Sand Volleyball Rules & Regulations

Please ensure that you read and understand the Houston Sports & Social Club General Rules. They can be found here.

Houston Sports & Social Club General Sand Volleyball Rules


There is no maximum number of players allowed on a sand volleyball team roster; however players must be registered with Houston Sports & Social Club and must sign the Houston Sports & Social Club waiver to be able to participate. Please refer to the Houston Sports & Social Club General Rules for rules regarding roster adjustments and additional detail regarding waivers.


Please refer to the General Rules for details regarding player eligibility.


Houston Sports & Social Club expects all participants to play with the highest level of sportsmanship. Rude or demeaning behavior to umpires, the opposing team, and/or your own team members will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Unsportsmanlike behavior may result in that player being ejected from the game. An ejection may result in further suspension from participation in current and/or future Houston Sports & Social Club sports. An ejected player is required to leave the premises immediately. Refusal to leave the premises may result in a team forfeit and/or suspension.

Any disputes or complaints regarding the umpire’s handling of a game or ejection can be addressed with the league after the day of play in which the incident took place. On the day of the incident, the umpire’s decision will be considered final and disputes will not be addressed by the league.


The minimum amount of players to play a legal game are :(6 on 6 league - minimum 4 players with a maximum of 2 men; 4 on 4 league - minimum 2 players with a maximum of 1 man.

6 on 6 leagues: Teams can never play more than 3 men on the court. Teams that are short players must designate a spot in their serving rotation for a “ghost” player where the missing player(s) would play in the rotation if they were present. When the “ghost” player rotates to the serving position, the team will automatically lose their serve. No points are awarded for a lost serve in this scenario. If a team is 2 players short, they would play with two “ghost” players. Players arriving late may automatically take over the “ghost” player’s position at any time during the game.

4 on 4 leagues:  Teams can never play more than 2 men on the court. Teams that are short players do not lose serves, but must still rotate serves between players. NOTE: Most tournaments allow up to 3 men on the court for 4v4. 

All games will have a 5-minute initial grace period. Once the initial grace period has expired, if team does not have the minimum number of players to play an official game (4v4: minimum of 2 players with no more than 1 men; 6v6: minimum of 4 players with no more than 2 men), the opposing team will receive a win for the first set of the night, and an additional 10 minute grace period will be allowed. After a total of 15 minutes from gametime, a team still does not possess the minimum number of players to play a legal game, the game will be ruled a forfeit. If however, the opposing team wishes to allow the team to play with less than the minimum amount of required players, the game may be played as an official game. The opposing team’s captain must notify the league official that they want to play an official game despite the other team’s inability to field the minimum number of players for a legal game. The game will be assumed as a forfeit unless there is a specific request by the team captain to this effect. A forfeit will be scored 21-0, 21-0.

Forfeit fines may be issued if a team does not provide a forfeit notification prior to the deadline, and does not have the minimum number of players to play an officiated exhibition game (minimum of X players). If a team e-mails by 2pm on the day of your game (for weekday leagues) or 10am the day of your game (for weekend leagues), stating that they will not be able to field a team, no fine will be assessed. This will allow notifications to reach the opposing team’s members and will allow the opposing coach to inform his team of the impending forfeit.


If the forfeiting team does have the minimum number of players required to play an exhibition and your team chooses to not play the exhibition, no forfeit fine will be assessed.


If you believe a forfeit fine is owed to your team, your team captain must complete the forfeit fine request form by no later than 7 days after the forfeit (e.g. if you are forfeited on in a Thursday league, you have until Wednesday of the following week to submit your forfeit fine request). If the forfeit fine request form is not completed within 7 days, no forfeit fine will be assessed. The forfeit fine request form is located at:


After review, if it is determined that your team is owed a forfeit fine, a forfeit fine will be assessed ($50 per game for regular leagues and $25 per game for doubleheader leagues) and added to your captain's account as league credit that can be used toward a future season. For free agent teams, the fine will be divided by the number of players on the roster and added to each player's account. The league credit will expire 6 months from the day of issuance.


Note: No forfeit fines will be assessed in tournaments or playoffs.




Houston Sports & Social Club promotes responsible drinking; however, some fields do not allow alcoholic beverages. If this is the case, Houston Sports & Social Club staff members will be monitoring to ensure that no visible alcohol is present. If a fine is assessed against Houston Sports & Social Club for a player’s negligence in following the rules of the field, that player will be responsible to reimburse Houston Sports & Social Club for any fines or additional costs associated with the violation. A player may be suspended for such violations.


The winning team will be awarded 2 points.

The losing team will not be awarded any points.


Houston Sports & Social Club will provide all necessary equipment for volleyball. Only volleyballs provided by Houston Sports & Social Club will be used during the game. Teams may bring volleyballs for practice. Note: time between games is limited and may not allow for practice time.


Rock/Paper/Scissors will be played between the two captains to determine serve or side; best two out of three wins and picks either serve or side. Teams will rotate sides and serve after the completion of each game.


All games will be played using rally scoring where points will be awarded regardless of which team is serving. Each match will consist of the best of 3 games. The first 2 games will be played to 21 points and the third game will be played to 15 points. Play continues until a two point advantage is reached or until a team scores 25 points in the first 2 sets or 21 points in the third set with a one point advantage. The team that wins two games first shall be declared the winner. Teams may play a third consolation game if a winner has already been declared and time permits.


Each team is allowed 2 – 30 second timeouts per set. Timeouts do not carryover between sets.


NOTE: If your league is labeled as Open Division or indicates no gender rules the following does not apply.

6 on 6 leagues: A woman must hit the ball before it is returned over the net, unless the ball goes over on the first hit. A gender violation will occur (side out) if this does not happen.

4 on 4 leagues: There is no requirement for a woman to hit the ball at any time.


Substitutions can only be made at the service position in the rotation, i.e. the substitute becomes the server. All substituting players must be behind the end line.

If a team illegally substitutes a player (not replaced at the service position), that team will lose their serve immediately. All players must relocate to their original position.

6 on 6 leagues: After each side out, players must rotate clockwise from the front right to back right position.

4 on 4 leagues: Players are not required to rotate positions but must rotate serves.


The ball is considered in when it touches the sand within the opposing team’s playing area, including the boundary lines.

A ball is considered out when the part of the ball which contacts the sand is completely outside the boundary line, touches any object outside the court, or touches the rope, post, net, etc., outside of the sidelines.

A team is entitled to a maximum of three hits (in addition to blocking) for returning the ball. If more are used, the team commits a 4 hit violation. Hits include unintentional hits.

A player may not hit the ball two times consecutively. The ball may touch any part of the body. The ball must be hit, not caught and/or thrown. The ball may touch various parts of the body only if they are touched simultaneously.

When a ball is set, there is no limit on how much the ball can rotate.


The following violations will result in a side out:

-       4 hit violation (see above)

-       Illegal touch (catch/throw/double contact)

-       Gender rule violation (6 on 6 leagues only)

-       Illegal substitution (see above)

-       Lift Violation - Prolonged contact between a player and the ball is known as a lift. The contact should continue in one fluid motion and the ball should not come to rest at any time in that motion.


A ball sent to the opponent’s court must travel over the net. The ball may touch the net, including on the service. A ball driven into the net may be recovered within the limits of the team’s 3 legal hits, except on the service. If the ball touches the net on a service and continues over to the opponent's side, the ball is live.

A player cannot break the plane of the net on a spike and a block. A player may go completely under the net as long as they neither touch the net nor interfere with the play. A player cannot touch the ball or an opponent in the opponent’s space before or during the opponents hit.

Contact with the net is a fault, even when a player’s momentum causes them to contact the net (excessive net faults will result in that player suspended from the game).


When the serving team wins the rally, the player who served before, serves again. When the receiving team wins the rally, it gains the right to serve.

Receiving players cannot block a serve.

The server must not touch the end line with their foot or a fault will be called.

6 on 6 leagues: When the receiving team wins the rally, they rotate before actually serving. The player moves from the front right position to the back right position to serve. Jump serves are not allowed.

4 on 4 leagues: Players do not need to rotate positions, but must rotate serves. Jump serves are allowed.


A block contact is not counted as a team hit, and a team is entitled to three hits to return the ball. The first hit after the block may be executed by any player, including the one who blocked the ball. Blocks are not allowed on a serve.



Playoff seeding will be determined by the best overall records. In the event that 2 teams are tied with the same record, head-to-head matchups will determine higher seeding whenever possible. When head-to-head matchups cannot clearly determine a higher seed, or when 3 or more teams are tied, tiebreakers will be determined in the following order:

1)    Head-to-head matchups (for 2 way ties when possible, described above)

2)    Highest team set differentials for the season

3)    Highest team total sets won

4)    Lowest team total sets lost

5)    Highest team Power Index

6)    Coin Flip


Any rules not mentioned above follow those of the USAV