Differences Between Sand and Indoor Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport that takes athleticism, endurance, hand-eye coordination, and skill. From the outside, many spectators don’t understand how sand volleyball and indoor volleyball are different. But if you are a player, there are too many differences to count! The transition from the hard floor to the cushioned sand is extremely difficult, even for a vetted volleyball player. Today, Rocky Mount Event Center lists some of the main differences between sand volleyball and indoor volleyball. 

Playing Surface

The most obvious difference between the two sports is the playing surface. An indoor volleyball court is much harder than an outdoor sand court. The hardness of the surface enables the players to jump higher, and it’s also easier to maneuver. Playing indoors also eliminates any worry of weather or windy play! However, sand volleyball gives players a greater ability for digs and dives since the sand is much softer than the hardwood.

Indoor Volleyball Court Dimensions

An indoor volleyball court is larger than a sand volleyball court, creating more surface area for the ball to land and the players to cover. Indoor volleyball courts measure 18m x 9m, compared to sand volleyball court dimensions of 16m x 8m. Even though it might not seem like the distances are dramatically different, those 34 square meters have a big impact on the game!


One of the biggest differences between the two sports is the scoring system. Indoor volleyball matches consist of five sets, each going to 25 points. In order to win the match, you must win three of the five sets. In sand volleyball, they play best-of-three games trying to reach 21 points first. One of the only similarities between the two scoring systems is that each set must always be won by two points.

Number of Players

Indoor volleyball is played with larger teams, which makes covering the court much easier. This sport is played with six players on each side, each player holding a separate position. It can get confusing as the players are constantly switching and rotating throughout the game. Sand volleyball is typically played in doubles, without set positions. Because the players are required to cover such a large area and are still limited to three hits per side, it requires great endurance. Sand volleyball greatly relies on teamwork and communication to score points successfully. 

Ball Design

Most people think that all volleyballs are the same, able to be used for both indoor and sand volleyball. However, this is not the case. Indoor volleyballs are made out of leather, making them heavier and giving them the ability to hit harder. A sand volleyball is lighter and slightly bigger than an indoor volleyball. This allows the sand volleyball to float in the air longer than an indoor volleyball, giving the players a better opportunity to reach the hit in time. 

Indoor Volleyball Courts at Rocky Mount Event Center

Rocky Mount Event Center hosts some of the largest indoor volleyball events in the area. Our 75,000 square feet of floor space allows for 16 separate volleyball courts to operate at once, making it the perfect location for large-scale tournaments. Whether you want to attend a camp or a volleyball tournament, Rocky Mount Event Center has you covered. Check out our volleyball facility to learn how to book an event today. Questions? Contact us for answers!