Is Beach Volleyball Harder Than Indoor?

You have undoubtedly heard of volleyball if you’re a big outdoors fan. While most people play volleyball on the beach, some fall so deeply in love with this sport that they take it indoors, allowing them to play during any season. Is beach volleyball harder than indoor?

Beach volleyball is significantly harder than indoor volleyball, as the players must consider the weather elements and the playing surface. Although beach courts are smaller and the balls are lighter, you have much more roles and need to work much harder at the beach to perfect your skill set.

If you compare volleyball to other traditional sports, it’s an absolute blast! Volleyball is fun for all ages, and it’s the ideal team-building sport. Continue reading with us as we go through the differences between beach and indoor volleyball and why beach volleyball is so much more demanding!

The Differences Between Beach And Indoor Volleyball

There are some distinctive differences between beach volleyball and indoor volleyball.

By knowing the differences between each, you may be able to make a more accurate choice if you’re thinking of switching from beach to indoor volleyball or vice versa:

Beach Vs. Indoor Volleyball: Ball Differences

If you’re playing on the beach, it only makes sense that you would need to use a different volleyball than you would indoors.

A beach volleyball will need to withstand the sun, the sand, and the wind. Beach balls are generally larger and are used at lower air pressure.

They are softer and lighter but have a rougher exterior, as the ball will float longer in the air, which allows good and experienced players to use the weather circumstances to their advantage.

The indoor version of a volleyball is made to look sleek and smooth. Indoor volleyballs are usually made of leather and are much heavier than outdoor balls.

Regarding the price tag, indoor volleyball could also give you a run for your money. These balls do not come cheap and typically have a price tag of around $50. This is very different from beach volleyballs, as they can often be bought at the beach for cheap!

Beach Vs. Indoor Volleyball: Team Differences

Beach volleyball is generally played with doubles. There are no allocated positions to a specific player, and there’s an equal amount of players on the right and left sides.

Most beach volleyball players are skillful and well-rounded and can dig, block, and hit in the most challenging weather. At the higher levels of beach volleyball, one player will be dedicated to digging and the other one to blocking.

Still, beginner volleyball players will simply pick a side and share their responsibilities as the team. The rule of thumb regarding beach volleyball is to never play with more than two players per side if you want to be taken seriously!

Indoor volleyball is more complex than beach volleyball. Indoor volleyball is always played in teams of six players.

Each player has a specialized position, and constant switches and rotations are happening throughout games to ensure that each player remains in their fixed position.

Beach Vs. Indoor Volleyball: Scoring Differences

In beach volleyball, each match will consist of a series of best-out-of-three games, and each game is played to 21 points. If two sets win the match, the third will act as a tiebreaker set. If it becomes necessary, a game is also played to 15 points.

With indoor volleyball, a match will consist of five-game sets. The first team who reaches 25 points will win the set.

 Three sets will win the match; if each team has won two sets, the fifth game will act as the tiebreaker set. If necessary, a game would also be played to 15 points. Teams will switch after every game set.

In beach and indoor volleyball, a team has to win by two points. Another similarity is that both games use rally scoring, meaning you do not need to serve the ball to win the point. The team that wins the rally will win the point!

Beach Vs. Indoor Volleyball: Court Size Differences

The sizes for beach and indoor volleyball courts are very different. Beach courts are much smaller than indoor courts, and there is no attack line.

A beach court would generally be roughly 16m x 8m. the players will hit the volleyball from anywhere, as long as it is on their side of the net.

An indoor volleyball court size is usually 18m x 9m and consists of a parallel attack line 3 m from the center line. Back-row players should always stand behind this line when hitting the ball.

If you’re wondering why a beach volleyball court is smaller, you should try sprinting through the sand at the beach and see how tired and out of breath you get.

The change is mainly to compensate for the fact that you have only two players covering the space while trying to move through the sand as quickly as possible.

The smaller court size at the beach will encourage more extended and more competitive sprints!

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Why Is Beach Volleyball Harder Than Indoor?

Many factors come into play when you’re out on the beach volleyball court. You need to come prepared, but there’s only so much for what you can prepare.

Beach volleyball will throw lots of things your way, making the game more exciting but also much more challenging:

The Surface Makes Beach Volleyball More Challenging

In indoor volleyball, you can sometimes become lazy with your footwork without it drawing back your team. However, beach volleyball’s sandy surface makes it much more crucial for your timing and footwork to be correct.

You need to be in control, as it’s much more challenging to make a quick adjustment or push yourself against the ground sideways to fix wrong positioning as you could on a hard indoor surface.

You and your teammates will be punished if you’re in an incorrect position in beach volleyball. Many indoor volleyball players who have transitioned to outdoor find this the most challenging part, as they often trip in the sand and appear to have bad technique.

You Will Be Barefoot When Playing Beach Volleyball

This may seem painfully obvious, but one of the main reasons why beach volleyball is so challenging is because you will be barefoot. Being barefoot, you will lack more traction, and your toes will sink in the sand, increasing your risk of slipping when running.

Additionally, because of the lack of shoes, you will have no ankle support, which leads to many players becoming injured during the game. On particularly hot days, the heat beating down on the sand will heat it, which could become distracting and even burn your feet.

So, when you play beach volleyball, you must increase your practice, focus, and concentrate on each landing.

Any holes in the sand and how the sand moves need to be constantly taken into account, and if you have never played in the sand before, you will have a hard time getting the hang of it, especially if you’re transitioning from indoor volleyball.

The Sun Will Impact The Difficulty Of A Back Volleyball Game

Of course, there are ways to predict the weather and choose a day ideal for playing a volleyball game on the beach, but this is not always the case. Some games are planned in advance, so the players have no choice but to adapt and overcome the obstacles the weather may throw them!

The sun could make it almost impossible to keep your eyes on the ball, and even when you wear sunglasses, you can still become blinded, with the risk of them falling off your face or getting hit by the ball.

 If the sun is directly above you and you look up to play the ball, you may need to rely more on your sense of feel than your vision!

Additionally, the heat of the sun could take its toll on you after a few minutes. Your body needs to work ten times harder in the heat to cool you off.

Some days, you will be drenched in sweat just by walking on the beach, and if you pair the heat with one of the most physically demanding sports, things could get sticky!

If it is scorching hot, you will lose a lot of fluids every hour playing volleyball on the beach.

This will, of course, affect the sun, which could burn your skin, and heat your brain, which results in you having trouble focusing, and sometimes, you may have to play while you are aware that your poor feet are burning.

When you decide to play beach volleyball, you should always have more than enough water, a hat, with sunscreen to protect you. The sun is our friend, but it could also cause some hardships when paired with an intense game of beach volleyball!

Strategizing Is Difficult When Playing Beach Volleyball

Apart from the sun and the sand flying around, the wind could make things even more difficult. There is always wind at the beach, and there is no way to escape it, especially if you’re on the volleyball court.

You can strategize all you want, but all your strategies will be good for nothing if the wind doesn’t play along. If you have the ball in hand and a sudden strong gust of wind blows through, you need to consider how the ball’s position will be affected in the air.

This is where beach volleyball players need to perfect their skills and use the wind to their advantage. If there is wind, you must learn how to play with it and not against it.

This is one of the most significant known challenges of beach volleyball, and many indoor volleyball players don’t even give the wind a thought when they’re playing inside. When you transition or start to play back volleyball, this may be one of your most significant challenges!

Physical Movements Are Complicated In Beach Volleyball

Of course, your footwork needs to be much more skilled on the beach, but this is not all. Any other physical movement on a beach volleyball court needs to be precise, such as catching and throwing the ball and the jumps.

When you jump, your jumping technique needs to have some adjustments to it. If you have practiced on a flat, hard surface with no give underneath, the sudden change in technique will throw you off and make the beach seem difficult. When you play a game of indoor volleyball, you can jump forward and up.

However, in the sand, this will only cause you to be stopped in your tracks. You have to simply jump up and use all the strength in your arms to swing back to help you use your legs more. Eventually, you will perfect this technique and learn how to use the sandy surface to your advantage.

Each movement in the sand from each player’s feet and the ball will cause the sand to have divots. When you start playing beach volleyball, the uneven surface which is caused by these divots may cause you to become frustrated, as they warp your playing surface even further. In time, you will learn how to shrug them off and use them to gain more speed!

Keep in mind that timing and sequence are always needed if you play volleyball at the beach. As you jump, you must constantly focus on your feet and keep your soles flat. You may need to use your knees more to get a strong and stable jump.

Remember, your feet will sink into the sand if you jump with your toes. You have to keep practicing and consider all these factors for the delay when you need to time yourself to catch the ball.


There’s no doubt that both beach and indoor volleyball could be great fun. Although beach volleyball is seen as the more challenging variable, more people enjoy it, as it was meant to be played on the beach!

Whether you’re thinking of starting your volleyball journey or transitioning from indoors, you will have a lot of fun. It’s a great team-building sport and could help you get fit and in shape for the summer!