Sand Volleyball Rules


  1. GVSU IM Sports will provide game balls.  Teams may supply their own balls provided the intramural sports staff approve them.
  2. Hats are permitted. Bandanas with a single knot may be worn

Players and Substitutes

  1. A team consists of four (4) players.  A minimum of two (2) players is required to start a match. 
  2. Unlimited substitutions are allowed as long as one player does not occupy more than one position in the service order during a single set.
  3. Open teams have no gender restrictions.

Starting the Match

  1. The winner of rock-paper-scissors can select:
    1. The right to serve or receive service or
    2. The side of the court
  2. The loser takes the remaining choice
  3. In the second set, the loser of the toss gets the options of a or b above. A new toss will occur prior to a third game. 

The Game

  1. There will be no officials for Sand Volleyball. If there is a disagreement, all staff decisions are final.
  2. A match is won by the first team to win two games
  3. The first two games will be won when one team reaches 25 points, provided they win by two.
    1. There is a cap of 27 points.
  4. The third game, if necessary, will be won when one team reaches 15 points, provided they win by two.
    1. There is a cap of 17 points.
      1. There is no cap in game 3 of a playoff match. A team must win game 3 by two points.

Game Play

  1. Positions
    1. At the moment the ball is hit, each player must be inside its court lines (except the server)
    2. Players may position themselves anywhere inside the court lines
    3. There are no rotational faults
  2. Ball in and out
    1. A ball is in when it touches the ground on the playing surface, including the boundary lines.
    2. A ball is out when it
      1. Touches the ground completely outside the boundary lines
      2. Touches an object outside the court
      3. Touches the ropes, posts or net outside the side bands of the net
  3. Scoring
    1. A point will be scored after each fault (rally scoring).
  4. Playing the ball
    1. Blocking does not constitute a team contact. Any player may make the first contact after a block.
    2. A player may not hit the ball two times consecutively.
    3. Teams have three contacts to return the ball over the net.
    4. The ball may touch any part of the body to constitute a hit.
    5. The ball must be hit, not caught or thrown.
    6. Tipping the ball over the net is not permitted.
    7. Players are allowed to cross under the net, provided there is no interference with the opponent’s opportunity to play the ball.
    8. Players may graze, but cannot run into the net. A fault and the serve will be awarded to the opposing team under the discretion of the official. 
  5. Service
    1. The serve is authorized when the correct server has the ball behind the end line and both teams are ready to play. The game score should be spoken to indicate the service is pending.

Page last modified July 6, 2023