rules of beach volleyball

Rules of Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball is a sport played by two teams on a sand court divided by a net. Here are the rules of Beach Volleyball.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Court

Court Dimensions

The playing court is a rectangle and measures 16 meters long and 8 meters wide and is surrounded by a free zone, which is a minimum of 3 m wide on all sides. The free playing space, which is the space above the playing area, must measure a minimum of 7 m in height from the playing surface.

Court Lines

The court is marked with 2 end lines and 2 sidelines. Both side and end lines are placed inside the dimensions of the playing court. In Beach Volleyball, there is no center-line. In addition, all lines must be 5 to 8 cm wide. The color of the lines must contrast sharply with the color of the sand. Furthermore, the lines should be made of a resistant material.

Playing Surface

The playing surface should be made up of leveled sand, as flat and uniform as possible. The sand must be at least 40 cm deep and made up of fine, loosely compact grains. Moreover, the playing surface should not contain anything that could cut or injure players such as rocks or shells.

beach volleyball court

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Equipment

A net is placed vertically over the middle of the court. The top is set at a height of 2.43 m for men and 2.24 m for women. However, the height of the net may be varied for specific age groups.

Net Posts

The posts must be round and smooth and must be placed an equal distance from each sideline to the post padding and should not consist of any dangerous or obstructing devices.

The Ball

The ball must be spherical, made of a flexible material suitable for outdoor conditions since matches may be played when it is raining. It should be light colors or a combination of colors.

  • Circumference: 66 to 68 cm.
  • Weight: 260 to 280 g.
  • Inside pressure: 0.175 to 0.225 kg/cm2 (171 to 221 mbar or hPa).

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Participants

A team is composed exclusively of two players. Only the two players recorded on the score sheet have the right to participate in the match. One of the players is the team captain who shall be indicated on the score sheet.

A player’s equipment consists of shorts or a bathing suit. A jersey or “tank-top” is also optional. Players may also wear a hat/head covering and glasses or lenses. But players must play barefoot. It is forbidden to wear objects which may cause injury or give an artificial advantage to the player.

rules of beach volleyball

Responsibilities of the Participants

The Participants must accept referees’ decisions with sportsmanlike conduct, without disputing them, and must refrain from actions or attitudes aimed at influencing the decisions of the referees. In case of doubt, clarification may be requested through the team captain and only through him or her. Participants must behave respectfully and courteously in the spirit of fair play, not only towards the referees but also towards their opponents, teammates, and spectators.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Scoring System

A team scores a point by successfully grounding the ball on the opponent’s court; when the opposing team commits a fault; and when the opposing team receives a penalty.


A rally is a sequence of playing actions from the moment of the service hit by the server until the ball is out of play. If the serving team wins a rally, it scores a point and continues to serve. If the receiving team wins a rally, it scores a point and it must serve next.

To Win a Set

A set is won by the team which first scores 21 points with a minimum lead of two points. In the case of a 20-20 tie, the game is continued until a two-point lead is achieved.

To Win a Match

The match is won by the team that wins two sets. In the case of a 1-1 tie, the deciding 3rd set is played to 15 points with a minimum lead of 2 points.


A team that does not appear on the playing court on time is declared in default. If a team refuses to play after being summoned to do so, it is declared in default and forfeits the match. And a team that is declared incomplete for the set or for the match, loses the set or the match.

The Toss

Before the official warm up, the 1st referee conducts the toss to decide upon the first service and the sides of the court in the first set. The toss is taken in the presence of the two team captains, where appropriate. Consequently,  the winner of the toss chooses either the right to serve or to receive the service or the side of the court. The loser takes the remaining choice.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Service

The serve is the action of putting the ball in play by a server. The service must be executed by contacting the ball with one hand or arm.


Executing Serve

The server contacts the ball with one hand or any part of the arm after clearly tossing or releasing the ball and before the ball touches the playing surface. At the moment of contacting the ball to serve or at ground take off for a jump serve, the server must not touch the court, end line, or ground outside the service zone. After the contact, the server may step outside the zone or into the court.

When the serving team wins the rally, the player that just served serves again. When the receiving team wins the rally, the player that did not serve last will serve next.


The server’s teammate must not prevent the opponents, through screening, from seeing the server or the path of the ball. On an opponent’s request, a player must move sideways, bend over or bend down.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: States of Play

Ball in Play

The ball is in play from the service contact until the ball is out of play.

Ball Out Of Play

The ball is out of play from the moment the ball lands or a fault is committed. The rally ends when a referee halts play or the ball is out of play.

Ball In

A ball is in when its first contact with the ground is on the playing court or a boundary line.

Ball Out

The ball is out when it falls on the ground completely outside the boundary lines; it touches an object outside the court, or a person out of play; it touches the antennae, ropes, posts or the net itself outside the sidebands; the ball crosses the vertical plane of the net either partially or totally outside the crossing space during service or during the third hit of the team; and when it crosses completely the lower space under the net.

Faults in Playing the Ball

  1. Four Hits: a team hits the ball four times before returning it.
  2. Assisted Hit: a player takes support from a teammate or any structure/object in order to hit the ball within the playing area.
  3. Catch: the ball is caught and/or thrown; it does not rebound from the hit
  4. Double Contact: a player hits the ball twice in succession or the ball contacts various parts of his/her body in succession.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Hit

A hit is any contact with the ball by a player in play. Each team is entitled to a maximum of three hits for returning the ball over the net. If more are used, the team commits the fault of “Four Hits”. In addition, a player may not hit the ball two times consecutively. Two players may touch the ball at the same moment.


Attack-hits are all actions to direct the ball towards the opponent’s playing area, except in the act of serving and blocking. An attack-hit is completed the moment the ball completely crosses the vertical plane of the net or is touched by a blocker. A player may contact an attack-hit at any height, provided that contact with the ball is made within the player’s own playing space.

Attack-Hit Faults

It is a fault when a player completes an attack-hit on the opponent’s service if the ball is entirely above the height of the net.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Block

Blocking is the action of player(s) close to the net to deflect the ball coming from the opponent by reaching above the height of the net. In blocking, the player may place his/her hands and arms beyond the net, provided that this action does not interfere with the opponent’s play. Thus, it is not permitted to touch the ball beyond the net until an opponent has executed an attack hit. In addition, to block an opponent’s service is forbidden.


Blocking Contact

A blocking contact is counted as a team hit. The blocking team will have only two more hits after a blocking contact. The first hit after the block may be executed by any player, including the one who has touched the ball during the block.

Blocking Faults

Blocking faults are committed if the blocker touches the ball in the opponent’s space either before or simultaneously with the opponent’s attack hit; a player blocks the opponent’s service; blocking the ball in the opponent’s space from outside the antenna; and if the ball is sent “out” off the block.

Rules of Beach Volleyball:
Interruptions, Intervals, Switches

An interruption is a time between one completed rally and the 1st referee’s whistle for the next service. The only regular game interruptions are time-outs.


A time-out is a regular game interruption. It lasts for 30 seconds. In addition, each team is entitled to a maximum of four time-outs per game. Successive time-outs may be requested without resumption of the game.


An interval is a time between sets. All intervals last one minute. During this period of time, the change of courts (if requested) and service order of the teams on the score sheet are made.

Court Switches

The teams switch after every 7 points (set 1 and 2) and 5 points (set 3) played.

Rules of Beach Volleyball: Refereeing Corps

The refereeing corps for a match is composed of the following officials:

    • 1st referee
    • 2nd referee
    • the scorer
    • four (two) line judges

1st Referee

The 1st referee carries out his/her functions standing on a referee’s stand located at one end of the net on the opposite side to the scorer. Also, his/her view must be approximately 50 cm above the net. The 1st referee directs the match from the start until the end. Furthermore, he/she has authority over all members of the refereeing corps and the members of the teams. During the match, his/her decisions are final.

2nd Referee

The 2nd referee performs his/her functions standing outside the playing court near the post, on the opposite side of and facing the 1st referee. The 2nd referee is the assistant of the 1st referee and controls the work of the scorer(s).


The scorer performs his/her functions seated at the scorer’s table on the opposite side of the court from and facing the 1st referee. The scorer fills in the score sheet according to the rules, cooperating with the 2nd referee.

Line Judges

If only two line judges are used, they stand at the corners of the court closest to the right hand of each referee, diagonally at 1 to 2 m from the corner. D1, D8 Each one of them controls both the end line and sideline on his/her side.


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