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. If you want get serious, or at least look serious when you're playing, buy the yellow-and-white-striped Wilson beach volleyball.
Aside from taking place on the sand, the most obvious difference between indoor and beach volleyball are the number of players on a team. Beach volleyball teams consist of two players. There’s no bench and there are no substitutions. Indoor volleyball has six players per team on the court, and they can substitute players up to 6 times per set.
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There is no bench in beach volleyball and no substitutions. Indoor volleyball allows for up to twelve substitutions per set and allows teams to have a bench. Beach volleyball keeps the two starting players on the court for the entire game. The two players alternate serving each time the receiving team scores a point, whereas indoor volleyball has a system of rotations for the six players on the court.
A beach volleyball is much softer and lighter than an indoor volleyball. The indoor balls are made from leather to be more robust. Indoor volleyball is all about power, the heavier ball moves quickly and can also be hit much harder. The lighter beach volleyball is also slightly bigger.
Most beach players will tell you that they learn more without a coach in the outdoor game than with a coach in the indoor game. This is so because every movement counts in beach, so the player must be constantly tweaking skills to conserve energy, take stress off their partner, and win more points.
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Indoor courts are 60’ x 30’w and have an attack line 10’ from the center line, which back row players must stay behind when hitting the ball. Beach courts are smaller at 52’ x 26.25’w and do not have an attack line.
In indoor volleyball, the attack lines are regulated and marked, while beach volleyball does not have set lines—attack lines are moveable and at the mercy of the referee if problems arise. The net for each game is also different—beach volleyball allows advertising, while indoor volleyball does not regulate markings.
Beach volleyball has no such line and the players are able to hit from anywhere on their side of the net. Indoor courts typically showcase synthetic or wood finish. Some older courts may even be concrete. With indoor courts, shoes are required. Beach volleyball courts, in contrast, are made of sand and you play barefoot.