3’s and 4's Specific Rules Explained

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Senior Marketing Manager

You know that feeling when you’re playing 3’s or 4’s Beach Volleyball and the other team breaks a 3’s/4’s specific rule but everyone awkwardly keeps playing until you or someone on your team finally says something like, “Was that maybe a tip?” or “I think that might have been a side set.” This can be uncomfortable, especially if the other team is unaware of these specific rules:

1. No Open Handed Tipping:

  • Players who contact the ball with one hand and are putting the ball over the net cannot use their fingertips to ‘tip’ it. This one-handed placement or redirection of the ball with the fingers is a fault. If this happens, the play should stop right away and the other team will get a point.  
  • Instead of tipping, here are a couple of the most common ways you can get the ball over the net instead:
    • Hit (i.e. spike) the ball.
    • Punch the ball with a closed fist.
    • Roll shot (using the heel or palm of your hand).
    • Although less common, you can poke the ball with locked fingers (cobra), or poke the ball with your knuckles (camel toe).

2. Sets Over the Net Must be Square to Your Body:

  • ‘Dumping’ is not allowed. If a player is going to set the ball over the net, they must contact the ball with 2 hands above the shoulders and it must be set directly forward or backward in relation to their body. 
  • A common misconception is that a player has to set the ball square in relation to the net. This is incorrect! A person can be facing the net at an angle and legally set the ball directly in front of them over the net.
  • Another common misconception is that players are not allowed to side set the ball to their own teammates. The only time you are not allowed to side set the ball is if you are sending the ball over the net. 
  • One of the most common issues I see at games is when someone sets a ball that is intended for their own player but the ball accidentally goes over the net. If the ball was not square in relation to the setter’s body, this is a violation and the other team should get a point (regardless of their intention). Although it’s unfortunate when this happens, the rule has to remain black and white. 

I hope this helps clarify a few key rules and allows you to play with confidence!