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What's the Difference Between Beach and Court Volleyball?

By SportsEngine Staff, 05/05/16, 5:15PM CDT

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Whether inside or in the sand, volleyball is fun and active sport. Although the basic rules and object of the game remain the same, there are some significant differences between the two.

Thinking of switching surfaces this summer? If volleyball is your game, try changing your environment while still playing a sport you love. Before you trade in the hard court for the hot sand, here are four things to keep in mind as you transition from indoor volleyball to the beach.

COURT SIZES

Court sizes for indoor and beach volleyball are very different. Indoor courts are 18m x 9m, with a parallel attack line that is 3m from the center line. Back row players must stay behind this line when hitting the ball.

Beach courts are smaller--16m x 8m and there is no attack line. A player may hit the ball from anywhere on their side of the net.

BALLS

Indoor volleyballs are made of leather and are heavier than outdoor balls. Indoor volleyball is a game of power and the heavier balls move quicker and can be hit harder.

Beach volleyballs are softer, lighter and a bit bigger than indoor balls. The lighter weight allows them to float more in the air, allowing good players to use the weather to their advantage.

PLAYERS PER SIDE

Indoor volleyball is played with six per side. Each person has a specialized position and there are complex rotations and switches going on throughout games to ensure that each person remains in their designated position.

Beach volleyball is typically played with doubles. There are no specialized positions, only a left and a right side. Most beach players are well-rounded and can hit, dig and block.

SCORING

With indoor volleyball, a match consists of five sets, or games. The first team to reach 25 points wins the set. Three sets wins the match, and the fifth tiebreaker set, if necessary, is only played to 15 points. Teams switch sides after every game. In beach volleyball, a match consists of a series of best-of-three game, with each game played to 21 points. Two sets wins the match, and the third tiebreaker set, if necessary, is also played to 15 points.

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