The playing field and net

Among other things, the FIVB characterizes beach volleyball as "a sport in which two teams face each other on a field of sand divided by a net".

However, sand is not all the same, so the requirements for sand are described in more detail. It must be distributed as evenly as possible and should not contain any stones or shells to minimize the risk of injury to players. 

Apart from sand, there are other requirements that an official beach volleyball court must meet. Each field measures 16 m x 8 m and is surrounded by an adjacent free zone of at least 3 m. The boundaries of the field must be 5 cm wide and stand out clearly from the sand. Resistant tapes, which are fixed to the ground with elastic anchors, are particularly suitable as markings. The net is placed in the middle of the playing field.

The height of the net is measured in the middle of the field and is 2.43 m for men and 2.24 m for women at the upper edge. At the edge the height may only deviate by a maximum of 2 cm. But of course that is not all, the FIVB characterizes the net in more detail. It has a width of 1 m with a margin of 3 cm and consists of 10 cm meshes. On the outer edges of the net there are also antennas that project 80 cm above the net and belong to the net.

The playing field and net Fun-fact:

A player may enter the opponent's field, provided the opponent is not disturbed.

The ball and the players

Besides the field, there are also requirements for the ball and the players. A beach volleyball ball must be made of a material that does not absorb moisture and has the following specifications:

Colour light uniform colour or a combination of colours
Circumference 66cm to 68 cm
Weight  260g to 280g
Internal pressure 0.175kg/cm² to 0.225 kg/cm² (171 to 221 mbar or hPa)

Beach volleyball is played with two teams, where one team consists of two people. In competitions, one of the two players must be entered on the match report sheet as the team captain will be. He represents the team in any draw and must complete the match report form. During the game, only the captain is allowed to speak to the referees.

In addition, beach volleyball competitions have a mandatory dress code for players. The players' clothing consists of shorts or a swimming costume, although jerseys and tank tops are also permitted. As a rule, beach volleyball is played barefoot, but it is also possible to wear beach socks if the 1st referee agrees. Players must be marked with numbers that stand out clearly from the colours of their clothing and must be attached to the front. The numbers must be at least 10 cm high and 1.5 cm wide.

 

Game actions

When it comes to the game, there is one basic rule of beach volleyball:

A team may touch the ball three times to play it back (including block contact).

The rule is a bit broad, but of course there is a more detailed description of the different ways of touching the ball and how the ball can be played.

A team must play within its own half of the pitch, but may also play the ball back from the free zone. Every contact with the ball is also counted as such. The main thing to remember here is that the ball may only be touched three times and a single player may not touch the ball twice in a row. If two players touch the ball at the same time, this also counts as two contacts. In beach volleyball, by the way, the ball may be touched with all parts of the body, but may not be caught or thrown.

Game actions Further information

The different techniques such as serve, attack or block will be discussed in another article.

Winning points, sets and the game

The FIVB ends its characterisation of beach volleyball as follows:

"In beach volleyball, the team that wins a move is awarded one point ("rally point counting"). If the accepting team wins the move, it receives both one point and the right to serve. The serve player must be alternated each time this happens."

In beach volleyball there are generally three different ways of winning a point.

If a team manages to play the ball on the floor of the opponent's court.

  • When the opposing team makes a mistake.
  • When the opposing team receives a penalty.
  • If a team wins a move, it is awarded one point and is allowed to serve.

The first team to score 21 points wins the set. It is important that the lead must be at least 2 points. The game continues until this advantage is reached, even if the 21 points have already been reached.

To win the game, a team must win two sets. If there is a 1:1 tie, the third decisive set is played up to 15 points. Again, the set must be won by two points.

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More about the rules and basics