Beach volleyball and indoor volleyball: what are the differences?


Photo by Joshua Calloni

Beach volleyball court by Evans Commons at Lindenwood University.

Joshua Calloni, Reporter

This year, Lindenwood has introduced a new spring semester sport to campus, beach volleyball.

While it is similar to the standard court volleyball that the university also offers, there are quite a few differences between the two sports.

The most glaring difference between the two sports is the court on which they are played. Standard volleyball is played on a hard floor court, while beach volleyball, as the name suggests, is played on sand.

Going further, sand volleyball courts are roughly two meters smaller in length, and about one meter smaller in width. Indoor volleyball courts also have attack lines, which are designated areas where players in the back row of the court can’t move up to hit the ball. On a beach volleyball court, no such lines exist, and players are allowed to hit the ball from wherever they might be on the court.

“Not having to put on knee pads or court shoes, but instead removing your shoes and sticking your feet in the sand is a very different feeling,“ said sophomore Nyah Wilson, who plays on both the indoor volleyball team and the beach volleyball team.

There are slight differences in the regulations of the ball used by the two different styles. Regular volleyball has a slightly smaller ball than beach volleyball, though both balls are regulated to weigh about the same.

The bigger ball on the sand courts allows it to feel lighter, which is important in a game that is played on sand, which can be tough to walk through. Typically, both sand volleyballs and indoor volleyballs are made of the same materials, so the differences usually stop at the size of the balls.

On a competitive volleyball court, there are typically six players per team, with each of those six players having a designated position. However, this is not the same for a beach volleyball team, as competitive beach volleyball is played with two teams, of two players each.

This, like the court difference, is one of the biggest differences between the two versions of the sport, as a beach volleyball game will have eight fewer players at any given time. That means beach volleyball players have a much larger area to cover than they would during an indoor volleyball game.

“There is a slight mental switch that takes time to adjust to when playing beach. Since there [are] only two people on the court at the same time you have to be extremely mentally tough,”  said junior Amber Schade, who plays on both teams. “You have to be able to move on from the last point a lot quicker in beach [volleyball] as you know you will start becoming the target if you show any weakness.”

There is also a difference in scoring between the two different sports. Both games are played in sets, usually best of five, but sometimes best of three. However, the scoring required to win a set is the difference. In beach volleyball, 21 points are needed to win a set, while 25 is needed in a game of indoor volleyball. However, in both sports, rally scoring is used, meaning the team that wins, must do so by two points.

“Being mentally tough is a quality you must have to be a good beach player. It is only you and your partner on a team, and so if you are having a bad day the other team can easily pick you apart,” Wilson said.

Smaller differences, such as playing outdoors instead of indoors factor into the games as well. This can take away a feeling of being comfortable with the playing court for a

participant, as there are many more ways nature can factor into an outdoor game than it can an indoor one.

“I am looking forward to learning new aspects of the game of volleyball and mastering the skills I already have,” Schade said. “As a primarily indoor player, playing beach will help me be able to improve my game on the indoor court by expanding my volleyball knowledge and my “toolbox” of shots as we like to call it.”

Lindenwood’s first Beach Volleyball game is scheduled to take place on Feb. 24, as the Lions take on Missouri State University and Oklahoma Wesleyan University.