The Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Volleyball

The Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Volleyball


Beach volleyball and indoor volleyball are similar in that they are both exciting yet challenging; however, the activities differ in a variety of ways.


For example, beach volleyball is played – as the name suggests – at the beach and on a sandy surface. Indoor volleyball, on the other hand, is played on hard courts usually in a gymnasium. The sandy surface in beach volleyball adds an additional challenge to the already difficult sport. As opposed to the hard, flat surface that indoor volleyball players compete on, beach volleyball players may have difficulty moving with ease around the uneven, sandy court surface. Beach volleyball players must also deal with outdoor elements beyond their control such as wind, weather, and the sun.


The court size differs between beach and indoor volleyball. In beach volleyball, the court is smaller, measuring 52.5 feet long by 26.25 feet wide. Indoor volleyball players, however, play on a 59 feet long by 29.5 feet wide court.


Additionally, indoor volleyball consists of six players on each side. Each player typically has a specific position that they specialize in. In comparison, there are only two players on each side of the court in beach volleyball and there are no specialized positions. This forces players to be multi-dimensional because they must be responsible for every position – not just one.


In order to win a game in beach volleyball, the team must get 21 points and lead by at least 2 points. Indoor volleyball requires that the team score 25 points and lead by at least 2 points. There are five sets in each game and the team must win at least three of the five sets in order to win the entire game. However, if both teams are tied by the final set, they only play up to 15 points. This is a rule followed in both beach and indoor volleyball. 


Volleyballs differ based on whether they are used in beach volleyball or indoor volleyball. In indoor volleyball, the ball is heavier and made of leather. Beach volleyball players, on the other hand, use a ball that is slightly bigger in size and made of water resistant material. Beach volleyballs are also lighter and softer than indoor volleyballs.


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