How to Play Beach Volleyball Like a Pro

beach volleyball

Beach volleyball can be played informally with family or friends or professionally. Because of its low cost and beach setting, beach volleyball has many benefits for those who are looking to have a good time in the sun. Learning how to play beach volleyball is not difficult once you know the rules.

What Is Beach Volleyball?

Women playing volleyball on the beach

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Beach volleyball is a team sport that is played on the beach or a sand court. Like regular volleyball, a net divides the court in two with each team trying to score on the opposite team’s side. Beach volleyball has been featured in the summer Olympics since 1996.

What Are the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships?

The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the global governing body of beach volleyball. This world championship features both men and women in separate games. Since the first official event held in Los Angeles, tournaments have been held every two years.

How Is Beach Volleyball Played in the Olympics?

Beach volleyball at sunset

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Beach volleyball is a popular sport in the summer Olympics. With a total of 24 teams in the Olympic tournament, beach volleyball players are assessed based on their FIVB performance. These games are played several months before the Olympic games. Each country is allowed two teams to participate.

In 1996 when the summer beach volleyball Olympics was just starting, a double elimination tournament was played by both genders. To compete, athletes were chosen based off a vigorous Olympic qualification process. Over the past two decades, beach volleyball has increased in popularity.

How Is Beach Volleyball Played in the Olympics?

Despite a similar structure to the game, beach volleyball is played differently than regular volleyball. Regular volleyball, like beach volleyball, includes a dividing net. Unlike beach volleyball, regular volleyball is played indoors and has slightly separate rules.

Regular Volleyball vs. Beach Volleyball

While regular volleyball is generally played indoors, the differences do not end there. To properly learn how to play beach volleyball, these rules must be understood.

6 Differences Between Beach Volleyball and Regular Volleyball

  • 1.) Regular volleyball is played indoors with a smaller ball
  • 2.) Regular volleyball has six players per side while beach volleyball has two
  • 3.)Regular volleyball has a five-set match while beach volleyball is played with a best-of-three match
  • 4.) Side changes for regular volleyball occurs in every game; in beach volleyball, side changes happen every seven points
  • 5.) Beach volleyballs are generally softer and larger than a regular volleyball
  • 6.) A typical beach volleyball court is 16x8m, while regular volleyball courts are 18x9m

The average game time for both beach volleyball and regular volleyball depends on a variety of factors. A professional beach volleyball set can last just twenty minutes, but it may take longer for those who play as a hobby. Other factors impact beach volleyball that do not have to do with the skill level of the players, including the weather, equipment, and sand issues.

One of the main differences between beach volleyball and regular volleyball is the sand. Because sand is difficult to move in, beach volleyball games can be slower. Since there are only two people playing on a side, each player must be familiar with multiple different positions.

How to Play Beach Volleyball

Getting Ready

To play beach volleyball, you must first form a team. Unlike most team sports, each team will have only two members. Before playing, check to see if you have the right equipment. A beach volleyball court consists of a rectangular court that is divided in the center by a line and net. If playing at a local beach, nets may already be set up for your convenience. Professional beach volleyball requires the net be at a height of 2.43 meters for men and 2.24 meters for women.

Understanding the Objectives

The main objective in beach volleyball is to hit the ball onto the other side of the court. The opposing team wants to make sure the ball does not touch the ground while simultaneously aiming it at your side of the court. It is crucial that the ball does not hit the ground on your side of the line. To keep the ball from falling, players must use a combination of strategy and athletic ability.

Special Rules

One man spikes the ball in the other side and one did not make it to block the ball

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Do not hit the ball beyond three times. Each team can have contact with the ball only three times before it is required to go over the net. Although a player can block the serve, they must not have any physical contact with the net. A player is allowed only one contact with the ball before a teammate must hit it. Additionally, the volleyball must stay in motion at all times. Holding, carrying or dribbling the ball is not allowed in beach volleyball. If the ball is carried or remains still, the opposing team will gain a point.


To win a beach volleyball match, the team must win two sets. If a match is tied, the deciding set will be played to 15 points.

Key Moves

Men playing volleyball shirtless on the beach

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The two main ways to pass a beach volleyball is to use a forearm pass or an overhand pass. Both passes take strength and agility. The forearm pass requires the player to receive the ball with their forearms. By clasping both hands together, their forearms join together. This creates a solid platform for the volleyball. The overhead pass is used with both hands over the head, creating a direct line of follow-through.

Blocking is a very important move that each team needs to master. By defending the net, blocking moves push the ball back to the other team to prevent the ball from dropping.

A move called “the dig” is used to receive a ball when it’s already been served. Both hands are bound together with the thumbs pointed upward. Arms should be locked straight.

A setter is the team’s playmaker. A setter prepares the ball so that their team can score in an attack-like move. Spiking is used when a player jumps and then hits the ball abruptly over the net with force.

How to Spike

So, how do you play beach volleyball? Spiking the ball is worth mastering when out in the sand. A spike is crucial for a competitive game. Although it looks effortless, hitting a volleyball in exactly the precise way needed can be tough. A good spike takes agility, precision and flexibility. Spiking a beach volleyball in the sand can be more difficult than indoors.

  • 1.) After passing the ball, it’s imperative to move quickly when heading toward the net
  • 2.) Jump straight into the air as this will help free up your space
  • 3.) Upon finishing the last stride toward the net, plant both feet before the final jump
  • 4.) As you gain balance before the jump, swing both arms back before bringing them forward with the jump
  • 5.) If you are right handed, use your right leg for lifting and your left for planting
  • 6.) Once you have jumped, make sure the ball is 6 or 7 inches away from you before you swing

How to Play Beach Volleyball in the Sun

Beach volleyball is often played outside in the summertime. Although it may be a beautiful day filled with vitamin D, the sun can be tricky for athletic sports. Here are some tips for playing in the sun:

Wear Sunscreen

Many beach volleyball players can lose track of time when playing a game. It’s easy to get caught up in strategy and forget how hot the sun is. Sunscreen and visor hats can protect the skin on days where extended games are played.


woman drinking water

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To perform best in the heat, you must drink water. Not only is water a healthy option for hydration, but it can help give you the strength you’ll need during a game.

Check the Sand

When playing beach volleyball, sand is the common surface. By checking the volume and surface of the sand, you can prevent injuries to the ankles or feet. Practicing barefoot drills is an excellent way to prepare for playing volleyball on an unstable surface.


Beach volleyball frequently looks graceful with ease and precision, but it is a vigorous sport that can be demanding on multiple parts of the body. Beach volleyball takes flexibility, muscle tone and hip strength to successfully play a game. Although a beach volleyball game can last just twenty minutes, an average non-professional game generally takes much longer. To sustain a healthy and fit body, stretching is crucial.


Volleyball net closed up as viewing the beach

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Learning how to play beach volleyball does not have to be difficult. By simply finding a net on the sand or playing at a public beach, a volleyball game can be played with minimal equipment. Beach volleyball showcases a mix of seemingly effortless flexibility and extreme strength. This dichotomy is just one of the many benefits that has made beach volleyball so popular today.


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