Is Beach Volleyball Harder Than Indoor Volleyball?

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Many sports variations require different types of skills and characteristics, and volleyball is no exception. If you are new to this sport, you may find yourself asking “Is beach volleyball harder than indoor volleyball?” and whether it takes more skill or not. 

Is Beach Volleyball Harder Than Indoor Volleyball?

Indoor volleyball is strategically harder than beach volleyball. However, this last one is played outdoors, meaning that it is physically harder than indoor volleyball. After all, it has many elements that can make it more difficult for athletes.

Learning about the factors that can influence the gameplay inside of a volleyball court is important for every player. This way you can have a much clearer vision of both versions of the game, allowing you to understand the different perspectives of each one of them.

Woman playing beach volleyball

Elements That Influence Beach Volleyball

Since it is played outdoors, many natural elements can directly influence a match. Each one of them can make the game more difficult for both your team and your body. Here are the elements that can impact a game of beach volleyball.


The sand is one of the most obvious differences between the two types of volleyball. This element can help you safely fall into the ground, which makes digging easier. However, the hard part comes when you accidentally get a mouthful of sand, or even worse, an eyeful.

The sand can sneak into any part of your body, which can make you uncomfortable and affect your performance. Also, the sand can slow and decrease the power of your actions inside of the court. If you try to jump or run, the sand will move, slightly sinking you in.

This means that you need to make a greater effort when it comes to moving. Lastly, you need to be aware of the dimps in the ground. Since sand is not distributed evenly, there can be mounds of sand in the court, and if you are not aware of them, you may trip and fall.


A gust of wind can highly affect the direction of the volleyball. This means that your sets and spikes need to be incredibly precise. Professional beach players are trained to play against the wind, which allows them to accurately calculate the direction of the ball.

Additionally, the wind can also trick you when defending a spike. You might think the volleyball is coming one way, but it ends up in another due to a gust of wind. Lastly, the wind might also blow the sand, which could then get into your eyes.

Beach volleyball played in double


The sun can also impact your accuracy inside of the court. For example, if you look up to defend or serve the volleyball, you might accidentally catch a glance of the sun, which could quickly blind you for a couple of seconds.

This is why most elite players wear sunglasses and a hat. Also, the sun rays striking your body might get you fatigued.


The weather is unexpected and it can not be controlled. Some days are going to be hotter and more humid than usual, making you get exhausted within a couple of minutes. It could also be cold and windy, which could also be uncomfortable.

Major Differences Between Beach Volleyball and Indoor Volleyball

Beach VolleyballIndoor Volleyball
Bigger-sized ballSmaller-sized ball
Two playersUp to six players
Weather conditionsNo weather conditions

Many key differences separate these two types of volleyball. These allow each game to be unique and difficult in their ways. Here are the major differences between the two types of volleyball:

  • When playing on the beach, the ball is lighter, softer, and a little bit bigger than its indoor version. This allows the ball to float more in the air (which increases the chances of being moved by a gust of wind).
  • Indoor volleyball is played with six players on each side. This makes the game much more prone to strategy since there are more possibilities.
  • On the beach, volleyball is usually played with two players on each side.
Friends playing volleyball at the beach
  • Indoor volleyball players have specialized positions.
  • Beach players have no specialty, they both know how to defend and attack.
  • When playing indoors, players have to rotate every time a team scores a point.
  • When playing indoors, a match should consist of five sets. Whoever wins three sets first, wins the match.
  • When playing on the beach, a match should only consist of three sets. Whoever wins two sets first, wins the match.
  • To win a set in professional indoor volleyball, you need to score at least 25 points with a 2-point advantage.
  • To win a set in professional beach volleyball, you need to score at least 21 points with a 2-point advantage.

Related Questions

Does Playing Beach Volleyball Make You a Better Indoor Volleyball Player?

Yes, since playing beach volleyball allows you to build resistance, it can make you perform better in indoor volleyball. Additionally, beach players need to attack and defend at the same time, which can make them learn the skills faster.

Is It Harder to Jump in Beach Volleyball?

Yes, jumping in beach volleyball is harder due to the sand. Since sand moves when you jump, this decreases the strength and height at which you can jump.

Is Beach Volleyball More Beneficial for Weight Loss Than Indoor?

No, due to their high intensity, beach volleyball and indoor volleyball both help people lose weight. Both activities can result in significant calorie burn, which is crucial for weight loss.


Even though beach volleyball can be physically harder, it doesn’t mean that it is more difficult than indoor volleyball. They both have their difficulties and characteristics that make them unique.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.