Beach Volleyball Rules

as adopted by USAV RVA Training Manual

and modifications added by the TVL Board of Directors


Equipment and Facilities


1. Court: 

8x16m (26’3”x52’6”) with 3-6m (9’10”-19’8”) free zone

Diagonal measures: Short 11.31m (37’1”) Long: 17.89m (58’7”)

Lines (2”) are the inside court boundary.   No center or attack lines used.

Clean, leveled sand approximately 40cm (15”) deep


2. Net:

Net 8.5 m (28’) with padded posts, referee stand and adjustable antenna

Net heights (as indoor) Women 2.24m (7’4 1/8”) Men 2.43m (7’11 5/8”)


3. Ball: 

Leather or synthetic and light colors

Pressure:  175-.225 kg/cm2 (2.5-3.2 psi) 

Circumference:  66-68 cm (25.9-26.8”)  

Weight:  260-280g (8-10 oz)

4. The Park:

No glass bottles are allowed at the park where the courts are located.

Players bringing glass bottles into the park will be asked to remove them.  A player receiving a second warning for bringing glass bottles into the park will be asked to leave and be suspended for games the remainder of the season.  This is a safety issue.



1. Players:

All roster players must be registered with TVL by creating a player profile account at

Players must be in good standing with TVL.

Misconduct on or near the courts can result in termination of a player's membership.

All players must practice good sportsmanship and be respectful to other players/teams both on and off the court.

Upper division players are not permitted to play at a lower level at anytime.  Players caught playing at a lower level from the division they're registered in will result in forfeits for the team of the games they played in.  Both the player and the lower division team the player played on will receive a warning for misconduct.  A second offense will result in suspension of future games.

2. Teams: 

Four or Six players with up to two substitutes and one player is designated as captain.

Team Captain may occasionally ask the referee to explain a call.

The referee(s) must offer a brief but succinct explanation, based on rule.

The players have the option to protest rules interpretations, but not judgment.


3. J.A.G. Club Members:

For safety and liability reasons, members of our J.A.G. Club must be between the ages of 11-17.  There will be no exceptions to this rule as these players will occasionally play older and more experienced players.  

4. Substitutions:

In order to play a league sanctioned game, there must be at least two roster members of the team on the court at ALL times for teams in our Intermediate and Competitive divisions and three roster members for teams in our Recreational division.  Note:  The only exception is with the consent of the opposing team’s captain.  This consent should be appropriately noted by the referee on the scoresheet.


5. Spirit of the outdoor game:

Know the rules and abide by them.  Respect the spirit of the game.

Only the team captain may address referees for interpretation or for interval request.

Understand and employ protocols (handshakes, authorized court switches, etc.).

Behave respectfully and in spirit of fair play.

Refrain from influencing officials (possible yellow card).

Maintain pace of play as per 12 second guideline (possible team delay yellow).

Players not following rules of the game or players that create problems during the match can be issued a warning (yellow card) or removed from the game completely (red card) at the discretion of the referee.  Any protest to this rule must be brought up to the League Director or the Competition Director at the time of offense. 


Match Format:


1.  Scoring: 

"All 3 Sets" Match Play: 

Sets of 21, 21, and 15 points with rally scoring

No point cap. Win by two.

Total Match time will be 45 minutes.

Switching sides for the 1st and 2nd sets will occur when one team reaches 11 points and in the 3rd set after one team has reached 8 points.

Referee designates each team as head or tail.

Winner of toss chooses serve/receive/side A or B. 

Other captain chooses remaining option. 

Both captains declare player service order and signs score-sheet.


2.  Pre-Match:

5 Minute Protocol:

-3 min:  Warm-up begins.

-2 min:  Coin toss. Captains make choices & declare serving order.

Match begins at scheduled start time.


3.  Between Sets 1 & 2:

At the end of each set, teams return to their player boxes for a 1 minute interval.

The team that lost the first coin toss to choose serve/receive/side A or B.

After this selection, the other team makes the remaining choice.

Both teams declare their player service order.


4.  Deciding Set: (Should the league format be "Best of Three Sets" Match Play)

If there is a deciding 3rd set, the referee will conduct a second coin toss.

Both captains must be present for the toss.

Winner chooses serve/receive/side A or B.

Other captain chooses among remaining options.

Both declare serving order.

Duration between sets is still only 1 minute.

Court switches when one team reaches 8 points.

Play to 15, win by two


5. End of match:

All officials and all players shake hands at the ref stand.

Each team captain’s signature is required on the scoresheet.

The scoresheet is to be placed on the bottom of that court's scoresheets of the clipboard at the end of each match.

The team that referees the last match of the night on their court is responsible for turning in the clipboard of scoresheets to TVL officials.

The last teams to play on their court for that game day are responsible for pulling up the court lines and wrapping them on the orange court line holders located at each court.
These teams must turn-in the court lines and game balls to TVL officials. 


During the Set:


1. Position Faults:

No requirement other than all players must be on their court at service.


2. Service Order:

Each rally begins only when teams are prepared and ready.

Scorer confirms that correct server does serve. 

Players can start and play anywhere as long as service order is obeyed.

Referees must inform players if wrong player attempts to serve.

If wrong player serves, immediately stop rally and replay with correct server.

If wrong player serves and rally is completed, that point will stand. 

Employ the correct server for next service attempt.

Referees confirm that receiving team is “ready” with no screens.

Receiving team should raise a hand to indicate that a screen exists.

Serving team must alter positions if requested to avoid screen.


3.  IN and OUT:

The ball is IN when it physically touches the line, or the court within the lines.

Note:  That in beach volleyball the lines move, and are effected by the condition of the sand.  Care should be taken to straighten the lines every play, and to rake or level the sand near the lines routinely to keep the court uniform.

The ball is OUT when it lands out of bounds, touches objects outside the free zone, hits the antenna or net support structure, completely crosses the lower space under the net or passes entirely beyond the plane of the net partly or totally outside the antenna during the serve or after a team’s third hit. (Pursuit is legal in beach volleyball!)


4:  Result of a fault:

Rally scoring:  If a team commits a fault it loses the rally, including both a point and the right to serve.  Only the first fault in a rally is counted.  Simultaneous faults by opponents leads to a replay.


5:  Playing the ball:

Each team gets 3 hits and THE BLOCK DOES NOT COUNT AS A TEAM HIT.  

Contact may be made with any part of the body and the ball can rebound in any direction. Simultaneous contact by teammates is counted as TWO team hits.

The ball must be hit.  It may not be caught or thrown.  Simultaneous contact by opponents (joust) is legal, even if momentarily held.

Both teams retain the right to three hits after a joust.

Players may not take support from a person or object in order to play the ball.


Possible Faults in playing the ball include:

Four Hits, Held Ball, Double Contact, Illegal Attack, Service Faults, Block Faults.  Dinks and Pushing the Ball are not allowed in upper divisions.


6.  Ball Near the Net: 

Over:  The ball must be played across the net within the crossing space above the net.

Above the net, teams may play the ball only ON THEIR OWN SIDE (no reaching beyond the plane to “bring back” a set above net).

Blocks on the opponent’s side may occur provided this action does not interfere with opponents play or after the execution of an attack hit.

Under:  Balls passing under the net, but still in the plane, may be “played back.” 

Balls completely crossing under the net are “out” (signal “under”).


Note:  Pursuit is legal 

The first or second ball must pass over or outside of an antenna.

The ball must be played back over/outside the same antenna.

Within the teams three contacts, must send the ball properly through the crossing space.

Pursuit outdoors allows a player to pursue across the opponents’ court during their attempt. 

Referees must be aware potential interference!


7.  Player Near Net 

Net Contact:  Net-contact is not a fault unless it interferes with play.  The top tape of the may not be touched in any division.  Touching the top tape will be counted as a fault.


You may only contact the ball within your own “playing-space” (exception:  blocking).  Setters/players may not reach beyond the vertical plane to retrieve the ball.  Attackers must only touch that part of the ball which is on their side of the net. 

Follow-through across the plane of the net after the contact is legal. Blockers may penetrate the plane over the net and block only after an attack hit.


There is no center line (literally) or in the sense of team possession.  Players may cross into the opponent’s area (generally during “pursuit” or during an attempt to save a ball in or under the net) as long as they do not interfere with the opponents.


8.  Interference: 

Is the most difficult call that the referee must consider.  Referees must use broad awareness of many factors in judging interference.  If a player interferes with the opponents’ play, he must be called for the fault.

Signal “interference” by pointing with index finger under net (and verbalizing “Interference”).

Note: Contact between opponents does not always constitute interference, (bump knees, step briefly on toes, etc.) and that interference can also occur without physical contact. (i.e. fallen player under net prevents defender covering short)

Interference is a fault that results in a point, not a replay!


9.  Service:

The serve must be contacted with one hand or arm, within a 9 second time limit.  No other body part will be allowed to hit the ball to conduct a serve.

Server is permitted one toss per service attempt.

Server must be in (or jump from within) the 8m width of the court.

The server may not step on or under the baseline prior to contact of serve.

Movement of the line by pressed sand is not a fault.

Reminder:  Officials prevent wrong-servers!


10.  Attack Hits:

Any contact that will send the ball to the opponents (except the serve) is an attack.

Attacks must take place within a team’s playing space… not on the opponent’s side.

Serves may not be attacked while still higher than the top of the net from anywhere on court.


Open hand tips and dinks are not allowed in TVL's Competitive and Advanced divisions.  In addition, open handed receives are not allowed in either of these divisions.  These are permitted in TVL's lower divisions.


11.  Blocks: 

A block is an action (close to the net and above the net) that attempts to intercept a ball coming from the opponents court.  The block DOES NOT count as first team contact.  ANY player of the team may make the 2nd team contact.  Multiple contacts at the block are counted as only one hit.  Serves may not be blocked.


12.  Regular Game Delays 

Timeout (T/O):

Each team may call one timeout per set. 

The total duration is to last no more than 60 seconds :

Teams get 15 seconds to reach the player box, 

            The timeout itself is 30 seconds, 

            We allow 15 seconds to return to play. 

Technical Timeout (TTO):

Conducted when a combined total of 21 point are scored in sets 1 and 2.

It is administered just the same as a regular T/O.

There is not a TTO in the 3rd set.


13.  Improper Delays: 

The maximum time between routine rallies should be 12 seconds.

Teams who delay the flow of play are verbally asked to return to play.

If a team continues to delay the flow of play, they are sanctioned with a delay warning and subsequent delays are sanctioned by delay penalty points.


14.  Exceptional Interruptions:


Minor issues get the typical 30 second evaluation.

For serious medical issues (of any sort) a Medical Timeout of 5 minutes can be granted. 

External Interference:

Play must be stopped and a replay directed in the case of external interference.

Examples may include: 

Balls on from adjacent court 


Trees overhanging playable surface

Court personnel

Mobile cameras and cameramen.   

Weather and Prolonged Delays:

Inclement weather, equipment failure, or tournament issues can delay play.

If delay is less than 4 hrs, match can resume from point of interruption (on any court).

Matches delayed longer than 4 hrs must be replayed entirely.






The Tulsa Volleyball League Board of Directors reserves the right to amend these rules at any time.  Annual review will be conducted to these regulations and changed according to the most current updates submitted by USAV RVA Training Manual.  Certain rules within the USAV RVA Training Manual may not be applicable to Tulsa Volleyball League and will therefore not be adopted for league format.  In addition to these game rules, other Tulsa Volleyball League rules may be added and enforced







Revision: January 1, 2011

Revision: January 1, 2012

Revision: June 1, 2012

Revision: August 1, 2013

Revision: June 1, 2014 

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