Beach volleyball, or sand volleyball Sport Special Olympic

Rules for Special Olympics VolleyballBeach volleyball, or sand volleyball, is an Olympic team sport played on sand. Like other variations of volleyball, two teams, separated by a high net, try to score points against the other by grounding a ball on the other team’s court. Competitive beach volleyball teams usually consist of two players, though recreational variations can contain up to six players.

Originating in Southern California and Hawaii, beach volleyball now receives worldwide popularity, even in countries without traditional beaches, like Switzerland.

At the international level, the most elite nations in beach volleyball competition are theUnited States, Brazil, and China, who have routinely been the most common podium winners at FIVB beach volleyball events in the 2000s. Along with Australia, these are the only countries who have been medal winners at the Summer Olympic Games.

  • The Special Olympics is a special event for many people. Not only do people with intellectual disabilities get to be a part of sports competitions in which they normally could not participate, but also their families get to see them play and be proud. Both the athletes and the families can be proud of the accomplishments. Volleyball is one of the sports during the Special Olympics.
  • Net, Ball and Court

  • Hang the net at 7 feet, 11-5/8 inches for men and co-ed volleyball teams and at 7 feet, 4-1/8 inches for all women teams. You may use a modified ball, but it should be no larger than 32 inches around and weigh no more than 8 ounces.The court for the Special Olympics should be 59 feet by 29 feet, 6 inches with a minimum of 9 feet, 10 inches on all sides. Make any adjustments necessary to the size of the court, but it should not be smaller than 50 feet by 25 feet.
  • Teams

    Have six players on the court at a time for each team. Coaches need to give a division for each member of their teams as determined by different tests during practice. The practice tests include the serve, forearm pass, spike and bump set. The coach must also mark the six best players on his roster with a star next to each name.

    Play team classification games, which must last at least five minutes or until one team earns 10 points.


  • Competitions are adapted from FIVB rules for substitutions. Substitution rules allow for unlimited individual entries by a substitute player, though only 12-team substitutions are allowed per set. An unlimited number of players are allowed to substitute into a single position. A player who is in the starting lineup can re-enter the game, but only to the same position he started in. Likewise, a substitute who has left a court may re-enter but must return to the position he previously played. Coaches can assist athletes as they move in position for substitutions.

  • Libero Player

  • Choose a libero player. Each team may have a libero player, which the coach must identify on the roster and also by giving that member of the team a different color shirt to wear. The libero player can take the place of anyone in the back row during the game, but cannot take part in any attack plays, such as spikes on the front line. The libero can change from game to game, but coaches need to notify the game officials.
  • Serving

  • Adjust the serve line if necessary by moving the line closer to the net. However, the serve line cannot be any closer to the net than 14 feet, 9 inches. If the serving team returns the ball successfully they receive a point. If the non-serving team returns the volley successfully, they rotate positions clockwise and it is their turn to serve, but they do not gain a point.In modified team competitions the game officials may set up the thee or five service rule. This means that when any player makes either three or five points on his serve, the service automatically falls to the opposing team
  • General Play

    In general play, the volleyball can be hit with any part of the body. A team cannot play the ball more than three times before sending it over the net. When a ball hits the ceiling, it is considered playable unless the ball crosses the net’s plane. Balls that hit the side or back walls are out. A ball landing on a line is considered good. Any legal hit can be used to return service. The Special Olympics Summer Rules recommend using a forearm pass to return a hard-hit serve.

    This guide is designed to help you become a better Volleyball coach.

    These links lead you to detailed information on Volleyball, including illustrations and video clips. Downloadable resources are also available at right.

    Special Olympics wishes to thank the professionals, volunteers, coaches and athletes who helped in the production of the Volleyball Coaching Guide. They have helped fulfill the mission of Special Olympics: to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people 8 years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

    Special Olympics welcomes your ideas and comments for future revisions of this guide. We apologize if, for any reason, an acknowledgement has been inadvertently omitted.

    Contributing Authors
    Aldis Berzins, Special Olympics, Inc., 1984 Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. men’s volleyball team
    Scott Buss, Special Olympics Southern California — Volleyball Sports Manager
    John Kessel, USA Volleyball — Director, Membership Development & Disabled Programs
    Daniel Leake, Special Olympics Virginia and Special Olympics, Inc. — Volleyball Technical Delegate
    Maureen Marek, Director, National Unified Volleyball Championships
    Ryan Murphy, Special Olympics, Inc.
    Joe Sharpless, Special Olympics, Inc. — Volleyball Technical Delegate
    Denise Tallon, 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games — Volleyball Sports Commissioner

    Special Thanks To the Following
    for All of Your Support
    American Sports Centers — Anaheim, CA USA — Location of Special Olympics Volleyball Video Shoot
    Floyd Croxton, Special Olympics, Inc., Athlete
    Karch Kiraly, Three-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Professional Volleyball Player
    Dave Lenox, Special Olympics, Inc.
    Paul Whichard, Special Olympics, Inc.
    Special Olympics North America
    Special Olympics Southern California
    Jesus Cabrera
    Keith Brigman
    Beckie White
    USA Volleyball
    U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team

    A special thanks to Hugh McCutcheon for his cooperation with making members of the USA National Volleyball Team available for assistance with the demonstrations used in this Guide.

    Video Clips Starring Athletes
    from Special Olympics Southern California–Orange County

    Keith Ciminski
    Clint Fink
    Jose Gonzalez
    Chris Iriarte
    Carlos Mendez
    Lilia Mendez
    Angel Mesa
    Josh Padiernos
    Ana Karina Perez
    Ramiro Prado
    Jeffrey Vargas
    Jessica Verasteugi

    Video Clips Starring Athletes  from The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team

    Ryan Millar


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