5 Differences between Indoor and Outdoor/Beach Volleyball

Indoor and Beach Volleyball were first played in the United States and are considered very popular sports when compared to other types of the volleyball game. Beach volleyball rather than being played on indoor hard courts, is played on sand courts where the height of the sand in the playing surface has to be at least 40cms. The surface of indoor courts must be light in color and is a flat and horizontal surface. The rules are almost identical except for a few exceptions as below. No matter what kind of volleyball you play, you need the Best Volleyball Shoes to be one step ahead of others.

Beach Volleyball

Court Sizes

The court for Indoor Volleyball is a bigger one when compared to the court for Outdoor Volleyball. Indoor courts measure 18m*9m with a parallel attack line which is 3m from the center line. While hitting the ball, the back row players must stay behind this line.

The courts for Beach Volleyball are smaller – 16m*8m with no attack line. The player may hit the ball from anywhere on their side of the net. The playing court is surrounded by free zone of width 3m on all sides for both the courts. The beach volleyball court is smaller because it is harder to sprint across sand when compared to the hard indoor court.

Ball Specification

Indoor volleyball is made of leather and is usually heavier than the beach volleyball. A heavy ball can move much quickly and can be hit harder. On the other hand, beach volleyball are comparatively soft, lighter and slightly larger.

Player Count

Indoor volleyball is played with 6 players on each side where every player has a specialized position. There are certain complex rotations and switches throughout the game which ensures that each player remains in their designated position.

Beach volleyball is played between doubles with no specialized positions- just a right side and a left side. Most beach players are well- rounded and can dig, hit and block. At more competitive levels, one player is dedicated to digging and the other to blocking.

Scoring System

The scoring system for both these matches is different. In an indoor volleyball match, a team has to get 25 points and reach 3 sets out of the 5 sets. If a team wins 2 sets and loses 2 sets, then a tie breaker is needed where the teams have to play the match to win the fifth set which is played for 15 points.

In a beach volleyball match, a team has to get 21 points and have a minimum lead of 2 out of 3 sets to win. If there is a tie, the game needs to be continued until one team has achieved a minimum of 2 lead points. To win the third set, either of the teams has to achieve 15 points.


Uniforms for indoor volleyball have evolved from baggy clothing to formal jersey tops and trousers. On the other hand, beach volleyballs have been labeled as too revealing and immodest by certain cultures and religions. A controversy on this led to a change in decision to allow sleeved tops and cropped shorts instead of the usual 2- piece bikini.