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Beach volleyball is a sport that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century in the United States and became popular in the rest of the world in the 1980s.

It is a derivative of traditional volleyball, but with some differences in the rules, the court and the number of players.

In the complete and up-to-date guide below, we’ll find out a little more about the history and workings of this much-loved game, such as the set system, point counting, offences and permitted equipment.

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What is beach volleyball?

Beach volleyball is a sport that consists of two pairs playing on a sand court divided by a net.

The aim is to make the ball touch the ground on the opponent’s side using techniques, movements and actions with the hands and arms.

An Olympic discipline since 1996, the game has similar rules to traditional volleyball, but with some differences that we’ll see below.

What is the origin of beach volleyball?

Tudo sobre vôlei de praia
What is the origin of beach volleyball?

Sand volleyball is believed to have started informally on the beaches of California in the United States during the 1920s.

The idea was to adapt traditional volleyball to beach conditions, making it more suitable for an informal and relaxed environment.

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The game gradually gained popularity over the following years, initially as a leisure and socialising activity.

It began to be organised as a competitive sport in the 1940s, with the first official tournament being held in 1948.

Since then, beach volleyball has continued to grow in popularity not only in North America, but around the world, especially after the sport was included in the Olympic Games from 1996 onwards.

Beach volleyball scoring system

To win a beach volleyball match, the pair must win two sets of 21 points. However, they must finish them with a difference of two points compared to the opposing team. Are you confused? Let’s illustrate below.

Suppose the score of the set is 20-20. In this scenario, the match won’t end 21-20, because you have to take a two-point lead.

In this way, the game will continue endlessly until one team scores 22-20, 23-21, 24-22 or any other score with a two-point difference.

At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, for example, France beat Brazil 39-37 in a match that lasted 51 minutes.

In the event of a 1-1 draw in the number of sets, the tiebreak is played. This third and final set consists of just 15 points. The two-point rule also applies.

To score points, the players perform a series of coordinated movements, such as receptions, serves, cuts and blocks.

Beach volleyball court size

regras do vôlei de praia oficiais
Beach volleyball court size

The official beach volleyball court is 16m long and 8m wide. Right in the middle, there is a net dividing the two sides.

The surface of the court is made up of sand – hence the name beach volleyball. Anything beyond the 16×8 mark is considered “outside”.

Beach volleyball net height

  • Men – 2,43m
  • Women – 2,24m

What are the rules of beach volleyball?

  • Whoever wins two sets first wins the match;
  • The first two sets last 21 points;
  • The third set (tiebreak) is shorter and lasts 15 points;
  • In order to win any set, you have to score two points off the final score. Otherwise, the match will continue until this happens;
  • Doubles switch sides every seven points in normal sets;
  • Doubles switch sides every five points in the tiebreak;
  • Each pair can request a time-out of 30 seconds in each set;
  • There are no substitutions in beach volleyball. If a player is injured, the referee gives them five minutes to recover. If they can’t, the match is finished and victory is awarded to the opponent;
  • There are no fixed positions. Players can start the point anywhere on the court, without a foul being called;
  • There is no rotation like in indoor volleyball;
  • Each pair can take up to three touches to pass the ball;
  • In beach volleyball, a block counts as a touch. If this happens and the ball remains in play, the pair can only take two more touches of the ball before passing it to their opponents;
  • When the ball is lifted for a finish, it must not rotate around its axis. If this happens, a two-touch foul is called and the point goes to the opponent;
  • The drop shot in beach volleyball can only be made with the fingers joined and closed (crock) or with the palm of the hand. If the athlete uses their fingers with an open hand, a foul is called;
  • When two players fight for the ball at the same time on the edge of the net, no foul is called as in indoor volleyball;
  • When serving, the player’s partner cannot stand and block the opponent’s view. That’s why they crouch down.

Equipment allowed for beach volleyball

regras do vôlei de praia
Equipment allowed for beach volleyball

According to the rules of beach volleyball, players can play wearing shorts, swimwear, tank tops, tank tops or T-shirts, numbered 1 to 2

They are also allowed to play with sun protection equipment, such as visors, caps and sunglasses.

Athletes must enter the court barefoot, unless the athlete has some kind of limitation that requires extra equipment, such as socks. In this case, the situation must be communicated to the organization in advance.

Now you know all about beach volleyball! Did you like this content? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to visit us every day for more comprehensive articles on sports, games and betting 👊

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