Volleyball was invented in 1895 as a less aggressive alternative to basketball, but today volleyball is anything but gentle. Few other sports are as fast and exciting to play and watch. Volleyball can be played either indoors or outdoors, and each uses a slightly different ball.
To the untrained eye, there may seem like there are few differences between indoor and outdoor volleyballs. The USAV, the governing body for indoor volleyball, states that the ball must be made of leather or synthetic leather. FIVB, the governing body of beach volleyball, also states that the ball must be made of leather or synthetic leather. Both governing bodies also state that the ball must have a rubber or similar material inner bladder. In addition, both are the same size and weight.
However, the two kinds of balls are not interchangeable. Indoor volleyballs are more pressurized than outdoor volleyballs. Beach volleyballs must be lighter so that they can easily float through the air. The two types also differ in color. The USAV states that the outer covering of an indoor volleyball must be a uniform light color or combination of different colors. Beach volleyballs, however, must be bright colors such as orange, yellow, or pink so that they can easily be seen in the sunlight.
Next time you play or watch a volleyball game, take notice of the pressure, color, and feel of the ball. Realize that the slightest differences amongst volleyballs, be they of the indoor or outdoor variety, can make all the difference in a tight match!
Best Indoor Volleyball:
You're ready to pepper, and your partner tosses you a ball from the cart. Ever toss it away? 'I don't like that one.'
It's important to have a ball you feel comfortable with or your whole game can feel off. Often this depends on how much the ball is inflated, but you must have a solid piece of equipment to start with, or how much air is in the ball won't even matter.
There are a couple brands that dominate every collegiate and professional court, and these are the balls worth investing in. If you're practicing the right way, you're getting thousands of touches a day, so it's worth it to have the best quality ball.
This is the official ball of the NCAA. It is light-weight, firm, and bounces well. It comes with a 2-year warranty and seems to last longer than other brands of balls. Read Full Review
This ball is softer than others, so it could be a better fit for players that are new to the game. It is cheaper than the Molten Super Touch and some may find it to be easier to control. Read Full Review
This is the best volleyball to purchase if you are on a budget since it is far cheaper than other elite brands but still a solid ball. It is used on most high school courts and is well-made and durable. Read Full Review
As the official indoor ball of the 2012 Olympics in London, this ball is guaranteed to be extremely well-made and durable. It features a never-before-seen 8-panel design as well, differing from any ball before. Read Full Review
Best Beach Volleyball:
It's difficult not to have fun playing volleyball at the beach; you get great exercise and can tan at the same time! Just set up a net and it's an instant party. But having poor quality equipment can really ruin a good time. It's important to have a volleyball that won't be severely affected by wind, water, sun, and sand. An outdoor volleyball must be incredibly durable to survive the beach's elements. Fortunately, there are plenty of great beach volleyballs on the market from which to choose.
As the official ball of the AVP, this volleyball is top-notch. It resists sand and moisture well and is very durable. It is smooth, just the right weight, and has good bounce. Read Full Review
Like the Wilson Official AVP Outdoor Game Volleyball, this Wilson beach volleyball is also very well-made thanks to its fine materials. AVP's name is still on it, after all! Read Full Review
This is an excellent beach volleyball that many would choose as their preferred ball. It withstands the elements well and still has a great touch and feel. Read Full Review
It is clear this ball is of the utmost quality as it was the official ball of the 2008 Olympics and will most likely be chosen for the Olympics in 2012 as well. It is durable and comes with a 2-year warranty. Read Full Review