Indoor Court vs. Beach Volleyball Rule Comparison


Whether inside or out at the beach, volleyball is fun, challenging and burns a lot of calories -- more than 745 calories an hour, depending on location of the game and your weight. Although the general rules of the game remain the same, there are some significant differences between indoor and beach volleyball

Switch Sides

Although rotating players for the serve remains the same both in indoor and outdoor volleyball, teams also switch sides during outdoor volleyball games. Due to changing conditions such as sun glare, wind, and variable lighting for evening games, allowing teams to switch sides keeps the game fair as well as competitive. Depending on how many points a game is played to, teams switch sides when the sum of the teams' scores equals multiples of 4, 5 or 7.


Both indoor and outdoor volleyball allows three hits for each team. Indoor volleyball rules qualify that a block does not count as a hit. Outdoor volleyball that feature two- or three-player teams counts blocks as a hit.

Hand Tips/Dinks

Indoor volleyball rules allow open hand tips or dinks, or moves that send the ball just slightly over the net. Rules governing outdoor volleyball games that feature two-, three- or four-player teams do not allow these types of moves. Due to the fewer players during an outdoor volleyball game, hand tips and dinks would be used too easily to win a point, thus leaving the competition part out. This rule also disallows alternatives to hand tips and dinks, including using the heel or back of the hand, locked or curled fingers or the palms.

Court Size

An indoor volleyball court measures 59 feet long by 29 1/2 feet wide. Beach volleyball games are played on a court that measures 52 1/2 feet by 26 1/4. Both are divided in half by the net and have surrounding free zones.

Other Considerations

There are plenty of other differences in rules between indoor and outdoor volleyball as well as differences in other areas, including the amount of air pressure allowed in a volleyball. The USA Volleyball organization provides rules for both indoor and outdoor volleyball as well as comparisons between NCAA college women's volleyball, USA Volleyball and national federation volleyball rules.