Beach Volleyball Rules: An Easy Guide to Play the Game Right in 2024

Beach volleyball is my most favorite way to play this awesome sport. There’s nothing better than having the sun, sand and the smell of sun-lotion all together. In the sand you can make incredible dives without getting hurt.And with this feeling of invulnerability it makes even more fun to try to reach some “unreachable” balls.

But in order to make it fun for everybody we have to follow some specific beach volleyball rules. They are kind of the same as for indoor volleyball but differ in some points.

So let’s dive into the beach volleyball rules and serve some key insights. Let’s go.

Essential Beach Volleyball Rules and Regulations

We all want to enjoy a great game of beach volleyball, but to do so, it’s vital we understand the beach volleyball rules that make every match fair, competitive, and fun.

Court Dimensions and Equipment

A standard beach volleyball court measures 8.0 x 16.0 meters with a net height set at 2.43 meters for men and 2.24 meters for women. The court includes boundary lines that are 2 inches wide. Equipment like the ball is slightly different from the indoor version, being softer and bigger to handle outdoor conditions.

Starting the Game

Matches begin with a rock-paper-scissors to decide the first serve or side choice. The serving team must execute the serve from behind the rear line, alternating between team players after each point scored.

beach volleyball rules female volleyball player serving beach volleyball
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In-Play Rules

Each team consists of two players, and they have up to three successive contacts to return the ball over the net, usually a pass, a set, and an attack-hit. During play, the ball must not touch the ground within the court boundaries, and players must avoid contact with the net.

Scoring System

Beach volleyball uses a rally scoring system where every serve results in a point. A team scores a point if the opponent fails to return the ball properly. A match typically includes the best-of-three sets format, with the first two sets to 21 points and the third, if needed, to 15.

Faults and Penalties

Faults occur for several reasons like hitting the ball out of bounds, touching the net, or double contact. If players commit a fault, the opposing team gains a point. Teams switch sides of the court normally every 7 points to maintain fairness in changing outdoor conditions. But this rule for example didn’t apply to our games. We just changed sides after each set.

Referee’s Role

The referee enforces all beach volleyball rules, ensuring fair play. They have complete authority to issue penalties, control the match, and make determinations on faults. The decisions of the referee are final and must be respected by all players.

beach volleyball rules referee giving signals
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Technical Skills and Player Actions

When we step onto the sand, understanding the nuances of beach volleyball rules elevates our game from mere participation to true competition. Each contact with the ball is an opportunity to showcase skill, and strategic use of techniques is crucial for making every play count. As already mentioned above the moves can get riskier you have to watch out for your techniques.

Serving Techniques

Underhand Serve: We do this serve when aiming for a high level of control, tossing the ball into the air with one hand in front of the body not going above the head and striking it with the other, without overreaching.

Overhand Serve: This involves tossing the ball up and hitting it with a forceful, overhead motion, aiming to make the ball cross the net and land within the opposite court boundary.

beach volleyball rules male player jump serving on beach
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Passing and Setting

Pass: Our initial ball contact, typically with both arms extended. It’s the first line of defense against a serve, transforming incoming momentum into a controlled setup.

Set: We transform the pass into an attack opportunity, using our fingertips in an overhead motion to direct the ball with precision—perfect for setting up a spike.

Attacking and Blocking

Attack Hits: With a forceful hit, typically known as a spike, we aim to send the ball over the net at an angle difficult for the opposition to defend.

beach volleyball rules female player jump spike beach volleyball
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Blocking: Timing and positioning our jump with arms outstretched allow us to block the ball right at the net, preventing it from crossing over to our side.

beach volleyball rules female volleyball player blocking beach volleyball
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Defensive Moves

Dive: This is our go-to move for seemingly out-of-reach balls, thrusting our body towards the sand to extend our reach and keep the play alive.

beach volleyball rules female volleyball player digging beach volleyball
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Body Control: Controlling our body ensures that every touch, whether a dig or a roll, not only returns the ball but also sets our team up for the next move.

beach volleyball rules female volleyball player diving beach volleyball
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Team Dynamics and Strategies

In beach volleyball, mastering the beach volleyball rules is just the first serve; the real magic lies in our team dynamics and strategies. We rely on precise player roles, clear on-court communication, adapting to the sandy arena, and a robust training program to outperform our opponents.

In-game Communication

beach volleyball rules hand signals behind the back of a female volleyball player
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Communication is the undercurrent that keeps our rally going. We use hand signals to devise strategies without giving away our plans— a secret language that binds us. Vocal cues keep the energy up and ensure that we stay synchronized with every bump, set, and spike.

Adaptation to Environmental Factors

We combat the unpredictable nature of the sun, wind, and sand by incorporating its whims into our strategy. Positioning against the sun and using the wind to our advantage can turn the unpredictable into an ally. Equally, conditioning ourselves for the sand means we turn its resistance into our power.

Training and Development

A standout team is built off the court. Our robust training program emphasizes technique, game strategy, and a complete player program designed to thrive in the beach volleyball setting. Engaging in targeted exercises builds skill and acumen, molding us into versatile players ready for any challenge.


Diving into the nitty-gritty details of beach volleyball rules can clear up any confusion you might have. We’ve tackled some common questions to help demystify this exciting sport.

What are the Illegal Plays in Beach Volleyball?

In beach volleyball, certain actions are considered illegal. These include double hits (hitting the ball twice in succession), catches or lifts (holding the ball for any length of time), and net fouls (touching the net during play). Additionally, while block touches do count as a hit, reaching over the net is only allowed if you’re executing a block.

Does Beach Volleyball go to 21?

Yes, beach volleyball games are typically played to 21 points. A team must win by at least two points, and if a deciding third set is needed, it is played to 15 points, again needing a two-point minimum lead to secure the victory. You can refer to the Understanding Beach Volleyball Rules: A Player’s Guide for a more detailed breakdown.

How do you Play Beach Volleyball?

To play beach volleyball, you’ll need two teams of two. The objective is to send the ball over the net and have it touch the sand on your opponent’s side. Each team is allowed up to three successive contacts of the ball to return it to the opponent’s court. For the official layout and serving rules, this Beach Volleyball Quick-Guide is a handy resource.

Are you Allowed to Spike in Beach Volleyball?

Absolutely, spiking the ball is a thrilling—and legal—part of beach volleyball. However, it must be executed behind the ten-foot line, known as the attack line. If you intend to spike the ball, you cannot step over this line before making contact. For more on subtle game rules that could affect a spike, check out everything you need to become a pro at the Beach Volleyball Rules.

I hope you could find some valuable input about beach volleyball rules. Tell us something about you! Do you have the possibility to play on beach? What is your experience with beach volleyball?Let us know in the comments.

If you liked this article you also might dive deeper into our posts about Volleyball Facts and Insights.

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Julian Faisthuber
Articles: 32

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