Is Beach Volleyball Harder Than Indoor Volleyball?

In 1895, volleyball made its debut in the sports world. It was created shortly after basketball by William G. Morgan. He combined softball, tennis, and basketball into one sport: volleyball.

Volleyball has developed into several different versions during the last century. Snow volleyball, water volleyball, shot volleyball, and more versions exist in addition to the conventional game. Sand volleyball and indoor volleyball are two of the most popular versions.

Is Beach Volleyball More Difficult Than Indoor Volleyball?

Your volleyball knowledge may have been limited to the enclosed world of indoor volleyball up to this point. The elements are consistent and predictable. The lights, the feel of the courts, and even the scents are consistent from one site to the next.

The outdoors, on the other hand, is wildly different. The prospect of switching from a steamy, fluorescent-lit gymnasium to sun and sand is an appealing idea. But maybe you’re wondering is beach volleyball more difficult than indoor volleyball? In a nutshell, the answer is yes. There are several causes for this.

Differences Within The Game

Is Beach Volleyball Harder Than Indoor Volleyball?

The number of players is reduced from six to two.

Beach volleyball is most commonly played in pairs. There are no specialist positions, merely a left and right side. A sand volleyball player is versatile, able to hit, dig, and block.

Six players per team engage in an indoor game, with each player assigned to a certain role. A sequence of intricate shifts and rotations occur throughout the game. In a beach volleyball game, one player is designated as the digger and the other as the blocker.

While this is self-evident when watching a game, consider how this small modification affects your volleyball experience.

  1. Your position and responsibility change.  When you are playing inside, you have a fixed role. You are a setter, a defender, a middle hitter or an outside hitter. When you switch to sand volleyball, you’re more of a mix of all of these roles.

Of course, one player may be a stronger hitter, setter, blocker, or server, but both players must be extremely well-rounded and capable of doing everything relatively well. The sole positional distinction is that on defense, one person is the blocker.

  1. The dynamic of your team shifts. Volleyball has a great sense of teamwork. You may not know it, but team spirit and relationships play a significant role in your team’s victory or defeat (and, more importantly, the enjoyment of the sport).

When you switch from a group to two players, it’s a significant difference! Are you the type of person who can tolerate and appreciate being coupled with just one partner?

  1. Your pressure increases. When you’re on a big team and make a tremendous play, you get a lot of credit. While you may be humiliated and under stress from your teammates or coach when you make a mistake, you should remember that everyone makes mistakes. That changes when you’re part of a two-person team.

Instead of making the error that costs your team a point now and then, it may be you regularly. Consider your companion; they may be making mistakes all day. Will you be able to cope in such a situation? You’re under pressure in both scenarios, but they’re not the same kind.

Court Size

A beach volleyball court is 16 meters by 8 meters and has no obvious attack line. An indoor court is roughly 60 feet long and 30 feet wide. It’s 18 meters by 9 meters in size. It has a 3 meter attack line that runs parallel to the center line. 

When hitting a ball in an indoor game, the back row members must stay behind the attack line. On the beach, players have more freedom of movement and can strike the ball from any position. Rapid movement on the sand is quite taxing, which is the main explanation for the size disparity. Due to less court area, more competitive gatherings and larger points are encouraged.

There will be no substitutions.

There’s just you and your team member; no one else can help you. The regulations state that you can’t be coached during a game, though this is frequently changed at the junior levels. So don’t worry about not getting enough playing time; you’ll get it all!

Different Ball

An indoor volleyball court is substantially softer and lighter than a beach volleyball court. To increase durability, the indoor balls are made of leather. The heavier ball moves quickly and can be struck much harder in indoor volleyball.

Beach volleyballs are slightly larger than regular volleyballs and are played at lower air pressures. This combination allows the ball to nearly float in the air, allowing a competent player to take advantage of the weather.

The exterior of outdoor balls is rougher to withstand the environment over time, but the indoor variant is sleek. While we may fantasize about bright days on the beach, keep in mind that this ball will also be exposed to rain on occasion while being played outdoors.

Why Is Beach Volleyball Tougher Than Indoor Volleyball?


Apart from the apparent distraction of sand flying around, wind can also make your set more difficult to handle. Let’s say you’re getting the ball and a gust of wind blows through. How will the ball’s position in the air be affected?

What about after you’ve struck the ball? Let us assume that you’re about to hit the ball over the net when the wind blows through. Could it help you slow down your swing by providing resistance to the ball’s momentum? Could it, on the other hand, give backflow to your opponent’s attack, causing it to gain momentum?

In general, if there is wind, you must learn to play against it. Will it be beneficial or detrimental? Will it give you a boost or make you fall short? It’s important to be aware of it and to use it to your advantage.


The sand has its own set of challenges. For starters, you’re barefoot, which means your feet are exposed. The sun’s heat on a bare patch of sand might feel like burning embers on your skin.

Furthermore, a failing squint can result in dust in the eye or anywhere else the sand can get into, such as the nose, mouth, or throat. 

This isn’t even taking into account the fact that sand hinders your movements, making it more difficult to get to the coming serve. The bending and dipping of the sand beneath your weight causes the height of your jump to diminish, and the motion of your foot to push off the ground must be altered to account for this.

Then there are the ground’s various dips. Since sand does not create an even playing field, there’s always the risk of hitting a dip or a pile of sand while rushing for the ball, which can affect your footing too.

Skill Set

Indoor volleyball allows you to focus on your talents by allowing you to specialize in your position. Maybe you’re not the best setter in the world. There’s no need to worry; someone else can step in and fill that void. This is certainly not the case when playing beach volleyball.

For beach volleyball, you have to push yourself to become well-rounded and build those skills that you might hide indoors. You won’t be able to hide on the beach. You and your teammate must cover the entire court and every position together. You are forced to become a well-rounded player rather than being able to mask your flaws.


In beach volleyball, there are specific rules that you must follow. On the beach, for example, the initial touch off the block qualifies as one of your three touches, which affects how and when you set your partner. You can not spin the set at all, and you may only set it with your hands if it will be totally clean.

There are other specifics, such as not using an open hand tip and knowing how to poke. While you will pick up on these rule adjustments, when you rely on muscle memory, beach volleyball becomes considerably more deliberate and a little more difficult.

Final Thoughts

So, is beach volleyball more difficult than indoor volleyball?

The answer to this question highly depends on the player’s skills and experience. The beach is unquestionably more difficult for your overall fitness. To compete on the sand, you must have a more diverse skill set and a better level of physical fitness.

Consider the sport’s entire background structure as well. Indoor programs already have facilities, gear, and lockers in place. Will beach games have a similar foundation right away? Some already do, while others are working toward it, but it’s something to think about.