The Rules of Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball involves two teams on opposing sides of a net.

The object of the game is to hit the ball over the net to land in the other team’s half. Players normally use their hands or forearms to try to keep the ball in the air and set up point-winning plays, although the ball can be played by any part of the body.


A rally begins with a serve. The serving player stands behind the baseline to serve, and at the referee’s whistle, hits the ball over the net. Under-arm or over-arm actions may be used. A player’s turn to serve continues until the opposing team wins a point.


Each team is allowed three touches of the ball before it must cross back over the net. Legal touches include:

  • a block

  • a dig

  • a set

  • a hit


The ball may hit the net as it passes across it into the opponent’s court. (It is not a fault, or a “let” as in tennis.) Touching the net and stepping on the opponent’s court during play must not interfere with the opposing team or their ability to play the ball.

Beach Volleyball Jargon Buster

Spike: To smash the ball over arm into the opponent's court.

Pass: The act of passing the ball underarm on receiving the serve.


Set: The act of playing the ball close to the net in front of a team mate so they can spike the ball, usually overhead with the fingers. An underarm hit known as a “dig set” may also be used.


Dig: The act of passing the ball underarm, in back court defence.


Block: Preventing the attacking ball coming over the net by forming a ‘wall’ of hands at the net.


Tool: Where players intentionally hit the ball into the opposition block so that it goes out of play to win a point for the attackers.


Tomahawk: An emergency defensive play used in Beach Volleyball where both hands contact the ball above head height. The ball is hit and not played with the fingers.


Cut: An over arm spike to direct the ball into the opponent’s court very close and parallel to the net.


Knuckle or Pokey: Instead of hitting the ball, the ball is hit across the net with the fist or the knuckles of bent fingers. This can be used to avoid the block or to place the ball in more specific areas of the opponent’s court.


Substitutions are allowed, and in beach volleyball, this usually takes the form of rotating players onto the court just prior to their serve. This does not have to occur every time there is a new server. A player cannot be substituted off the court while it is their turn to serve. There is no limit to the number of substitutions allowed during a match.

my AFK Beach Volleyball Tournament Rules


Teams will need 5-10 players, with five players on court at any one time and at least one person of each gender on court at all times.

Teams must wear matching uniforms - shorts and t-shirt or vest are recommended. Shoes are not worn during play.

The tournament will run using pool play format, with pools of four teams. The top four teams after the pool round will compete in the semi-finals and then the top two teams go into the finals.

Matches are time limited. In the event of a draw, a single tie-break point is played.


The winning team will be presented with a trophy and there will be medals for the runners up.