The rules of beach volleyball

This post is also available in: Dutch

You know by now that, in addition to indoor and sitting volleyball, we also play beach volleyball. We do this every Tuesday evening in Sportcampus Zuiderpark. In the summers, we have even been doing this on our own beach court since summer 2022. Beach volleyball is one of the most successful and popular competitive and recreational sports in the world. It’s fast, it’s exciting and the action is explosive.

But, let’s start at the beginning. Because beach volleyball is of course more than just playing a game of volleyball on the sand. What about the rules?

The official rules of the game 2021-2024 can be found by clicking here. In this blog we list the most important ones for you.

The beach volleyball playing field

First some explanation about the playing field, because besides the fact that you play on sand, there are even more differences with indoor volleyball. For example, did you know that there is no center line in beach volleyball?

  • Beach volleyball is played on a sand surface, preferably on the beach.
  • The playing field is a rectangle of 16 x 8 m, surrounded by a free zone of at least 3 m wide. The playing area is free of any obstacle up to a height of at least 7 m measured from the playing surface.
  • Two side lines and two back lines limit the playing field. There is no center line (fault is therefore not possible, but you may not hinder the opponents). These side and back lines belong to the playing field.
  • The net height for ladies: about 2.24 meters.
  • Net height men and mixed: about 2.43 meters.
  • Lines are made by tensioning ropes; a ball is ‘in’ when the (imprint of the) ball touches the line. The lines are (preferably) at least 2.5 cm wide in a striking colour.
  • The ball is heavier and softer than a standard volleyball. And is of course round ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • The official beach volleyball consists of soft material and is water-repellent. The circumference is approx. 67 cm and weighs between 260 and 280 gr.

How do you score points?

A beach volleyball team does not consist of six but of two players and there are no fixed field positions. Some rules are the same as in the hall: you touch the ball a maximum of three times per team, every part of the body counts and unintentional touches also count. You are not allowed not catch and throw; do bounce.

If the ball hits the ground in the opponent’s court, you score a point. If the ball touches the ground due to an opponent’s own mistake, you also score a point. Simple right?

In beach volleyball, 3 basic attack techniques can be distinguished, namely:

  1. Smash = a hard hit ball with open hand.
  2. Shot = a soft, placed ball with an open hand.
  3. Pokeshot = a ball played with the knuckles.

How do you win a beach volleyball match?

It’s simple: by scoring more points than your opponent ๐Ÿ˜‰ In beach volleyball, the first team to reach 21 points with a difference of at least two points wins the set. For example, if it is 21-20, you play until one of the teams wins by two points. You win the match by being the first to win two sets.

In the event of a tie (each team has a set) you play a third set: the team that first has fifteen points wins, this too must be with a difference of at least two points. There is a one minute break after each set. After every seven points in sets one and two, and after every five points played in set three, the players switch sides.

Some more important rules of beach volleyball

For example, what happens if the net falls? And do you lose a point if you both touch the ball at the same time? Check out the most important good-to-know rules here:

  • The lines belong to the field. A ball is out when it has completely crossed the lines. Half on the line, counts as in.
  • If the net falls, the rally is void and no one gets a point.
  • You may not hold or catch the ball, only bounce it.
  • If two players of the same team touch the ball simultaneously, it is two touches.
  • If two opponents touch the ball simultaneously above the net and the ball remains in play, the team where the ball ends up may continue with three more touches.
  • In an action, players are not allowed to touch the net. Outside of that, if it doesn’t affect the game, it may. Provided you don’t hinder the other team, of course.
  • The server must serve the ball within five seconds of the 1st referee’s whistle for service.
  • During matches in the official senior leagues, players are not allowed to receive external support or coaching.
  • The clothing of the players consists of shorts or bathing suit/bikini. A shirt or โ€œtank-topโ€ is optional unless otherwise stated in the Tournament Rules. Players may wear a cap or headgear.
  • There are NO position errors possible in beach volleyball because there are no fixed positions.

So, now that you know the rules, will you come and train with us sometime?