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Iowa Volleyball Region
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Outdoor Rules

USAV Beach Rules 2012-2013

Basic Outdoor Rules


  • 2 players on each side on an 8 x 8 meter court; for 3, 4, and 6 person competition, the court is regulation 9 meters per side with 3 meters of free play area beyond the court lines. Net heights are the same as indoors. Coed (men's height), & 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)


  • Maximum 3 shots per side (contacts).
  • In doubles, the block counts as a contact, and either player may then make the second play on the ball.
  • 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.
  • If the ball is attacked is NOT a hard driven ball, the defending team may contact the ball with finger action (sets) as long as the contact is COMPLETELY clean (no doubles or lifts).
  • The ball may be held by 2 players simultaneously at the net (joust).
  • No open handed tips or dinks. One-handed contacts must be cleanly hit with heel, palm (roll shot), fist or back of hand.
  • If the ball is set over the net as an attack it must travel perpendicularly to the players shoulder line.


  • Rally scoring will be used in all sets (and you must score a two point difference to secure a set cap)
  • The score should be announced by each server prior to serve.
  • Each Tournament Director will dictate what sets will be played to, and most sets will be played to either 15, 21 or 25 points.


  • 4 timeouts of 30 seconds per team.
  • No substitutions.
  • Teams swap courts every multiple of a point points (eg: for 5 pts it is 4:1,6:4, etc…). Specifically, here in Iowa, in sets played to 15 or 25, teams will switch sides on multiples of 5; in sets played to 21, teams will switch sides on multiples of 7.
  • No positional or rotational faults. If it is discovered that a player has served out of order, simply correct the serving order. If the error is discovered during the rally, stop play and have the correct server serve the ball. No points will be taken away in any situation.


  • 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 5 minute-rest (maximum) is allowed.
  • The served ball IS allowed to touch the net
  • We will use the "Courtesy Rule"--where if a team has a beginning player, it will be considered unsportsmanlike to consistently serve to this player.


  • When referees are not assigned; teams will call their own faults. If a dispute cannot be solved, call for a re--serve or summon the Tournament Director for help in mediation. After each match, the team captain for both the winning and the losing team must verify and sign the score sheet.