Volleyball can be played on an indoor court or at the beach, on sand, neither one requiring a lot of equipment. The basic equipment is simple: a net, two poles and a ball. However, there are several choices and options available, plus additional safety equipment. The right choice in equipment and gear can make the volleyball match more enjoyable and safe.
The basic court equipment is a net attached to two poles or standards. The net measures 3 feet by 32 feet and is made of cotton or synthetic materials. For men's or co-ed matches, the net's height is 7 feet 11 and 5/8 inches and for women's matches, it is 7 feet 4 and 1/8 inches. Additional court equipment consists of padding for the standards and a fiberglass antenna attached to each side of the net. The antennas help determine if the ball has been hit outside the boundaries of the court.
Volleyballs come in many colors and sizes, are made with a variety of materials and are designed for either indoor or outdoor play. The volleyball is 25 to 27 inches in circumference, must weigh 9 to 10 oz. and is inflated to 4.26 to 4.61 psi. An indoor volleyball has panels with smooth seams and no exposed stitching, while an outdoor volleyball has visible stitching. The indoor volleyball weighs a little less than an outdoor volleyball because there is no wind to contend with on an indoor court. Volleyballs for youth matches are smaller than the standard.
Volleyball-specific shoes have a gum rubber sole. This type of sole provides a lot more traction than a regular sport shoe or cross-trainer. Volleyball shoes are also made to support a player's lateral movement. The front of the shoe has extra cushioning and padding to help absorb some of the shock created by jumping and landing. Beach volleyball players can get away with no shoes, playing barefoot.
Competitive indoor volleyball players are always diving for balls to keep them in play. To protect their knees against floor burns, they wear knee pads. There are two basic styles, the bubble style and the flat style. The bubble style offers more padding in front of the knee, directly on the kneecap; however, it is more bulky than the flat style. The flat style may not have as much padding, but it does allow for freer movement. There are several options in size and sleeve length.