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Beach volleyball league rules

The City of Ottawa Beach League will mostly follow FIVB Beach Volleyball Rules.

Please see click here for a pdf copy

The rules printed below are league modifications and frequently disputed rules.

Match settings

Each team will play two matches a night, best two out of three sets.

The first two sets are played to 21 points (cap 23), and the third set (if necessary) is to 15 points (cap 17) (If time permits). Only submit scores from the third set if teams are tied 1-1 after the second set. The third set is a tiebreaker and must be played.

Teams must win by two points, unless the horn sounds or cap is reached. When the horn sounds, if the game is tied, the next point made wins the set.


Time default: Teams not arriving within the first 10 minutes after the horn will default the first set. After 15 minutes, teams still not in attendance will default the entire match. Please notify staff if a team does not show up.

Teams will also default if they do not have enough players on the court or the minimum amount of female players on the court for all coed leagues.

All 6’s teams must have a minimum of five players, 4’s teams must have three, 3’s teams must have two and 2’s must have two.

  • Coed 4’s teams need one female must be present on the court at all times
  • Coed 6’s teams need two females must be present on the court at all times

Please send an email if you know that your team will not be attending any nights.

*If your team decides to play against a team that is short of players, the game will count. Please contact the staff on site if you have any questions.

When the blow horn sounds, it signals the end of the current game and the beginning of the next game. Please leave the ball on the court, and move as quickly as possible to your next court.

Teams made of two, three and four players have no restrictions on what position they play on the court, as long as the server rotates in order. Teams of five or six players are restricted to indoor volleyball rotation.


Teams must follow a regular substitution system (one in and one out) or ongoing rotation from the same position throughout the game is acceptable, as long as teams remain consistent in their chosen method. Please remember that everyone must have equal playing time. Teams can only substitute when they score a point or replacing an injured player.

Teams are asked to register spare players on their team roster in case of emergencies.

Two 30-second time outs per set are allowed. A water break does not count as a time out. (Four time outs per match)

All teams are responsible for refereeing their own matches. The league encourages honesty, sportsmanship, and fair play. Call in/out, doubles, touches, and lifts. Call a reserve or contact staff if there are any disagreements.

If a foreign object (e.g. a ball, a person) comes onto the court, play should be stopped and then resumed with a re-serve.

Teams are responsible for checking the schedule online for any time changes throughout the season. Teams will be notified when there is a change in the schedule no later than 3 p.m. Game times will be modified at the end of the season as a result of the sun setting early.


  1. If the server’s foot touches the end line before the ball is contacted, then it is considered a foot fault and the point goes to the receiving team.
  2. If the server throws the ball and catches it or lets it drop, the point goes to the receiving team.
  3. If a server hits the ball and misses the serve (out or into the net), and then a ball comes onto the court, the point goes to the receiving team. However, if the ball is served and in play and a ball comes and interrupts play, then it is a re-serve. If the server misses the serve because the ball has entered the court near them, it is a re-serve.

When the serving team wins a rally, the player who served to start the rally serves again. Otherwise the serve rotates to the next person. When the receiving team wins the rally, they need to rotate and serve. In the 6’s league, there is a max of five serves per player at one time.

Men must attack, tip, or roll shot from back row in all coed leagues. Men are only allowed to block when they are in the front row.

Playing the ball: All 2’s, 3’s and 4’s leagues will follow the FIVB rules and play with the “no volley on first contact rule.” This includes serve receive, free balls, roll shots, and net play.

Exceptions for volleying on first: Hard driven ball – (spike), and after a touch on the block, you can volley.

You cannot jump and volley the ball over as a tip on second or third contacts. Your shoulders need to be square with where you are volleying backwards or forwards. If you set the ball and it unintentionally goes over the net, it is fine. If you purposely set the ball over the net while facing your team mate, then it is considered a tip.

All 6’s leagues use indoor volleyball rules and are allowed to volley on first contact and open hand tip. Please call double contacts and lifts.

A person cannot use their fingers to guide the ball to a target and must let the ball rebound off their hands. You can use both hands either touching or separated in one fluent movement without the use of the fingers (volley). An unintentional double hit is allowed on any first contact situation, as long as it is in one fluent motion and not two separate contacts; you should call any lift/carries.

Open hand tips are not allowed in the competitive 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s leagues, but they are allowed in the 6’s league.

A tip is an open hand motion, directing the ball with the fingers/palm. Instead of open hand tipping, we recommend you use a roll shot, Pokey (Two fingers like Bunny Ears), L-Shaped tip (between thumb and index), and punching of the ball.

A “roll shot” is a spike where the player has controlled the distance and speed to place the ball. The ball rebounds off the hand in whatever direction the hitter may aim to, as opposed to tipping, where the open hand guides the balls direction on contact.

Double hits

A player may not hit a ball twice in succession, creating an intentional double hit. They also may not take support from a team-mate or any structure or object in order to reach a ball. If a player double hits the ball on the second contact, it is a fault. Please show sportsmanship and fair play by calling your own doubles.

The ball may touch any part of the body as long as it is not lifted, caught, or thrown.

If the ball hits the net and goes over, it is still in play. If it hits the poles or guylines, it is out-of- bounds.

Spiking is allowed for both male and females; however males must jump before the three-metre attack line (marked by tape on the sidelines). The foot is allowed to be on the line during take-off. During the spike, a player is allowed to land in front of the line as long as the jump started before the line. Men cannot jump in front of the back row line to do a roll shot or tip.

Competitive leagues

A touch from the block counts as one of the team’s 3 hits if you are playing in the divisions of all 2’s, 3’s or 4’s.

For all 6’s divisions, the indoor rule that a block does not count as a contact will be followed. However, it does count as a touch (in case the ball goes out).


A blocker may only penetrate over the plane of the net when there is a distinctive attacking motion on the third contact. Therefore, you should not reach over the net, unless someone is attacking the ball.

The setter has the right to set the volleyball at all times and must not be interfered with on the second contact, but if the setter is attempting to put the ball over the net the blocker has the right to stop them.  On any third contact, a blocker may penetrate into the opposing team’s space over the net to prevent the ball from coming over the net, but the top of the net cannot be touched and they cannot touch the ball before the attacker.

There is no restriction on the number of males able to block a female hitter.

A player may not block, spike (attack), or tip an opponent’s serve.

Contact with the net is a fault.

Once the player has hit the ball, he or she may touch the posts, ropes or any other object outside the total length of the net provided that this action does not interfere with the play.

If the ball hits any overhanging trees, it will be considered out of bounds. No re-serve will be granted, unless agreed upon by the teams at the beginning of the game.

A person may go under the net. If a person crosses under the net and interferes with play, either making contact with another player or hindering the progress of the person making the play, it is a fault.

Teams that default two full nights without contacting the league administrators in advance (two matches x two weeks) will not make the playoffs.

Both teams are responsible and required to help with the take down of the net.

Step one. Loosen the guylines on both sides.

Step two. Separate the poles from the net.

Step three. Unclip the guylines from the net, roll the net up.

Step four. Take the pegs out of the sand; wrap the boundaries on the boundary holder, not around the shoulder. Place the net, poles, pegs, guylines and boundaries in the bag. Return ball, scoreboard, and shovel to designated area or staff.

City Wide Sports reserves the right to amend rules in collaboration with team contacts at any time. Teams will be notified of any changes made.

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