4-on-4 Sand Volleyball Rules | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

4-on-4 Sand Volleyball Rules

 Rule 1: Facility | Rule 2: Player Eligibility | Rule 3: Team CompositionRule 4: Equipment | Rule 5: Ground Rules | 
Rule 6: Match Time and Length | Rainout Line Information

Recent rule changes appear in italicized font.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All matches will be played at the Hawkeye Recreation Fields sand volleyball courts. Alcohol and tobacco are not permitted in the facility or in the parking lot.

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Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply.  Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully.
  2. All players must check-in with a valid, university or government-issued photo ID with the Intramural Supervisor on-duty prior to the start of each match.

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Rule 3: Team Composition

  1. Four players for each team will be on the court competing at one time and teams must be comprised of at least two males or two females with no limit to roster size.
  2. A minimum of three players must be present to start the match with the difference in gender not being greater than one (Ex: two males and one female or two females and one male).
  3. No more than two players on a team may be a member or coach of a volleyball club that plays competitively, or a former intercollegiate volleyball player at any institution. A list of current volleyball club members will be available at the Recreational Services office (E216 FH).

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Rule 4: Equipment

  1. Participants are allowed to use their own volleyballs if desired as long as both teams are able to agree on the match ball. A ball can be provided if needed.

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Rule 5: Ground Rules

  1. The winner of a coin toss will determine his/her choice of team area and service. The winner of the coin toss will serve the first set and the third set, if needed. The loser of the coin toss will serve the second set. After each set of a match, the teams will change playing areas. (In the third set, teams will change sides once a team has scored eight points.)
  2. The Serve:
    • The server shall stand with both feet behind the rear boundary line. There are no restrictions as to how the ball may be served except that it must be clearly hit, not thrown or pushed. Side out is declared when a served ball hits the net and does not pass over. A ball that contacts the net and continues over constitutes a legal serve.
    • Blocking and spiking the ball on the serve is illegal.
  3. Substitutions: All substitutions will be made in the serving (right back) position, and the substitute will immediately become the server. All substitutes must make one complete rotation. A player late in arriving for a team of less than four can only rotate in when his/her team has the serve, and must enter in the serving position.
  4. Rotation:  All players are required to play every position on the court as they rotate. Players will rotate clockwise to the next position after their team sides out. Each player must play all four positions including two in the front row and two in the back row, or one in the back row if a team is playing with less than four players. If facing the net, the serving position will always be in the back row on the right.
  5. Any player may contact the ball with any part of the body, above or below the waist.
  6. A ball touching any part of a boundary line is in.
  7. It is permissible to run out-of-bounds to play a ball, however, a ball that has crossed into another court may not be played.
  8. Players are not permitted to scoop, hold, or throw the ball. The ball may not visibly come to rest on the player’s hands, fingers or any other part of the body.
  9. A player shall not make successive contacts of the ball unless he/she has blocked a spike at the net. One person may play the ball twice during a volley but not twice in succession.
  10. A ball, other than a serve, may be recovered from the net provided the player avoids contact with the net and does not catch or hold the ball.
  11. The ball must always be returned over the net by the third contact, unless a block is the initial contact in which case the ball must be returned by the fourth contact.
  12. Spikes are legal.
  13. Blocking:
    • A successful block is accomplished when either the ball rebounds off the hands of the blocker and directly back into the opponent's court or deflects off the hands in such a way that the blocker's team may play the ball.
    • An attempt to block does not constitute a block unless the ball is contacted during an attempt.
    • The team which has contacted the ball in an attempt to block shall have the right to three more contacts with the ball in order to return it to the opponent’s side if the ball falls in their area.
  14.  Net Play:
    • A player may reach under the net as long as he/she does not interfere with an opponent’s attempt to play the ball.
    • A player may reach over the net to complete a spike which was begun on the player’s own side of the net. 
    • A player may reach over the net to block, but not interfere with the opposing team’s play.
    • A player may never touch the net.
  15.  It is the winning team’s responsibility to report the scores of the match to the Intramural Supervisor on site and check to confirm the time of its next match.

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Rule 6: Match Time and Length

  1. The first team to win the best 2-of-3 sets wins the match.  All sets will be played to 15 points with rally scoring, and a team must win by two.
  2. If inclement weather occurs while matches are in progress, the decision to continue or stop will be made by the Intramural Sports Supervisor.
  3. Should a postponement be necessary due to inclement weather, the Intramural staff will contact team captains.  The decision whether or not to postpone play will be made by the Intramural Administrative staff by 12:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Participants may call the Rainout Hotline at (319) 353-3000.
  4. All matches will start at their designated times. If a team is not ready to play within 10 minutes of the match’s scheduled start time, the match will be declared a forfeit.

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RainOut Line - (319) 333 - 7032 Ex. 3

If there is inclement weather and outdoor sports are scheduled, call our RainOut Line for the most up-to-date information on the status of games.

You can download the RainOut Line app in the Apple App Store or Google Play. You can use this app to check the status of Intramural Sports contests right from your smartphone! Once you have downloaded the app, search "Recreational Services" and select "The University of Iowa Recreational Services." It's that easy!