taught our kids to pass low and forward, set on the net, and how to hit shots,” Stover said. “That was really radical at the time. Nobody else was doing that. So, I had these kids who couldn’t hit to save their life, and they would work the ball to the net, set it up and knuckle it over and the other team would just stand in the back half of the court and look at it, look at each other, look at their coach, and say ‘What am I supposed to do?’ They were super confused. They didn’t know how to play against us. It made them super dominant.
As competition has swelled, the dominance has been checked, though the program is thriving, to the point that Stover sold his chiropractic clinic to focus full-time on 692.
“Going from being a doctor to running a beach volleyball program is a weird transition,” Stover said. “But that’s how it worked out.”
Now, 692 has clubs in Dallas and San Diego. What began as a summer program has expanded to year-round training. Stover helped tap the latent beach volleyball market in Texas, which is growing at an alarming rate every year.
“Who would think,” he said, “that besides California and Florida, the third biggest place is Texas?”
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