Key differences between indoor and outdoor rules

Tony Chan.

Now that we have reached July 1, we’re officially in outdoor mid-season. No more excuses for not knowing the outdoor rules. We consulted with international beach referee Tony Chan on the differences between indoor and outdoor play.

Court size: indoor is 9 x 9 meters (29 feet, 6 inches for the metrically challenged), while outdoor is 8 x 8 meters (26’-3)

Centerline: There is no centerline outdoors, so players may cross into an opponent’s playing area, but may not interfere with an opponent’s play.

Blocking: Indoors, a block does not count as a touch, but a block is one of the allowable three contacts outdoors.

Attack hits: Indoors, players may open hand tip, but outdoors, a player is not allowed to use an open-handed finger action unless the fingertips are rigid and together, as in a cobra. Open-handed tipping and dinking are not allowed outdoors.

Indoors, a setter may set the ball into the opponent’s court in any direction, but outdoors, any set over the net that is offensive in nature must be perpendicular to a setter’s shoulders, either forwards or backwards. A ball that is intended as a set for a teammate that inadvertently drifts over the net is allowed.

Double contact on first team hits: Indoors, players may double-hit any first team contact, including overhand finger action, as long as it is one attempt to play the ball. Outdoors, if overhand finger action is used on a first team contact, the contact must be judged “clean”, unless the ball is a hard-driven attack hit. If the ball is hard driven, finger action is allowed, and the dig may be momentarily lifted.

Coaching: Unlike indoors, outdoors prohibits outside assistance from coaches or spectators (with the exception of college volleyball).

Editor’s note: Tony Chan is a FIVB certified official, and is a member of the Beach Official’s Commission. You can criticize Tony’s officiating at a multitude of AVP and FIVB events. And Tony Chan and Ed Chan are not related, although they joke that they’re twin sons of different mothers.

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Ed Chan is the Publisher/Director of Photography at Ed has been involved in the sport for nearly 40 years as a photographer, facility owner, official, coach, and player.