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Beach Volleyball: Frequently Asked Questions

Beach Volleyball: Frequently Asked Questions

Andrew Hubbard |

Beach Volleyball (also commonly referred to as Sand Volleyball) has seen a recent explosion in popularity over the last decade, as schools, universities and clubs across country are quickly adopting their own beach volleyball teams and leagues. While beach volleyball features a few of the basic principles and skills as traditional indoor volleyball, there are many differences in not only the rules but the styles of play. Let's take a look at some of the beach volleyball rules and fundamentals!

How is Beach Volleyball different than indoor volleyball?

There are just 2 people per team and no substitutions.

Sets are played to 21, and a match is best of 3. If a third set is needed, play to 15.

Teams switch sides every 7 points in games to 21 and every 5 points in games to 15 to try and make it fair for both teams when dealing with wind, sun, and other components of outdoor play.

Each team has 1 timeout per set.

A Technical Time Out is called by the ref when the score adds to 21. This allows both teams to have an additional break during the match and is a good indicator of how strenuous beach volleyball can be.

A ball cannot be taken with open hands (set) unless it is hard driven and downward, so sand players often practice multiple ways to take a ball overhead without setting with their fingertips.

Open hand tips are not allowed, usually tip with the knuckles (a "dink").

Many sand players choose to bump-set (forearm passing) and not use their hands. Officials are very strict about setting forms, plus, if a player using his or her hands to set the ball and the wind takes it over the net, it will result in a point for the opponents. Even if it is unintentional, it still counts as an open hand tip.

The block counts as one of the three hits, but the blocker can contact the ball a second consecutive time after the block, giving the other player just one hit to play the ball over the net.

Any contact with any part of the net is a violation.

Active coaching is limited to timeouts and in between sets.

Size of entire beach volleyball court (both sides combined) is 52 feet 6 inches x 26 feet 3 inches. 

Do I need a special ball for Beach Volleyball?

Yes, outdoor and beach volleyballs are made for the tough conditions that can be associated with the outdoors. Top-of-the-line beach and outdoor volleyballs boast features like the ones below, to help make them last from sun up to sun down:

Water resistant / all-weather soft composite covers

Double cloth backing for shape retention

Hand stitched panels for durability. Beach volleyballs are hand stitched and are wound tighter, to help keep water and other elements from getting into the inside of the volleyball.

Keep in mind, not all beach and outdoor volleyballs are created equal. Click on the image below to find the toughest of the tough!
Premium outdoor beach volleyballs

Beach and outdoor volleyballs also come in a recreational or replica series. Here at All Volleyball, we go to great lengths to make sure we offer the highest quality products available, and these beach and outdoor volleyballs are no exception! While these recreational volleyballs look very similar to their premier counterparts, there are some differences, including:

Non-water resistance composite covers. These covers are still tougher than an indoor volleyball's cover, but most are not designed to be water resistant unless specifically listed.

Machine stitched panels. These volleyballs are produced at a faster pace in a way that helps lower the costs; however, machine stitches are not as tight as hand stitches. Machine stitched panels are also common in indoor volleyballs. In turn, the volleyballs are less durable and more susceptible to wear and tear than those that are hand stitched.

More economically priced and budget-friendly
Recreactional and replical outdoor beach volleyballs


What can I wear for Beach Volleyball?

Please note: Uniform rules and regulations can be stricter than what is listed here. Be sure to check tournament regulations in plenty of time before participating.


If you are a Player:

Uniforms may consist of at least a bathing suit set for females and at least shorts for males. A beach volleyball jersey or tank top is optional for men except when specified in tournament regulations.

Teams need at least 2 colors for uniforms or have a reversible option. This is so the officials can easily identify each team when switching sides.

School teams must be dressed similar in school colors. However, each doubles pair must be dressed identical.
Women's beach and outdoor volleyball gear
mens beach and outdoor volleyball gear


If numbering is required:

  • Players' tops must be numbered #1-5 on chest.
  • Players' shorts (if men are allowed to play without tops) must be numbered. Numbers must be contrasting in color to the garment color and most require at least 4 inches in height. Please note: some women's tops may not fit a 4 inch number.
  • Players cannot wear objects that can cause injury (ex. pins, bracelets, casts, etc.).
  • Players can wear glasses or sunglasses at their own risk.
  • Players can wear socks or sand socks.
  • Players may wear a hat.
If you are a Coach:

Must dress professionally

At a minimum, must have shorts and shirt.
Coaches volleyball gear


Please note: Uniform rules and regulations can be stricter than what is listed here. Be sure to check tournament regulations in plenty of time before participating.


Do we have discounts for quantity purchasing?

YES! We have quantity discount for nearly all of our items which are listed on the product page. We also offer our exclusive Forever Pricing Program for team customers.