Beach volleyball is a great game that can help you accomplish your goals of becoming a top athlete. The doubles game can also be played on the grass, using the same portable net systems and rules.

In 1996, beach volleyball was added to the Olympic Games, and it’s only grown since then. There are professional tournaments run in many countries, including the FIVB World Tour. AVP is the top domestic tour in the United States. USA Volleyball has a National Training Development Program for beach and also sponsors the USA Volleyball National Beach Tour Junior Championships. Dozens of Beach National Qualifiers are held in regions across the country, culminating in the NBT Championships.

History of Beach Volleyball
Beach volleyball was played for the first time in the USA in the 1920s, but for decades it has been played only for fun and recreation. Only in the last two decades, this discipline has received worldwide recognition. Thanks to the collaboration of 217 affiliated National Federations and the enthusiasm of more than 50 million players, beach volleyball has become one of the most popular summer sports around the globe.

Beach volleyball should also be grateful to all the kings and queens of the beach who dedicated their lives to the sport and have preserved the legacy of a lifestyle imitated by players all over the world. The beach has always been their home, and the only prize they ever sought after was victory. The spirit born in the early 1920s, combining fair-play and enthusiasm has been kept alive to this day.

Today, we can admire one of the most spectacular sports ever on the best beaches of the world. Names like Gene Selznick, Jim Menges, Ron Van Hagen, Jose Loiola, Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos, Mike Dodd, Karch Kiraly, Kent Steffes, Dain Blanton, Eric Foniomoana, Jenny Johnson Jordan, Annett Davis, Holly McPeak, Misty May, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Elaine Youngs, Kathy Gregory, Nina Matthews, Liz Masakayan, Jackie Silva, Sandra Pires, Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers, April Ross, Jen Kessy and many others are part of a team that has maintained the sense of tradition of the former game, brilliantly paving the way to the Olympic Games.

Why Should you Play Beach Volleyball?
The beach game is GREAT for improving your indoor skills/game. Whatever your weaknesses are, you get to work on them a ton. Unlike the 6 person game, you touch the ball in every rally, and with just two of you covering the court, you learn to read and anticipate much better. Dealing with the sun and wind helps you be more adaptable. Player height is less important outdoors, ball control and skill is most important. You get to be outside in the sun, often in beautiful settings. It is a great way to improve your jump, as there are just two of you to block and hit every rally. Communicating effectively is essential in the sport, and the game helps you and your teammate to grow stronger together. Most top level coaches encourage their players to play as much as they can on the beach. Just refrain on the day of the match.

“A lot of indoor players are specialists, but on the beach you need to play all phases well, and you need a lot of ball control.” – Karch Kiraly

Rich McLaughlin, UC Santa Barbara men’s volleyball coach explains how the sand game benefits his players:

“I’ve always told my players to play in games at the beach during the off season. It helps in so many ways. First, there are fewer guys around that can bail out your mistakes. Playing at the beach works your ball control skills. It seems it’s always the beach player who steps in from the back row to set the ball after one of those inspirational digs by the setter. Those transition plays win matches. The sand also helps you work on your speed and agility. Indoors you’ll expand your digging range and be quicker in pursuit after balls. Staying focused during a beach game requires a big level of concentration. Deal with any distraction after the game. During the game, focus on jump serving and passing. Set personal goals.”


Two players on each side on an 8 x 8 meter court; for 3, 4, and 6 person the court it regulation 9 meters per side with 3 meters of free play area beyond the court lines. Net heights same as indoors. Coed, Reverse Coed (net at women’s height) are also popular versions.

Specifically made to play outdoors, hand stitched, slightly larger and heavier, with a synthetic colored or white leather cover Inside pressure is 0.175 to 0.225 Kg/cm2 (4.3 to 4.6 lb/sq in)

3-set rally match is played with sets to 21 points (maximum) ,but 3rd deciding set there is no upper limit
1-set sideout match is played to 15 points (maximum 17)
In rally scoring either team can score a point; in sideout scoring teams can only score points on their own service

Ball contact/playing the ball
Maximum 3 shots per side (contacts)
The block counts as a contact
The net cannot be touched, even after the ball has hit the ground (continuation rule)
Ball can be played with any part of the body (except to serve)
If the ball is attacked as a hard driven ball (not touching the net on the way over), the defending team may slightly hold their first shot in defense
The ball may be held by two players simultaneously at the net (joust)
The attack cannot be completed with use of open hand or fingers (tip)
If the ball is set over the net as an attack it must travel perpendicularly to the players shoulder line

Timeouts/substitutions/court changes
Four timeouts of 30 seconds per team
No substitutions
Teams swap courts every multiple of a point points (eg: for 7 pts it is 6:1, 3:4, etc…)
No positional or rotational faults except service order

Players can go under the net as long as they do not interfere with their opponents.
Players cannot deliberately prevent the opposition from seeing the server (screening).
In the case of injury, a once only five minute-rest (maximum) is allowed.
In rally scoring the served ball is allowed to touch the net but in sideout scoring the serve may not.

At the simple level, the losing team refs the next match with one player being the only referee, while the players are to keep the score, calling it out with each service. At the highest level there is a first referee (overall in charge), second referee (assisting), scorer, lines persons (4), ball retrievers and sand levelers.