So you’ve fallen in love with volleyball (we can’t blame you there) and want to try your hand out at beach. First off, congratulations! Second off, there’s a reason why indoor and sand volleyball are two separate sports. While the basic premise is the same—bump, set spike, don’t let the ball drop on your side of the net—that’s about it. Read on to find out some of the biggest differences between indoor and beach:

· The court is smaller than indoor.
· There are no positions for doubles—unless you count you and your partner playing every position. That’s right, you are going to become a passer, setter, and hitter when you step on the beach court.
· You’ll have to watch your sets. There are several sticky rules surrounding setting the ball on the beach. For one, the only time you can set the first contact is on a hard-driven ball. In other words, unless the other team has spiked the ball at you, then you must either bump or tomahawk the first contact. This means that serve receive, free balls, and roll shots all cannot be set.
Second, when you sent a ball over the net with a set, you must be facing the direction that you set the ball. Lastly, referees tend to call sets way more closely on the beach than indoors, so double contacts occur far more frequently. Most people simply opt to bump set altogether to avoid getting a double called on them.
· Teams switch sides during the match. The length of the match will determine how often you switch sides. Remember, when crossing underneath the net, it’s good etiquette to high-five the other team and tell them good job.
· You can’t touch the net. Not even the bottom part, like you can indoor.
· A touch off the block counts as the first contact.
· You cannot use an open hand to tip the ball. Don’t worry, you’ll perfect your pokey or shot in no time.
· You’re allowed to cross the net to retrieve a stray ball during a rally. If the ball crosses the net on the outside of the post or antenna, players are still allowed to retrieve it and continue play.

If this list seems a little daunting, we understand. There are a lot of differences to keep track of when switching from indoor to beach volleyball. Don’t worry, though—they’ll become second nature to you in no time.

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