These rules not only ensure fair play but also help beginners appreciate the game’s strategic and physical aspects. Here’s a handbook to help you understand the essential rules of beach volleyball.
Basic Rules of Beach Volleyball
Court and Player Setup: Beach volleyball is played with two players on each side, on a court measuring 8 x 8 meters. The net height is the same as in indoor volleyball. In variations like coed or reverse coed, net heights may vary. For larger teams (3, 4, or 6 players), the court size increases to 9 meters per side.
The Ball: The beach volleyball is specifically designed for outdoor play. It is slightly larger and heavier than an indoor volleyball, with a synthetic colored or white leather cover. The unique design accommodates outdoor conditions like wind and sand.
Scoring System: Matches are typically played in a best-of-three set format, with each set going to 21 points. In a tie-break scenario, the third set is played until 15 points. Rally scoring is used, meaning either team can score a point on any serve. There’s also a sideout scoring format, where teams can only score on their service.
Specific Rules During Play
Serving: The serve must be executed from behind the end line, with the ball tossed and hit by one hand or arm. The ball must clear the net and land within the opponent’s court. A serve that hits the net and lands in the opponent’s court is considered legal.
Passing: The receiving team is allowed a maximum of three hits to return the ball over the net. The ball cannot be caught, carried, or touch any part of the body except the hands and arms. A clean hit without lifting or pushing is required.
Hitting: The attacker cannot hit the ball twice in succession. The ball must cross the net and land within the opponent’s court, and the blocker cannot touch the ball before the attacker hits it.
Blocking: Players can jump and reach over the net to block the ball, but cannot touch it during the opponent’s attack. A touch on the blocker’s hands that sends the ball back is counted as a block touch.
Advanced Rules and Strategies
Side Switching and Foot Faults: Players switch sides after every multiple of seven points to balance the effects of sun and wind. During serving, the server must not step on or over the end line.
Hand Signals and Touches: Players can use hand signals to communicate strategies. Any touch of the ball, intentional or not, counts as a hit. Let serves (where the ball hits the net on the serve and lands in) are also considered legal.
Court Changes and Timeouts: There are no substitutions in beach volleyball. Teams swap courts at certain points in the match. Each team is allowed four timeouts of 30 seconds each.
Fair Play: Players must avoid actions like going under the net in a way that interferes with opponents or preventing the opposition from seeing the server (screening). In case of injury, a five-minute rest is allowed once per match.
Understanding these rules is the first step towards mastering beach volleyball. Whether you’re a novice eager to learn or a seasoned player brushing up on the basics, these guidelines will help you enjoy and respect the game. Remember, the spirit of beach volleyball lies not only in the rules but in the joy and camaraderie of the sport.