Rules of Beach Volleyball | How it is Played?

Beach Volleyball is another famous form of Volleyball which is played on a sand court divided by a net. Beach Volleyball is quite popular on American beaches and it is believed to have originated in 1915 on Waikiki beach in Hawaii, while the modern and current version of the game is thought to have originated in Santa Monica, California.

Rules of Beach Volleyball

By no means this is a sub sport or less popular sport, it has been an Olympic sport since the 1966 Summer Olympics. As it goes without saying, the game is dominated by the United States of America, considering the fact that it’s largely popular there.

Brazil is the second best successful nation in the Olympics with 13 medals (3 gold, 7 silver, 3 bronze), just behind America (6 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).

Object of Playing Beach Volleyball

Just like traditional Volleyball, the object here is to hit the ball in such a way that your opponent is unable to return it back or return it in a legal fashion. The game follows best of 3 set practice, the first to reach 21 points wins the set and first to win 2 sets is declared winner of the game.

How to Play?

Beach Volleyball involves lots of jumping and running around the designated area, both teams have their own halves separated by a net which is usually fixed at a certain height. You can’t catch or throw the ball but hit it with both palms or a single hand. Every time your opponent misses the ball or commits a foul you get a point.

Basic rules of the game have been covered, however, if you want to know each and every rule followed at international level, you can get your every query answered in the detailed set of rules written below.

General Rules of Beach Volleyball

  • In modern Beach Volleyball games, each team consists of 2 players.
  • Just like Volleyball, you or your team mate can touch the ball three times combined before returning the ball. Failing to return in three attempts results in a foul, and a point is awarded to the opposition.
  • No player from each side can hit the ball two consecutive times.
  • The team that wins the point gets the next serve.
  • A ball is considered out of bounds if it goes out of the boundary line of the sand court, in this case, the opposite team gets a point.
  • You can’t throw or catch the ball, if you do, it will cost you a point.
  • You can hit the ball with both palms or a single hand, no other part of the body can be used to hit the ball.
  • In case you use any other part of the body, it will be considered a foul and your opponent will be awarded a point.
  • Every set ends at 21 points.
  • Sometimes, the last set ends on 15 points, depending on the rules of a particular event.
  • During the first two sets, teams change ends after every 7 points.
  • In the 3rd set, teams swap sides after every 5 points.
  • A few minutes of Time Out is given after every set.
  • In the end, the team winning the most number of sets or first to win 2 sets is declared winner.


Before the start of the match, a coin toss takes place between captains of both teams. The winning captain choses the side and takes the first serve.

Time Duration of a Match

There is no fixed time duration, the game goes on until the decided number of sets are completed or one of the teams wins the first two sets.

The time duration of a beach Volleyball game depends upon the competitiveness of the game and the difference between skill level of both teams. A one-sided game can end in less than 50 minutes while a competitive match can go on for 90 or more minutes.

Playing Court

A typical Beach volleyball sand court measures 26.2 ft square. The net that divides both the halves is 7 ft and 11 inches high, it is placed at the center of the court during male matches.The posts on either side of the net are at an equal distance from each sidelines to the post padding.

For female matches, the net can be adjusted to slightly lower height so it becomes easier for them to play Beach Volleyball.

Playing Equipment

You need following equipment for a Beach Volleyball game:

Ball: The ball used in it is often of a bright colour including yellow, orange and white, white the ball weighs around 9-10 ounces. The pressure inside the ball is between 2.5-3.2 lb/sq inches.

Clothing: The clothes worn by players during a beach volleyball game are mostly specific uniforms when they are participating in a competitive event. Females wear a one-piece swimsuit and men wear sleeveless shirts and shorts.

Common Faults in Beach Volleyball

Here are some of the common faults that occur during a Volleyball game. Each fault rewards your opponent with a point.

Four hits: Using more than 3 hits to return the ball.

Double contact: You can’t make two consecutive contacts with the ball. However, when the ball is in your court, your team can use 3 hits to return the ball, but no player will hit the ball for 2 consecutive times.

Catch/lift: You can’t lift or catch the ball.

Foot fault: This happens when a player’s foot is touching the endline of the court during the serve.


Referee supervises the toss and throughout the game ensures that players are following the rules of the game.

Famous Beach Volleyball Events

The two famous Beach Volleyball events are Summer Olympics and World Beach Volleyball Championship.

Governing Body

The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (English: International Volleyball Federation), commonly known by the acronym FIVB is the governing body of the sport.

Basically, it is the sole governing body of all forms of Volleyball games, be it Beach Volleyball or Indoor volleyball. The headquarters of the federation are located in Switzerland. The role of the federation is to cater international events and define qualification procedures and competition formulae for tournaments.