GENERAL RULES for all leagues

  • Be respectful to your ref! They are normal people like you showing up and doing their best to provide a fun environment! They will give a few minutes grace period if your teammates are running late but will try to keep their court on time to be respectful of the games after you. They will help instruct the newer teams in the differences in sand volleyball rules and call violations to help them learn. But all refs are not the same, meaning they will each be trained and make calls to the best of their ability. If you have a big problem with a ref, please take it up with a manager.
  • Each team is permitted one 30-second timeout per set, but they do NOT accumulate. (Medical issues do NOT require a timeout).
  • No intentionally delaying the game.
  • No unsportsmanlike conduct (see “UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT” for more details).
  • No smoking or tobacco products on the sand courts or near the entrances of the building.
  • No outside food, drinks, or coolers.
  • Animals are NOT permitted inside the facility, which is the whole fenced-in area outside. Exceptions for service animals only.
  • We love kids! However, our staff are NOT your babysitters. Please do not allow young children to be unsupervised while you are playing. We do not allow kids to play with small sand toys near the courts (even if the court is not being played on) because they often get buried and cause a painful hazard when stepped on by players. Also, please do not allow your child to run across the courts while teams are playing. We offer a basketball court or the grass area for kids to play


  • A player may only use the sand covered area or grass. Once player steps on the concrete, the ball is dead.
  • A player may play the ball all the way up to the boundary of the next court over but NOT cross into that court (even if that court does not have an active game going).
  • A player may serve from the sand ONLY. A player may utilize the grass area for their approach but must make contact with the ball while in the sand.
  • Any part of the net inside the metal/cement poles (including the wooden dowels) is deemed playable.
  • Any contact between the ball and the metal or cement part of the ref stand is instantly a dead ball and ruled out of bounds.



  • Players are allowed to get subs for both league games and tournament nights. However, please be respectful and choose players of similar ability and level for the league. At least HALF of your team is required to be present on tournament night to be eligible to play.
  • You may only play on 1 team per league on tournament night UNLESS you paid to play on both teams. (Ex: if you play for team 10 and lose, but team 4 asks you to sub with them for the next round, you can NOT since it is in the same league).
  • Coed quads teams may play with as few as 2 players: 1 guy and 1 girl. You cannot have more than 2 guys on the court at one time and you can have as many girls on the court as you’d like.
  • You may play down 1 level but NOT 2 levels (Example: a true C1 player can play in C2 but NOT C3).
  • Coed sixes teams may play with 4 or 5 players present. If there are only 4 players, there can be 2 girls and 2 guys or 3 girls and 1 guy. If there are only 5 players, there must be at least 2 (or more) girls. No more than 3 guys can be on the court at one time. You must alternate guy-girl-guy-girl to the best of your ability. No 2 guys can be next to each other unless playing with 3 guys and only 2 girls.



  • Each team will be allowed a 5-minute warm up starting when the court becomes available, or 5 minutes before game time whichever is later. If the court is running more than 10 minutes behind, the ref may decide to wave your 5 minute right to a warm up in order to catch up (for the benefit of all teams for the remaining of the night).
  • Scheduled playing time is 55 minutes. If by 10 minutes past the start of the game a team does NOT have enough players to field a team, that team will forfeit one set. If by 15 minutes past the start of the game a team still does NOT have enough players to field a team, the whole match will be forfeited. (On tournament night the forfeit times are reduced to 5 and 10 minutes respectively.)
  • Teams MUST start after their 5 minute warmup is completed if they have the minimum required players.


  • All leagues (doubles, quads, and sixes) matches are played 3 games to 21 straight. You do NOT have to win by 2.
  • Tournament matches are played best 2 out of 3 games. The first 2 games are played to 21 straight and the 3rd game if needed is played to 15 straight



  • Only sixes teams must rotate clockwise upon siding out for the serve. All other leagues are allowed to stay in whatever formation they would like, as long as all players are rotated properly for the serve.
  • In sixes, back row players may NOT attack a ball at the net. (Reach above the net while standing or jumping from in front of the 10 foot line. Obviously in sand, this “line” is imaginary and will be at the ref’s discretion).
  • If a player enters after the game after it has begun, the new player enters as the next possible server if all other players have served (prioritizing gender rules).



  • Foot Faults – On the serve, your foot cannot contact the line or go under the line
  • A player may only stand/jump from behind the end line and within the side lines when serving.
  • A player may serve from the sand ONLY. A player may utilize the grass area for their approach but must make contact with the ball while in the sand.
  • A serve must be performed by tossing the ball (or resting it in the non-serving hand) and contacting the ball with only one hand/arm. The ball can NOT be thrown, kicked, or passed over with 2 hands/arms as a serve.
  • A server may drop the ball after toss to redo their serve attempt once per rotation (if a serve contact was NOT made).
  • A server has 5 seconds to perform their serve once the whistle is sounded by the referee.



  • The ball may be played off any part of the body as long as it is NOT lifted/thrown.
  • Serves must be received with a single contact of either a single body part or 2 hands/arms connected. If the ref feels that the hands were not connected and hit both hands at different times, a fault will be called.
  • The serve may NOT be blocked or attacked. Attacking the serve is performed when the ball is contacted ABOVE the top of the net and hit back towards the serving side with a downward trajectory. This does NOT mean the player has to jump for a penalty to be called.
  • The ball can NOT be double contacted unless it is considered a hard-driven ball (ref’s discretion).
  • For sixes leagues ONLY, you may open-hand tip (using the finger pads/tips to contact the ball) as an attack. You cannot however throw (prolonged contact) the ball.
  • For all quads and doubles leagues, open-hand tipping is NOT permitted. A player may use their knuckles instead.
  • NO lifts, carries or throws are permitted (ref’s discretion based on level).
  • When two teammates touch the ball simultaneously, it is counted as two hits (with the exception of blocking), and neither player is permitted to touch the ball again if there is a 3rd hit remaining.


hand sETTING

  • Serves may NOT be received with a hand set
  • Hand setting is allowed in all leagues but may NOT be double-contacted or lifted.
  • Hand sets must come out of your hands clean, which means little forward/backward rotation and little/no sideways rotation. The tightness level at which sets are called varies between league levels, so check your specific league for how many rotations your league allows.
  • You must be facing squared forwards or backwards when hand setting the ball clean over the net. If a ball is hand set over sideways or NOT square to the direction you are facing, a fault will be called (only exception is if there is wind).



  • You cannot have any contact with the net inside the antenna.

         Exception: when the ball is driven into the net and the net touches a player, no fault is committed.

         Exception: A player touches the net outside the antenna to stabilize themselves.

  • You may go under the net, provided there is no interference or contact with the opposing team.
  • If the ball is down and a player illegally contacts the net as a result of a play, the fault is called.
  • When two opponents touch the ball simultaneously over the net (joust) and the ball remains in play, the team receiving the ball is entitled to another three hits. If such a ball goes “out,” it is the fault of the team on the opposite side.
  • In blocking, a player may cross the plane of the net ONLY if the opposing team has finished their 3rd hit. If only 1-2 hits have occurred (ex: an overpass or an attack coming on a second hit), the blocker may only stay even with the plane of the net until contact with the ball is made.
  • A player may NOT reach over the net to attack a ball that is completely on the opponent’s side.



  • A player interferes with the opponent’s play while going under the net into the opponent’s space.
  • If a ball from another court or other foreign object interferes with the play at hand, the play is immediately stopped and a redo is called. Refs will NOT stop the play if they feel a ball is not interfering with the play.
  • A player may NOT run under/around the net with the intent to play a ball on the opposing side.



  • (Verbal warning on first offense)
  • (Removal from court on second offense)
  • Participants must NOT refute or dispute a referee’s decision. (Clarification may be asked by the team captain).
  • Participants must refrain from using actions aimed at influencing the decisions of referees or covering up faults committed by their team.
  • Offensive conduct: Players must NOT use defamatory or insulting words or gestures including any action expressing contempt.
  • Aggression: Players must NOT engage in an actual physical attack or aggressive or threatening behavior (IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM COURT – REFS WILL CONTACT A MANAGER IMMEDIATELY).
  • If a player or team gets ejected from a game due to unsportsmanlike conduct or inappropriate behavior, league fees will NOT be refunded and that player/team will no longer be allowed to play at Cincinnati Sand in the future.

Forfeiting Games

  • If a team cannot play a certain night, please notify us by email ahead of time so we can make proper arrangements to notify the other team.
  • If a team NO CALL/ NO SHOWS they will be marked as a forfeit and lose all 3 games of each match they didn’t show for.
  • If a team NO CALL/ NO SHOWS on consecutive weeks, that team will be blocked from playing any future games and no refunds will be given.


Specific rules for DOUBLES Leagues

  • Doubles games are self-reffed. This means each team is required to call their OWN violations. If you feel that your opponent is not being accountable, your team captain may politely intervene to discuss fouls called or uncalled. We rely on your spirit of sportsmanship and honesty to keep the matches pleasant for all. If there is a dispute, please re-serve the point.
  • In coed doubles, males must serve to the half of the court with the other male. (One redo is permitted per serve if the ball lands on the incorrect side of the court. This does NOT include balls that land out).
  • In doubles, a block is considered a hit.
  • Any ball played over the net must stay within both antennae. If a ball touches either antennae, it is a fault.        

B Division – Doubles & Quad Leagues

Very Competitive

• Tight set calls,  under 1 1/2 forward rotations and NO sideways rotation

• Controlled passing

• Almost always attempt 3 hits


C & D Division – Quad Leagues

Competitive Recreational

• Looser set calls, under 2 forward rotation and very little sideways rotation

• Attempts multiple hits during a volley

• Attempted controlled passing

• Double contacts will be called


C & D Division – Sixes Leagues


• Loosest set calls, up to 3 forward rotations and 1 sideways rotation

• 3 hits are not common during a volley

• Excessive double contact will be called


*NEW* Just For Fun League – Sixes

Purely Recreational

• For teams who don’t want many things called at all

• Players are allowed to receive a serve with a set (or hands apart)

• Great league for new work teams, church teams, and other groups that have never played before



*If your team continues to win your league or a manager feels your team needs to play in a higher or lower level, they have the right to require you to move up or down the next session.