Does beach volleyball help with indoor volleyball? Differences and similarities

Beach volleyball is becoming more popular. More fields are being installed and you can even play the game in some cities that have invested in this while it is typically played on the beach (as the name suggests). This attracts new players that think that they can use these skills to play indoor volleyball as well. Is this the case or not? Let’s discuss. Both are a lot of fun to play and have their unique characteristics. 

Why beach volleyball helps with indoor volleyball: similarities

There are a lot of learnings that you can take from beach volleyball to indoor volleyball.

In terms of offense, we can discuss some skills that are transferrable. The net has the same height so you are used to playing the ball high enough. Furthermore, you will learn how to play together with other players. This is a big advantage as you learn how to anticipate their movements and can deliver better passes.

Let’s take a look at some spectacular beach volleyball attacks.

In terms of defense, you will learn how to remain calm when you are under a lot of pressure. This is really important as a lot of players get overwhelmed in indoor volleyball. They (both literally and figuratively) drop the ball because they can’t deal with the stress of having to keep the ball in the air. This can take quite some getting used to and beach volleyball can help you with this.  You will also learn how opponents react to different types of attacks. A smash can lead to more panic than a soft ball over the net. 

Beach volleyball will also push you to dive for every ball so that you can defend. This is a good reflex that will help you a lot while you play indoor volleyball as well. It is a mindset that can make the difference between a good and a great volleyball player. You will also learn that it is not that bad if you make a mistake.

There is always the next point and you can recover from things that went wrong. Don’t let your head hang when you miss an interception or pass in the wrong direction. We all make these mistakes and you will see that it is possible to fix them if you stay focused and don’t dwell too much on the things that went wrong.

Playing beach volleyball can be a lot of fun.

It is difficult to play beach volleyball when it rains or during winter (in colder climates). This pushes a lot of players to indoor volleyball. 

Why beach volleyball doesn’t help with indoor volleyball: differences

There are several notable differences between indoor volleyball and beach volleyball that can have a negative impact on your indoor performance if you are used to beach volleyball. For starters, the ball is slightly heavier and bigger in beach volleyball. Furthermore, the size of the field is quite a lot smaller and this can make you target your balls at an area that is too small.

Therefore your setting and passing can be affected as the ball will react differently than you are used to. It can take quite some time to adjust your movements to the ball and field size. Indoor volleyball is played with more players so you will have fewer ball touches than in beach volleyball.

This can feel strange at first as you often have no role in a specific attack in indoor volleyball. The advantage of this is that other players can help you out when you are still adjusting from beach volleyball to indoor volleyball.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

The matches in indoor volleyball are often last longer as you have to score more points to win a set. Since the team is bigger for indoor volleyball, this doesn’t mean that one type is more intense than the other. In fact, a lot of people would argue that beach volleyball is more intense as you have to partake in almost every defensive and offensive movement.

It shouldn’t be surprising that there are fewer timeouts for beach volleyball as you have to score fewer points to win a set. 

Beach volleyball often uses less strategy as you don’t have a lot of time to pass to other players. Therefore you might take some getting used to training sessions that mainly focus on strategy and theory. Beach volleyball players often act surprised when indoor volleyball players start to discuss passing systems and so on. 

Beach volleyball doesn’t use the same rotation as indoor volleyball. In indoor volleyball, each position has its own role (from defending to smashing). This is not the case for beach volleyball and you might take on too many roles if you are used to playing beach volleyball as you have to play multiple roles at the same time there.

You will frustrate other players on your indoor team if you don’t perform the correct action as they are waiting to get your pass or expect that you perform a certain movement. Be sure to study up on this when you switch from beach volleyball to indoor volleyball as this is often seen as basic knowledge for indoor players. 

Overview of the rotation in volleyball. Made with

This is the reason why professional indoor players take quite some time to adjust to beach volleyball. For example, players that participate in the beach volleyball Olympics often set aside a few weeks or months to get used to the new dynamics.

This makes sure that they are able to adjust the position of their body. If you go from indoor to beach volleyball directly, you will struggle at the beginning of the match given that the ball has a different feel. 

To conclude, we can state that beach volleyball can help with indoor volleyball as you learn how to handle the ball and play with other volleyball players. These are essential skills if you want to play indoor volleyball as well.

It can be a great way to get started with volleyball and see if it is something for you or not. Once you enjoy playing beach volleyball, it is quite easy to adjust to indoor volleyball as you are used to learning new things and a lot of principles also apply to both. 

On the other hand, beach volleyball can teach you a lot of the wrong reflexes.  The field is smaller and the ball is heavier in beach volleyball. This means that your aim might be completely off if you start to play indoor volleyball immediately after this.

Furthermore, you are playing with more people in indoor volleyball and this might be confusing if you are not used to this. Most beach players don’t wear knee pads as they are used to soft landings on the grass. In indoor volleyball, you have to be careful with this as the floor is harder. In indoor volleyball, you can slide over the ground if you want to catch a ball. This is harder when you play beach volleyball. 

So overall it can be a great idea to start out with beach volleyball to see if you like it. You will learn a lot of techniques and mindsets that can be used for indoor volleyball as well. Just be prepared that you will have to adjust your approach as there are some notable differences between how the two are played.