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Sand Volleyball Rules


Players may play on one team in each league.  A co-rec team competes with 3 or 4 players (2 males/2 females or 1 male/2 females / 2 males/1 female); an open team competes with 2 players of any gender combination.  All players must be signed up before the game begins.

Rock, paper, scissors determines which team receives the choice of either the serve or the court.  The first team who completes the score sheet will make the call.

Twenty-one points wins the game provided there is a 2 point lead.  Scores can be 21-19, 22-20, 23-21, etc.  A match is complete when one team wins 2 complete games.  If a third game is needed to decide the match, it will be played to 15 points, with a 2 point lead necessary.  A third game in the playoffs will be played to 15 points.  Teams switch sides after the halfway point in the third game.

Rest periods between games of a match shall be no longer than 3 minutes.

Each team is permitted 2 one-minute team time-outs per game.  Time-outs may be requested to an official only when the ball is dead and are not in effect until the official recognizes the time-out with a whistle or hand signal and vocal command.

Players are asked to wear tennis shoes for their own protection.  We will not permit anyone to play with hard-soled shoes or sandals.  Players may play in bare feet at their own risk of injury.  Participants with casts (especially hand or wrist) will not be allowed to participate.  Leave all jewelry at home.  Recreational Sports and Fitness Services strongly recommends that no jewelry be worn in IM competition.

Do not chase loose volleyballs into other courts while play is in progress.


The serving order must remain as it is first established by starting position in the game. The serving order may be changed at the beginning of each new game.  Serve may be from anywhere behind the line in back court.

The server has 5 seconds to begin the serve from the time the official signals the serve.

At the instant the ball is hit for the service, the server shall not have any portion of the body in contact with the end line on the ground, or inside the lines marking the court area.

Let serves are legal. Hitting the net with the ball on a serve (or any other time) is legal.


The receiving team is not allowed to block or spike the serve. (I.e., contact the ball above the top of the net.)

A spiker must contact the ball on his/her own side of the net, but may in the course of the follow through reach over (but not touch) the net.  A player is allowed to go underneath the net as long as there is not interference with the other team.

Backline players while inside the attack zone (10 feet from the net, judged by officials) may not play the ball directly into the opposite court if contact is made when any part of the ball is above the top of the net. Two formations are allowed in sand volleyball, a diamond or a box. In a diamond formation, only the server cannot attack at the net. In a box formation, the back two players cannot attack at the net.

The team, which has affected the block, shall have the right to three more contacts, with the blocker having the right to make the first of the three allowable hits.


A ball hit into the net, by a team may still be kept in play (up to 3 hits) provided that the net is not touched by a player.

Players may not touch the net.  If 2 opposing players touch the net simultaneously, the ball is declared dead and is replayed.


The ball must be returned over the net in 3 hits or less.

It is legal to contact the ball with any part of the body above the waist as long as the ball rebounds immediately and does not "lay" against the body.  (The ball may not be kicked.)  If a player touches the ball or the ball touches a player, it is considered as a play on the ball.

If 2 players on the same team contact the ball simultaneously, it counts as two hits and neither may play the ball again.

In 4 person, tipping is legal, including if the team has 3 players in the 4 player league.

One may play the ball twice during a volley, but not twice in succession, unless played directly off a block.

When a ball touches a boundary line, it is considered good (in-bounds.)


Setting the serve is illegal in all leagues.

Players are not permitted to scoop, hold, lift or push the ball.  The ball may never be contacted with an open-hand underhand motion.  When a ball is dinked it must be done with a closed fist or open palms as long as hands are together.

A ball touching the body more than once in succession is considered a double hit and is illegal except when played off a hard-driven spiked ball, or blocked and played again by the blocker.

In 2 person, tipping is not allowed.

An official may (at their own discretion) penalize a team one point or loss of serve for intentionally delaying the game.

For Co-Rec League: If playing with 4 people, the server cannot spike the bal. If playing with 3 people, anyone can spike.

For Open League (2 people):  The ball cannot be set over to the other team, unless hips/shoulders are parallel to the net, and the set cannot be considered a tip.


There will be continuous substitution at the time of serve, for the person rotating into the serving position. Player entering then serves.

All substitutions must be made within a 15-second time limit.  If changing time exceeds 15 seconds, a team time-out will be charged.  If a team has none of its 2 allotted team time-outs remaining, point or side-out will be awarded to the other team.  An injury substitution is not considered as one of the 2 allowable time outs.

If a player arrives after the first game of the match has started, and her/his name is on the roster, that player will be allowed to play in the game as a substitute if the team uses regular substitutions.


Students working as intramural officials are providing a service to those other students, faculty and staff, participating in volleyball.  Under no circumstances should these student officials be threatened or physically or verbally abused.  Anyone physically or verbally abusing an intramural official will immediately and automatically be suspended.  The suspension will remain in effect throughout the time necessary to clarify and verify the facts surrounding the action.  Permanent suspension may follow.

Teams and players have a further responsibility in acting to prevent their fans from abusing the officials and to help the officials control their spectators so that the game is not disrupted.  In instances where officials are threatened or physically abused by spectators, those teams that are identified with the spectators will be suspended indefinitely.

Any player ejected from a game for any reason will automatically be suspended from his team's next game or until a review of the incident can be made.  Indefinite suspension may follow.

NOTE:  It is University policy that alcoholic beverages may not be consumed in University recreational areas.  Please cooperate with the Intramural Department in keeping both your players and spectators from bringing alcohol to the courts.  Any person or teams that consume alcoholic beverages before a game will not be permitted to participate.  Opponents, officials and supervisors are responsible to report such incidents.


When hand setting, the ball cannot spin excessively (2 person).

When a hard driven spike ball occurs, anything goes short of carrying the ball when receiving the spike.