Indoor Volleyball vs Beach Volleyball

Indoor Volleyball vs Beach Volleyball (Differences & Similarities)


The indoor volleyball is played on a hard court. Six players contribute in each team of indoor volleyball. On the other hand, the beach volleyball is played on sand. There are two players per team in the beach volleyball. These sports are being played for more than a century. Millions of people in the world enjoy to watch these games.

Indoor volleyball is played within the confines of a rectangular court. Beach volleyball embodies a laid back, yet highly competitive, atmosphere, where players dive into the sand to make incredible saves and spike the ball under the open sky.

Is Indoor Volleyball or Beach Volleyball Harder?

This question often ignites spirited debates within the volleyball community. The reality is that both indoor and beach volleyball demand a substantial level of physical fitness, agility and coordination.

Indoor Volleyball’s Complexity: Indoor volleyball played on a smooth court which brings a unique complexity to the game. The confined space and a higher net can lead to fast and intense rallies that require precise timing and teamwork. Furthermore, the absence of wind or sun factors provides a controlled environment for players. This controlled atmosphere can lead to exceptionally fast and strategic play, where every movement and touch of the ball is critical.

The Elements of Beach Volleyball: Beach volleyball unfolds on the open sands under the sun’s watchful gaze. It’s reduced team size with just two players necessitates all around skills and adaptability. The sandy, uneven surface introduces a whole new set of challenges, which demand impeccable balance and agility. Players must contend with shifting sands, wind and the unforgiving sun, all of which add elements of unpredictability to the game.

6 Differences between Indoor and Beach Volleyballs

Here are six major differences between indoor and beach volleyballs:

  1. Court Size: The court size for indoor volleyball is larger at 18m x 9m, while beach volleyball courts are smaller at 16m x 8m. This means that players have to cover more ground in indoor volleyball, making it physically demanding.
  2. Playing Surface: Indoor volleyball is played on a hard court, which provides a consistent and predictable playing surface. In contrast, beach volleyball is played on sand, which can vary in texture and firmness, making it more difficult to move and jump.
  3. Number of Players: Indoor volleyball is a team sport with six players on each side, while beach volleyball only has two players per team. With fewer players on the court, beach volleyball requires greater individual effort and skill.
  4. Game Format: Indoor volleyball is played in sets. With the first team to win three sets winning the match. Beach volleyball is played in a best of three format. In each set the first team has to reach 21 points.
  5. Ball Weight: The indoor volleyball game is heavier than beach volleyball. The indoor volleyball is more challenging to serve and spike. This also allows for longer rallies and more strategic play in indoor volleyball.
  6. Equipment: In beach volleyball, the players can use any part of their body to hit the ball. However, the indoor volleyball has strict rules against using feet and legs. This makes for a more dynamic and unpredictable game on the sand.
indoor volleyball
indoor volleyball

Indoor Volleyball vs Beach Volleyball Rules

Here are some key rules of indoor and beach volleyball:

  1. Scoring System: In indoor volleyball, the teams play to 25 points in each set with the requirement of winning by at least two points. Matches are typically best of five sets. The team that first reaches 25 points (and is ahead by at least two points) wins the set.
  2. Substitutions: Substitutions can occur freely during stoppages in play and are typically unlimited. This allows for specialized players to enter the game for specific roles.
  3. Court Dimensions: An indoor volleyball court is 18 meters long and 9 meters wide. The net height for men is 2.43 meters, and for women, it’s 2.24 meters.
  4. Rotational Play: Players must rotate positions in a clockwise manner after their team wins a point. This ensures that all players have an opportunity to serve and play in different positions.
  5. Libero Player: In indoor volleyball, a specialized defensive player known as the libero can replace back-row players without prior notice. The libero wears a different colored jersey and can’t attack the ball or serve.
beach volleyball
beach volleyball

Beach Volleyball Rules:

Here are some key rules of beach volleyball:

  1. Scoring System: Beach volleyball uses rally scoring. The points can be scored by either side during a rally. Matches are typically played to 21 points and the team must win by at least two points. Three sets are played and a tie-breaker may be played if necessary.
  2. Court Dimensions: A beach volleyball court is smaller than its indoor counterpart, which measures 16 meters long and 8 meters wide. The net height is the same for men and women, set at 2.43 meters.
  3. No Rotations: In beach volleyball, there are no rotational rules. Players can stay in their positions throughout the match. One player serves for the entirety of a set and then the partner serves in the next set.
  4. Libero Player: Beach volleyball does not have a libero player. Both players can play both defensively and offensively, which include blocking and attacking.
  5. Adaptable Weather: Weather conditions, such as wind and sun, can greatly affect the game. Players must adapt their strategies and movements to cope with these natural elements.

Similarities between Beach Volleyball and Indoor Volleyball

The beach volleyball and indoor volleyball have their distinct characteristics, they also share several similarities:

  1. Objective: The fundamental objective of both beach and indoor volleyball is the same.
  2. Volleying Technique: Both variants require players to use similar basic techniques such as serving, passing, setting, spiking and blocking.
  3. Net Height: The net height is consistent for men’s indoor and beach volleyball, set at 2.43 meters. For women, the net height is also uniform at 2.24 meters in both versions.
  4. Rally Scoring: In both beach and indoor volleyball, rally scoring is used. This means that points can be scored by either team during a rally, regardless of which team served.
  5. Team Size: Both versions involve team play. While indoor volleyball teams have six players, beach volleyball teams consist of two players.
  6. Serve Reception: Teams in both indoor and beach volleyball aim to receive the serve and transition to offense, emphasizing the importance of serve reception.
  7. Rotation: In indoor volleyball, the players must rotate positions in a clockwise manner after a point is won, which ensures that all players get a chance to serve and play in different positions. In beach volleyball, there is no rotation and each player serves for a whole set.
  8. Setting Skills: Both variants require precise setting skills to deliver the ball accurately to the spiker for effective attacks.
  9. Libero: While the libero position is used only in indoor volleyball, it emphasizes the importance of specialized defensive players in both versions.
  10. Court Layout: The basic layout of the court with a net in the middle and specific boundary lines remains consistent in both indoor and beach volleyball.

Beach Volleyball vs Indoor Volleyball Court Size

The beach volleyball court is smaller than the indoor volleyball court. It is made for the fast paced game, because the ball travels shorter distances and players have less time to react. The smaller court size also allows for spectators to be closer to the action. It creates a more intimate and engaging atmosphere.

Is Beach Volleyball Harder than Indoor?

Both sports have their own unique set of challenges. It’s safe to say that beach volleyball is generally considered more physically demanding. The combination of playing on sand and having fewer players on the court puts greater strain on individual players, requiring them to be in top physical shape.

Beach Volleyball Challenges:

  1. Sandy Surface: The sandy and uneven beach terrain requires exceptional balance, quickness and adaptability. Players need to navigate the sand, which can slow down movement and change with each step.
  2. Weather Elements: Beach volleyball is played outdoors, which expose players the weather conditions like wind and sun. These elements can significantly affect the game and make it challenging to predict the path of the ball.
  3. Two-Player Teams: In beach volleyball, the teams consist of only two players. It places a premium on each player’s all around skills. With fewer players on the court, individual responsibilities increase.

Indoor Volleyball Challenges:

  1. Controlled Environment: Indoor volleyball is played on a smooth and predictable court without the influence of weather elements. This controlled environment allows for faster and more strategic play.
  2. Specialized Roles: The six player teams in indoor volleyball often include specialized roles like setters, middle blockers and outside hitters. Players can focus on their specific positions and roles.
  3. Teamwork: With more players on the court in indoor volleyball, teamwork and coordination become essential. Players need to synchronize their movements and strategies effectively.


In the comparison between indoor volleyball and beach volleyball, we find two distinct yet equally captivating forms of the sport. Indoor volleyball thrives on its controlled environment, which allow for strategic precision and teamwork among six players on each side. The high paced action and specialized positions make it a dynamic and compelling team sport.

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