Get familiar with the talk of the sand


A served ball that lands on the opponent’s side of the court, which is untouched by the receiving team or lands on the court or flies out of bounds after unsuccessful attempts to keep it in the game by the receiving team. In both cases the serving team scores a point and it is considered an ace in the statistics.

Ball mark

The contact of the ball with the sand. This mark may be checked by the referees or line judges to determine if the ball is "in" or "out". The Ball mark protocol is a procedure initiated by the 1st referee for establishing whether the ball has landed ‘in’ or ‘out’.

Between rallies

The time after one rally ends and the next one finishes. Under normal circumstances this is a maximum of 12 seconds.


Is the action, when a player jumps close to the net with their hands up high to try to stop the ball from flying over the net.

Bump (Pass or Set)

A technique of playing ball using forearms, hands together, to direct the ball. A Bump Set is the same action used to set up a team-mate.


A fault called if the ball comes to rest in the course of contact by one player.

Coin toss

The official procedure before the match and before the third set (if it is played), when the referee tosses a coin and the team captain, who wins the toss choses either the team that will start serving in the next set, either the side of the court they want to start the set on.

Contacted ball

A contacted ball is one that touches or is touched by any part of a player's body or clothing.


Beach Volleyball is played on a rectangular court 16 meters long and 8 meters wide. The net divides it in half, leaving each side of the court a square 8 by 8 meters. The boundary lines are contrast-coloured lines that mark the bounds of the playing court. If the ball touches the line, it is considered ‘in’.

Court switches (side changes)

The teams change sides of the court every seven points in the first and second sets and every five point in the third set. This is done to equal the playing conditions for both teams as sun, wind etc. might not affect both sides of the court equally.

Cross court/cut shot

An offensive hit in which a player, instead of hitting with power, slices the ball just over and nearly parallel to the net.

Crossing space

The area above the net and inside the antennas (and their imaginary extension upward) through which an attacked or served ball must pass.

Dig (Save)

A defence action, when the ball is saved from falling to the ground, usually after an opponent’s attack.


Ball played just over net or blocker's hands, instead of spiking and is legal as long as it is not with open fingers.

Double fault

Two faults occurring at the same time. Results in a replay (the same person serving again with no point scored).


A serve that follows an uneven trajectory ("floats") over the net.

Foot faults

The illegal action of a player, who at the time of serving or jumping to serve, has their foot under the line, has their foot outside the extension of the sideline, or their foot, contacts the playing court (line included). An illegal action when the serving player makes contact with the playing court, including the line, or steps out of bounds – outside the extension of the longline.

Free zone

The area outside the playing court but inside the panels, signage, etc.

Hard driven ball

An attack when the ball travels to the opponent’s side of the net with great speed and force and the only possible defensive play is a successful reflex from the receiving team.

Injury timeout

A 5 minute recovery period allowed for the player to recover from an injury. Medical assistance can be called onto the court to help the player within this time period.


A classic confrontation above the net where the two opponent players simultaneously contact the ball, holding it with open fingers.

Jump serve

The action of serving the ball, while the player is not in contact with the ground. The final step of the player has to be done within the service zone, but the landing can be done on the court or anywhere in the free zone.

Lower space under net

The area right below the net. There is no middle line that separates the sides of the net in Beach Volleyball. Any part of the player’s body can cross the space under the net with the condition that it does not interrupt or disturb the opponents.

Match format

The format for official CEV and FIVB competitions is best of 3 sets, the first 2 being played to 21 (with 2 point advantage) and the 3rd set to 15 (with a 2 point advantage), both with no maximum score.

Momentarily overhand with fingers / beach dig /beach defence

A legal way to receive a hard driven ball. Players are allowed legally to hold or carry the ball overhand slightly longer than is usually allowed.


A piece of equipment that separates the two sides of the court in the middle. The net itself is one meter high, while the upper cable of the net must be 2.24 meters from the ground for senior women’s competitions and 2.43 meters high for men.

Out of bounds

When the ball touches and external object or the ground outside the court.

Overhand set

The playing action of setting the ball or passing the ball with 2 hands fingers spread, contacting the ball. A clean set is one when the ball is not held or carried.


A point is awarded to a team either after successful actions that result with the ball landing on the court on their opponent’s side, or after a mistake or fault by their opponents.


The time from the end of the previous match to the beginning of the next.


The time of the play between the service and any of the teams scoring a point, includes all of the match actions done meanwhile.

Play over, Replay (Tie ball replay)

When the referee authorises a service to be made again with no point or side out being made to either team. This could be as a result of simultaneous fault, incorrect decision or external interference.

Roll shot

A legal attack of using closed fingers or the palm of the hand and sending the ball over the net to the opponent’s side. The ball usually travels a short distance and rotates in the air (hence the name).

Roof block (stuff block)

A block that puts the ball straight down on the side of the attacking team.


The material that has to cover the surface of the playing field. The sand has to be uniform, clear of any dangerous objects and at least 40 centimetres deep.


An attempt to stand in front of the serving teammate to block or hide them from the opponent’s view. Screening is illegal in Beach Volleyball and the receiving side has to indicate, if they do not see the serving player and their teammate will have to dunk or move.


The act of putting the ball into play by a player who hits the ball with his/her hand or arm. The Serve is initiated by a toss of the ball.

Service order

The order in which players can legally serve, both players of the team take turns in serving – the serving series for each player ends, when the opponents score a point in sideout. If the wrong player of the serving team serves, based on the sequence indicated on the scoresheet, they are an Illegal server and therefore a fault with the point going to the opponents.


Passing the ball as a set to an empty place on the court on the opponent’s side of the net to score. Two-handed sets are only legal attacks, if the trajectory of the ball is perpendicular the setters body or the direction of the ball is obvious to the opponents.

Side out

The action of winning a rally, when receiving the opponent’s service.

Simultaneous contact

When two players touch the ball at the same time. If this is done by opponents over the net and the ball remains squeezed between their hands for a certain period of time, it is called a joust.

Sky ball

A type of serve when the ball is hit upwards and then falls down like a meteor on the opponent’s side of the net, used to take advantage of the sun and wind to make it more difficult to receive. Italian Adrian Carambula is famous for using sky balls.


An attack of great force that is hit straight down into the sand on the opponent’s side of the net from the top of the net. Also known as crush, hammer, kill or slam.

Three hits per side

A team is allowed to touch the ball no more than three times before sending it over the net to the opponent’s side. Player’s cannot touch the ball twice in a row, with the exception of playing defence right after blocking the ball.


Between rallies team captains can request a 30 sec timeout for their team, when they return to the benches. Each team is entitled to one timeout per set. Technical timeouts are sometimes granted to teams in the form of an official 30 second break in the first and second sets, when the sum of both teams’ points is 21. There are no technical timeouts in the third set.


An attack with open fingers (spread fingertips) that is illegal in Beach Volleyball, but is very common indoors.

Warm up period (Official warm up)

The official time after the coin-toss and signing of the scoresheet, when teams prepare for the match on the court.

Wipe off

An attack where the ball touches the opponents block and falls out, thus giving a point to the attacking team.