What Are The Surfaces Where You Can Play Volleyball?

what surfaces can volleyball be played on

What is great about volleyball is that it can be played in many different surfaces. Obviously, a wooden court is the main surface type where volleyball is played most of the time …

However, there are other surfaces where you can enjoy practicing the sport!

In this short article, I breakdown all those surfaces. I also address some surfaces where you shouldn’t practice volleyball.

Surfaces where you can play Volleyball …

Regular Court

volleyball court

The regular playing court in volleyball is 18m long and 9m wide. The court is surrounded by a free zone of 3 m width on all sides.

The space located above the playing area is known as the free playing space, and it is a minimum of 7m high from the actual playing surface.

According to the rules, for any world and official competitions, the free zone measures a minimum of 8m from the ends lines and 5m from the sidelines. This free playing space is also a minimum of 7m high from the playing surface.

For the world and official volleyball competitions, only a synthetic or wooden surface are allowed. White colors are a must for the lines, while other different colors are required for the free zone and playing court.

To be able to play in such a court safely with maximum comfort, it is highly recommended to wear proper volleyball shoes (Check this Example Here at Amazon). They provide the necessary grip to help you execute all volleyball mouvements.

When it comes to the net, it is 2.43m high for men and 2.24m high for women. The net is placed vertically over the centerline, and it is 1m wide and 9.5m-10m long with 10cm square black mesh. The height of the net gets measured from the center of the playing court.


volleyball sand

Volleyball could also be played on sand (this is what we mostly call beach volleyball). The sand also has to meet certain quality requirements …

Beach volleyball players play on sand that has to meet a very strict set of guidelines, and because of this high quality, the sand just falls off the players and never stick to their body.

According to the rules set out by the International Beach Volleyball Federation (FIVB), the surface of beach volleyball has to be composed of leveled sand, as flat and uniform as possible …

It should be free of shells, rocks, and anything else that can represent a risk to the players, causing cuts and injuries.

Helpful Tip: If you are a beginner, then it would be a great idea to play sand volleyball using specialized socks that should protect your feet while you are getting familiar with the game. For example these quality volleyball socks will help protect your feet from hot sand and any kinds of little stones that could eventually hurt your feet.

The sand has to be at least 40 cm deep and made up of fine loosely compacted grains. The playing surface should also not present any danger of injury to the players.

It also has to be sifted to an acceptable size. It should not be too coarse, and it has to be free of stones and any dangerous particles. At the same time, it should not be too fine to cause dust and stick to the skin of the players.

Most beaches are made up of sand particles of different sizes. However, it is the smallest of the sand particles that create surface tension with the skin.

This is why in beach volleyball, they need to eliminate the smallest sand particles that stick to the players’ skin. This ensures players don’t get covered in the sand even when they are sweaty.


volleyball grass

When it comes to grass volleyball, the grass surface has to be able to withstand wear and tear. This is why most people use synthetic grass for volleyball.

It stays in good shape and requires very little upkeep, and costs much less to maintain than live grass. The synthetic grass should have strong fibers that don’t get damaged easily.

A regulation grass volleyball court should measure 18m by 9m. You can also have the proper holes made in the turf for the net poles. Rest most of the rules remain the same for grass volleyball as the rules for court volleyball.


volleyball pool

The rules of water volleyball are similar to the rules of court volleyball, with the exception that the players are limited due to the presence of the pool water.

To play at such a surface type you need to use a high-quality sand volleyball (Like this one) that can withstand the harshness of the chlorinated pool or lake water.

Most of these balls are coated with vinyl or plastic that makes them impermeable. They also have a soft coating on the exterior to make them easier to grip and less painful when the ball hits the skin.

The net in water volleyball has to run the width of the court and be centered along the length. The body of water also has to be either shallow or deep swimming pools or lakes.

For competitive water volleyball, a strictly waterproof ball with a soft coating has to be used. In water volleyball, many use a retractable net which can be removed before and after a game so that the pool or lake can be used for other activities as well. A set of posts are used to hold the retractable net in place.

Water volleyball is played in a small swimming pool, a large lake, or an Olympic-size pool. However, the water volleyball courts have their measurements adjusted so that they can match the size of the water body and the level of the players.

The standard water volleyball is 30 x 60 feet and uses a 24-foot net. On average, the net should be one foot above the surface of the water.

These measurements are customized based on the length and width of the pool. On lakes, the standard dimensions are used.

However, the measurements can be adjusted depending on the size of the pool or lake.

Surfaces where you shouldn’t play volleyball …

volleyball concrete

Playing volleyball on a concrete surface for example is a bad idea as it breaks away at the leather/skin of the material that the ball is made of.

It also soils the coloring of the ball, so it becomes faded quickly!

Playing on concrete also adds more pressure to the ball, and over a period of time, the ball gets flatter.

This is the same for your volley shoes, as they will deteriorate overtime. These are only made for softer surfaces like wooden courts or even softer artificial grass.

Playing on concrete also increases the risk of injuries, especially while jumping and coming back down. The hard floor jars the muscles of the feet much harder than the normal wooden floor of a volleyball court.

Can you play volleyball outdoors after it rains?

Yes, you can play volleyball after it has rained … However, there are some things to bear in mind …

The outdoor surface will become slippery, so it is important to wear shoes that have a good grip.

Unless there is a chance of getting struck by lightning, players can even continue playing beach volleyball after rain.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your overhand setting might be affected when you play after rain. The ball tends to slip through the fingers more easily when it is wet.

Can you play volleyball on wet grass?

No, it is not recommended to play volleyball in wet rain. The ball will not bounce properly on wet grass, and players also have a harder time keeping traction on wet grass.

The grass also becomes very slippery when wet, leading to a high chance of injuries.

Final Thoughts …

Obviously, the goal of this article is to introduce you to the different surfaces where you can practice volleyball.  However, my ultimate goal goes besides that …

Indeed, I was simply aiming to give you fewer excuses to not play volleyball lol! In fact, the most common excuse I usually hear: “I can’t find a proper court where I can practice nearby!”

Well, after checking this article you probably won’t say that, as there are other surfaces where you can practice, have fun and evolve as a volleyball player.

Finally, I highly invite you to check those 2 helpful posts:

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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