Beach Volleyball Betting and Sports Guide

womens beach volleyball iconWe’ve written about volleyball as an overall sport elsewhere on the site, so you might want to check that page out if you’re interested in the sport more generally. Beach volleyball is a more specific version of the overall sport of volleyball, so we’ll be talking about it in those more specific terms here. It is, as the name suggests, the sport of volleyball but played on a beach. It involves two teams taking each other on by hitting a ball backwards and forwards over a net, trying to force a mistake out of the opposition in order to win points.

Unlike traditional volleyball, which sees the teams made up of six players each, beach volleyball has two players on each team. Points are won by getting the ball to hit the ground on the opponent’s side of the court and within the boundaries, by seeing the opposition hit the ball out of player or by the opposite team hitting the ball into the net. There are other ways of winning points, but they’re most common ones. The team that wins the point also wins the serve, with the person serving changing each time the receiving team wins a rally.

Best Place To Bet On Beach Volleyball


You wouldn't naturally out BetVictor and Beach Volleyball together.  BetVictor are a professional serious bookie that are usually about the traditional stuff.  They are however very good for beach volleyball.

They have outright prices for the bigger events like the IVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and the World Tour Finals well in advance of others.  They also have better prices compared to others, BetVictor don't use the excuse that it is a less popular market to increase margins so they get full marks for that.

In-play they also have great stats and more lines than competitors.

T&Cs Apply, 18+,, #ad

How To Bet On Beach Volleyball

mens beach volleyball match at the olympicsIf you’re a fan of placing bets on random sports then you’ll almost certainly already know that doing so is quite tricky with the more obscure sports. You’ll be able to bet on the most standard markets regardless of the bookmaker that you’ve chosen to place your wagers with, including the outright winners of tournaments and match betting.

If you’ve like to place some more specific bets, such as on how many points there’ll be in a set or what the Correct Score of a match will be, then you’ve got two choices: find a bookie that specialises in beach volleyball or request a bet from your bookmaker of choice directly.

Don’t let that put you off betting on the gold medal winner of any given tournament, though, because you can usually find some good value in the market if you do your research first.

The History Of Beach Volleyball

William George Morgan

beach volleyball stadiumBeach volleyball is simply a variant of volleyball, which was created in 1895 by a physical education instructor called William George Morgan. That its original name was Mintonette tells you one of the crucial factors about volleyball in its more formative years – it was based on the game of badminton, which is why the nets look similar. Morgan was friends with James Naismith,

who had invented basketball and, ironically given the extreme physical nature of the game that we know today, Morgan originally intended volleyball to be a less vigorous sport than basketball that older people could play.

The Beach Version’s Early Years

beach volleyball net

The exact beginnings of beach volleyball aren’t known, though it is widely believed that it was created on Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach in 1915. George David “Dad” Center was a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club based at the beach and put a net up on the beach, allowing people to play the game of volleyball on the beach for the first recorded occasion. It was in Santa Monica in California that the game began to progress, however. New jetties were installed on the beach there, which created more specific areas that the public could use for their enjoyment.

That was in 1920 and soon permanent nets began to appear on the beach. Soon the game began to spread to different areas of the beach, including in the private beach clubs that dotted the waterfront in Santa Monica. By 1922 official beach volleyball clubs had begun to be formed and within two years the various clubs were playing games against each other. In the early years of the sport’s development it mostly followed the same rules as indoor volleyball, meaning that the teams were made up of six players on each side.

The Modern Game Develops

spanish beach volleyball player wins a point and celebratesThe idea of the game of beach volleyball differing from its indoor cousin is widely credited to Paul ‘Pablo’ Johnson, who was a member of the Santa Monica Athletic Club. The story goes that one day there were only four people present to play a game, so Johnson decided to see how it would work with two players on each team instead of six. In the traditional game of volleyball height was seen as an important factor, but in games where there were only two players on a team that height advantage could be negated if one of the players was quick and agile.

Soon this new two-man variation of volleyball began to develop in popularity, soon spreading to the public courts around the Santa Monica area. Games that were predominantly recreational in nature continued to have more players in the teams, but the official game of beach volleyball soon became limited to having two players on each team. The inexpensive nature of the game meant that it grew in popularity throughout the United States of America, particularly when the Great Depression struck the country during the 1930s and money became an issue for people.

Tournaments Become Popular

beach volleyball match in romeAs the 1930s grew into the 1940s, doubles games were popular enough to warrant tournaments. The first official tournament that offered a prize for beach volleyball players took place in Los Angeles in 1948. The winners were given a case of Pepsi as their prize. The tournaments became more and more popular to such an extent that by the 1960s there was a call to instigate a professional volleyball league in Santa Monica. Whilst that one wasn’t a success, another one was held in France and proved to be popular, if for no other reason than the prize had been improved from a case of Pepsi to 30,000 Francs.

As indicated by the French tournament, the game had begun to spread around the world and by the 1950s it had hit the home of beach sports, Brazil. The tournament there was sponsored by a newspaper publishing company, ensuring that it didn’t struggle for publicity. Not to be outdone, the Americans soon redoubled their efforts to ensure it was seen as the true home of beach volleyball and that culminated in the first Manhattan Beach Open volleyball tournament taking place in 1960. That grew in prestige over coming months to such an extent that it would eventually earn the nickname of ‘the Wimbledon of beach volleyball’.

The Sport Becomes More Popular

players shake hands in womens olympic beach volleyball matchThere were many moments that saw beach volleyball’s popularity grow as the years passed. In 1950, for example, President Harry Truman’s staff members were photographed playing a game on the beach at Florida’s Key West resort. In the 1960s another President, John F. Kennedy, attended a tournament and gave the burgeoning sport a new found sense of prestige. Yet perhaps one of the key moments occurred when The Beatles turned up in the US and tried to play a game. After all, what better advertisement for a four person sport could there be than the most popular foursome in the entire world getting involved in a game?

The ever-growing sense of popularity surrounding the sport hit its zenith in 1974 when 4,000 fans of the sport turned up to the San Diego Sports Arena to watch Fred Zuelich and Dennis Hare take on Ron Von Hagen and Matt Gage in a match for the $1500.00 World Indoor Two-Man Volleyball Championship, which was sponsored by Winston Cigarettes. Zuelich and Hare won the match, with the latter going on to write ‘The Art of Beach Volleyball’, which was the first ever book on the subject. Beach volleyball could no longer be viewed as little more than a recreational distraction played by sun-tan chasing people on the beaches of Santa Monica.

The Game Turns Professional

diving for the ball in a mens beach volleyball gameThe development of beach volleyball as a sport reached its culmination in 1976 when the first professional tournament was held at California’s Will Rogers State Beach. That was the Olympia World Championship of Beach Volleyball, which was organised by Volleyball magazine’s David Will and offered the winners, Greg Lee and Jim Menges, $2,500 from a $5,000 total purse.

Volleyball magazine continued to host the event, eventually moving it to Redondo Beach in California after Wilk had joined forces with Craig Masuoka and formed a new sports promotion company called Event Concepts. In the years that followed the sport of beach volleyball’s popularity grew exponentially until the 1980s when high-profile players saw more fans coming to it than ever before. Arguably the culmination of this popularity was the 1996 addition of it the Summer Olympics’ official roster of sports.

How The Game Is Played

beach volleyball match from aboveAs with other forms of the sport, beach volleyball is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, which publishes the Official Beach Volleyball Rules every four years. The FIVB both approves the rules and provides a framework for how the game should be played Internationally. As you might imagine, the rules have developed over the years to see alterations to both the size of the court and the way that points could be scored.

There are two players on each team and substitutions are not allowed. Players have to be within the court when the ball is served, with the exception to that being the player doing the serving. Unlike in traditional volleyball, there are no set positions that players need to occupy.

Points are scored when the following happens:

  • The ball hits the floor in the opposition’s section of the court
  • The opposition hits the ball out of play
  • The opposite team commits a foul
  • The opposing team is given a penalty

In order to be out of play the entirety of the ball has to hit the ground outside of the court, with the ball being in if any part of it touches the line that surrounds the court. It is also out if it strikes a player outside of the court who is not one of the players.

The ball must cross the net within the lateral boundaries and over the line of the net on the serve, not under it. If it doesn’t do so then the non-serving team will be awarded a point. Each set requires a team to win 21 points in order to win it, gaining a 2-point advantage at the end. If the two teams are within 2 points of each other as the set approaches its climax then it keeps going until one team is 2 points clear. The final set of a match is played to 15 points, with the winning team needed to win 2 sets to be declared the victors.

Each team is allowed three hits in total to get the ball back over the net and if they take a fourth hit then a fault will be called. Similarly a fault is declared if the same player hits the ball twice in succession. Players are not allowed to touch the net when playing the ball.

The teams must change ends every 7 points and every 5 points if it’s the deciding set. Points can be won at any stage, irrespective of which team is serving.

The Equipment

beach volleyball man serving close upIn essence, the equipment used in beach volleyball is relatively simple in nature. There is a a ball and a net. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • According to FIVB rules, the ball used in beach volleyball has to be made of water resistant material that can survive being used in outdoor conditions. It needs to be spherical in nature and have a circumference of between 66 and 68 centimetres. It should weight between 260 and 280 grams, boasting an inside pressure of 0.175 to 0.222 kilograms per square centimetre.
  • The net should be 8.5 metres long by 1 metre wide, with the top of the net standing 2.43 metres above the centre of the court in the men’s game and 2.24 metres in the women’s game.
  • Each side of the net has an antenna that is 1.8 metres long and 20 millimetres in diameter attached to it. They are considered to be part of the net and stand at 80 centimetres in height, making up the lateral boundary of where the ball is allowed to cross within

The Court

beach volleyball arena in romeWhilst not technically part of the equipment used, the court is the other crucial part of a volleyball game. It is rectangular in nature and is made up on sand. The court’s measurements are 16 metres long by 8 metres wide, with a minimum of 3 metres clearance on the outside. There should be a clearance overhead of at least 7 metres.

The sand should be as level as it’s possible to get it, with any hazards and obstacles that could cause injury removed from it. The net sits exactly in the middle of the court, resulting in it being broken into two even halves. The court is denoted by two side lines and two end lines, which are 5 centimetres in width.

The Major Beach Volleyball Competitions

Tournament Information
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour This is the top-level tour that is organised by the FIVB, having first taken place in 1989 for men and 1992 for women. As the name suggests, it is an international tournament that sees tens of individual tournament take place throughout the year and contribute towards the Tour’s overall points total
Beach Volleyball at the Summer Olympics Arguably the most prestigious event in the sport, beach volleyball has been taking place at the Summer Olympics since 1996 as an official sport. It was a demonstration sport in 1992 and winning the Olympic Gold in beach volleyball is considered to be the highest honour
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The double-gender world championship for the sort, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships have been taking place every two years since 1997. It sits alongside the World Tour and the Olympics as one of the sport’s most important events
Manhattan Beach Open Given the nickname of the ‘Wimbledon of beach volleyball’, the Manhattan Beach Open has been taking place annually at Manhattan Beach in California since 1960. It started off as an amateur event but is exclusively for professionals nowadays

Beach Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in countries where the weather is good enough to accommodate games. With competitions being broken down into international, national and regional levels, it’s no surprise to learn that there are countless different tournaments worthy of the name.

Some are obviously seen as being more important than others, though, so above we look at the key ones you can watch and bet on.