Is Volleyball A Winter Sport (Solved!)


I’ve been a big fan of playing and watching volleyball since I began playing in my younger years. The season we used to play was only at certain times of the year, but I was curious whether it’s played in winter internationally, as well as whether it’s considered a winter sport. Here’s what I found.

Overall, volleyball is not a winter sport. The international volleyball leagues that are organized by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) run all year long, and are played in different countries. The same is true of the beach volleyball leagues.

Interestingly, there is a relatively new sport called snow volleyball, that is played in the snow. And this can only be played in specially designed arenas in the winter. So, below I’ll explain more about snow volleyball, as well as, when amateur leagues generally play, such as at the collegiate level. 

Woman smashing the ball near net during volleyball match

Is Volleyball a Seasonal Sport?

Volleyball is a seasonal sport. Indoor volleyball is only played for half of the year, at both the international and collegiate level.

I provided some helpful tables below that show what season the different volleyball leagues run during. I’ve broken them down by international, and collegiate. As well as by, indoor and beach volleyball:

International volleyball (FIVB) tournaments by season

Type of volleyballNorthern HemisphereSouthern Hemisphere
Indoor volleyballAutumn to early winterSpring to early summer
Beach volleyballAll seasons except for the month of JanuaryAll seasons except for the month of January

Collegiate volleyball (NCAA) tournament by season

Type of volleyballNorthern HemisphereSouthern Hemisphere
Indoor volleyballAutumn, and early winterNot applicable as the NCAA only hosts tournaments for USA universities
Beach volleyballFinals held in late summer, no start date providedNot applicable as the NCAA only hosts tournaments for USA universities

Canadian University (U-Sports) volleyball season

Type of volleyballNorthern HemisphereSouthern Hemisphere
Indoor volleyballAutumn to winterNot applicable as the NCAA only hosts tournaments for Canadian universities
Beach volleyballFinals held in late summer, no start date providedNot applicable as the NCAA only hosts tournaments for Canadian universities

(sources: FIVB, NCAA, U-Sports)

There are three categories of professional volleyball. Indoor, beach, and snow.

Indoor volleyball can be played in all seasons, whereas beach, and snow volleyball are played outdoors and therefore, the weather needs to be right. 

For example, snow volleyball needs winter conditions, but there are many locations where it snows all year long. There are also many cities that have a very mild winter, and in effect have sunny warm weather for most of the year.

But, interestingly the international volleyball leagues are played in different countries throughout the year. June to December which is Winter, and Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but Spring to Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

These competitions are organized by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), which translates to the International Volleyball Federation. And is based in Switzerland. 

For example, in 2021 the Nations League, which is the international competition, will be played in Asia – in Japan, Central America – in Mexico, and Europe – in Italy.

Indoor volleyball [6 a side] season – held in the later half of the year 

At each tournament, countries that qualify to compete, but are from all parts of the globe, will travel to these destinations to play. And the different events are held from June to December. However, it does differ slightly by year. 

For example, the international indoor volleyball events held in 2019 were held from June to September. And in 2016 they were held from June to October.

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere starts in December, whereas, in the Southern Hemisphere winter begins towards the end of June. 

NCAA indoor volleyball season

As you may know, the NCAA stands for the National Collegiate Athletic Association that organizes a range of sports at the college level. They host a range of volleyball events for college students. And the NCAA indoor volleyball season runs from late August to December.

This is late fall to winter in the USA. But, because it’s indoor there is no weather requirement.  

Beach volleyball season held all year long

The beach volleyball season is technically in the summertime in climates that have 4 seasons. However, the FIVB international league runs all year long. For example, in 2021 there are international league events held from February to December.

In climates that have 4 seasons, winter and autumn are generally too cold to play beach volleyball. However, in States like California that are sunny year round the volleyball season will be all year.

The NCAA beach volleyball championship ends in May. Which is the tail end of summer. 

Snow volleyball season

Snow volleyball is fairly new, and not as well known as the other two types of volleyball. It was first invented in 2008. Currently, no match schedule is provided for past events or the most recent year. All matches in the most recent years have been postponed. 

The last known match occurred in April 2019 where the final was between the USA and Russian.

It’s unclear exactly when the season is, and whether they do a rotating circuit like the other two types of volleyball. But, the game requires snow to play. And therefore, they likely take place in cities where they have perpetual snow. 

Or, they are held in cities that have a snowy winter. Which would be in November, December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere. And in the Southern Hemisphere, they will need to be held in June, July, and August. 

Interestingly, snow volleyball is 3 a side. And players often wear beanies, long sleeve thermal shirts, and gloves. They also wear special boots that have sprigs similar to soccer boots to keep traction in the snow. If you’ve never seen it before, here’s a short video of what it looks like to be played.

Is Volleyball a Summer or Winter Sport?

Some of the most popular sports have a clear off-season. But, is that also the case for volleyball, and is it a summer or winter sport?

The volleyball season starts in summer and ends in winter. Based on the schedule for the FIVB international indoor volleyball league. Therefore, it’s both a summer and a winter sport. But, the international FIVB beach volleyball league is held throughout the entire year.

Unlike indoor volleyball, beach volleyball is weather-dependent. But, the FIVB beach volleyball league events are held in different countries throughout the year that have different climates. And as a result, the season goes for the entire year.

The end of December and the start of January have a lot of public holidays and many people take a lot of time off during this time. In my opinion, this is why the international beach volleyball league doesn’t have any events in the month of January. But, it starts again in February.

Can Volleyball Be Played in the Spring?

Finally, once winter is over and the weather warms up, people begin to spend more time outside. But, is volleyball played in the spring?

Indoor and beach volleyball can be played in the spring. The FIVB international indoor and beach volleyball leagues both run across the season of spring. The NCAA indoor volleyball league does not run in the spring months. It starts at the end of summer and ends at the beginning of winter.

Therefore, the international indoor and beach volleyball leagues run in spring. If you’re playing just for recreation it would depend on what leagues are running in your local area. Also, if you play beach volleyball it would depend on how warm it is in your region.

If it’s warm enough that you can play comfortably outside, then it’s fine to play beach volleyball in the spring. If it’s too cold you can wear thermals. As you may know, these are skin-tight garments that keep you very warm in cold weather.

Snow volleyball is also a thing, so it’s definitely possible. At the end of the day, it’s up to you if you can get a team together. And whether there are any leagues in your area.

The NCAA beach volleyball league ends in the latter part of summer. The NCAA doesn’t provide any information about when the beach volleyball season starts but it likely starts around spring and runs through summer.

In spring, it’s generally too warm in most parts of the world to play snow volleyball in the spring. But, if you live in a climate that still has snow during spring, then it’s definitely possible. However, snow volleyball isn’t as popular as other types of volleyball, and therefore it can be much harder to get a team together.

How to find others that are playing volleyball in spring

The best resource is to put a post on Reddit under the city Reddit page for your city, as well as on Facebook. For example, if you live in California make a post on the California Reddit page asking about amateur volleyball matches.

From there people will respond with what leagues are available and you can make some contacts that can let you know what tournaments and leagues are on.

Many people wonder whether you can underhand serve in volleyball. I wrote an article about whether you can underhand serve in volleyball according to the official rules. Interestingly, I played volleyball for a few seasons without even being aware of the rules. But, it’s very helpful to know.

What Months Is Volleyball Season?

The most popular type of volleyball is indoor volleyball, which means it can be played regardless of what the weather is like. So, then what months is the volleyball season?

The international volleyball indoor season is from June to December. This is autumn to winter in the northern hemisphere and spring to summer in the southern hemisphere. The college indoor volleyball season organized by the NCAA is the same as the international season.

I compiled some helpful tables that show what months the volleyball season is for indoor, beach, international, and collegiate.

Type of VolleyballSeason
International Indoor VolleyballGenerally, June to December
International Beach VolleyballFebruary to December
International Snow VolleyballNo current info on when it is
NCAA Indoor Volleyball USAAugust to December
NCAA Beach Volleyball USAEnds in May. No start date given but likely early spring.
NCAA Snow Volleyball USANo league exists for collegiate snow volleyball
U Sports Indoor Volleyball (Canada)End of October to Mid February

How Long Is College Volleyball?

The college volleyball season is a bit different to the international volleyball leagues run by the FIVB. So, I was curious how long the college volleyball season is? Here’s what I found.

The NCAA college volleyball league runs for over 4 months and just under 5. It runs from August, September, October, November, and most of December until the Christmas period. The Canadian college league runs for 6 months from August to December. 

It’s very likely that internationally the volleyball season runs for around the same time, for the entire later half of the year. 

The beach volleyball season for the NCAA is a bit different and is held in summer, however, there is no start date provided by the NCAA so it’s unknown at this time how long it runs for. This is also the case of the U-Sports beach volleyball leagues.

Is College Volleyball a Spring Sport?

Each sport tends to have a season when it’s played, as well as an off-season. So, you may be curious what the season is for college volleyball, and whether it’s a spring sport. Based on the dates listed on the NCAA website, and the U-Sports website (Canada), here’s what I found.

College volleyball is not a spring sport. The NCAA leagues run from autumn to winter. This is also true of the Canadian college volleyball leagues. The college volleyball leagues run in summer, and they likely start in mid to late spring. 

However, neither the NCAA nor U-Sports provides a start date for their beach volleyball leagues. Due to the fact that beach volleyball needs to be played outside, it’s reasonable to assume it’s limited to the spring and summer months. 

Sources

Jacob Wilson

Jacob loves sports. He did karate for 3 years in elementary school, and played volleyball and basketball in high school. He has also been training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for a year, and is a 2 stripe white belt. You can find out more about Jacob at https://sportscentaur.com/about-jacob-wilson/

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