Top 5 differences between beach and indoor volleyball

Thursday, June 9th, 2022 19:45 | By
Kenya Beach Volleyball
Kenya Beach Volleyball captain Guadencia Makokha. PHOTO/TeamKenya/Twitter

Kenya's national beach volleyball team has arrived in Italy in preparation of the World Beach Volleyball championship campaign. What runs in our minds constantly is how differently the volleyball version is from the normal indoor volleyball.

Lets break down top 5 differences between beach volleyball and indoor volleyball.

1. The Volleyball

Sure, they’re both round and they’re filled with air, but indoor and beach volleyballs are different by design.

Indoor balls are heavier, allowing them to move faster and harder. Beach volleyballs are softer, lighter, and marginally bigger. With 4 fewer players per side on the beach, that bigger, floatier ball allows for those players to close distances and make the crazy diving plays that are hallmarks of beach sets.

2.Team Size

Aside from taking place on the sand, the most obvious difference between indoor and beach volleyball are the number of players on a team.

Kenya Women's Volleyball team
Kenya national women's volleyball team. PHOTO/SOYAAwards/Twitter

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.

Both groups of athletes definitely work up a sweat, but on the beach, once you step onto the court, you don’t get to leave until the game is decided.

3. Scoring points

Scoring is another big difference between both sports. In indoor volleyball, a set is won by the first team to score 25 points. Beach volleyball is played to 21.

In indoor volleyball, a team must win 3 sets to win the game, and on the sand, the game is won by the first team to win 2 sets. In both versions of the sport, if a tie-breaking set is to be played, that set is only played to 15 points, and in all cases, the winning team has to win a set by a minimum of 2 points.

4. Technicals

Hardcore fans of indoor volleyball may notice a few technical differences during play versus beach volleyball that casuals may miss. On the beach, players aren’t allowed to “dink”, or tip, the ball over the net.

Kenya women’s national beach volleyball team coach Sammy Mulinge (left) takes players through their paces during a training session at Flamingo beach in Mombasa early this year. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Beach players have to use their palm, or straight locked or curled fingers to hit a short shot over the net. No soft fingers can tip the ball over, which is allowed in indoor.

5. Weather

Indoor volleyball doesn’t have weather to contend with. You’ve got four walls, a roof, and air conditioning to keep each match climate-controlled for players and fans. On the beach, playing conditions are up to Mother Nature to decide.

Kenya’s pair of Brackcides Agala and Gaudencia Makokha will get their World Beach Volleyball Championship campaign underway on Friday with a clash against Italian pair of Claudia Scampoli and Margherita Blanchin at the Foro Italico in Rome, Italy.

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