Like indoor volleyball, beach volleyball involves little equipment other than a court, net and ball. Beach volleyball does have certain equipment requirements that are specific to the sport, however. In official beach volleyball competitions, there are certain specifications regarding the volleyball used, the playing area and the net. Players’ uniforms are also regulated in official beach volleyball rules.
The ball used in beach volleyball is a sphere made from leather or another type of flexible synthetic material, according to the Federation Internationale de Volleyball, or FIVB. A rubber bladder is typically contained inside the volleyball. The ball is typically adorned with bright colors, weighing 260 to 280 g or 8 to 10 oz. with an internal air pressure of 0.175 to 0.225 kg per centimeters squared or 2.5 to 3.2 lbs. per square inch, says USA Volleyball. For official international competitions, the volleyball must measure 66 to 68 cm or 25.9 to 26.8 inches in circumference.
The net used in beach volleyball is typically 8.5 meters or 28 feet long, containing a padded post at either end, according to USA Volleyball. A referee stand and antenna is also usually attached to the net for official competitions. Placed in the center of the court, the net is made from 10 cm square mesh, bordered on the top and bottom with 7 to 10 cm or 2¾- to 4-inch wide canvas bands. Side bands run vertically on the net above either sideline of the court. The height of the volleyball net is 2.43 meters or about 8 feet for men and 2.24 meters or 7 feet and 4 inches for women, but the net height can vary from as low as 2.00 meters or about 6½ feet for adolescent and teenage players.
The beach volleyball court is typically made of leveled sand with all shells, rocks and other debris removed to prevent injuries to the players. The sand should be at least 40 centimeters or 15 inches deep, says USA Volleyball. A standard playing court for beach volleyball is rectangular and measures 16 meters or 26 feet, 3 inches in length, and 8 meters or 52 feet, 6 inches in width. A “free zone” surrounds the playing area, measuring 3 meters or 9 feet and 10 inches wide, and with no obstructions for at least 7 meters or about 23 feet in height. The free zone may range up to 6 meters or 19 feet, 8 inches in width (ref 3).
Beach volleyball players wear little protective equipment other than basic uniforms. Player uniforms are typically shorts and shirts or bathing suits with a distinct color and style for each team, USA Volleyball says. Competitors play in bare feet, unless the referee allows a player to wear socks. Sometimes, beach volleyball players wear knee pads and sunglasses. Hats are sometimes also permitted in beach volleyball.