Outdoor Tournament Rules


Tournament Format and Rules ClarificationsThis is information we encourage tournament directors to include with their pool sheets when they send players out. It is good for all players to be familiar with this information.


All divisions will play by current Outdoor Rules with the following clarifications. Any exceptions or alternate rule interpretations must be agreed upon between the players and Tournament Director before play begins.


  1. Plays involving finger action (hand setting) require special attention. If the player decides/intends to employ finger action (hand set), as in the cases of off-speed hit defense or setting, the action must be “clean.” The hands must act together smoothly, or a “double-hit”should be called. Sets that visibly come to rest or are re-directed are “held ball, lift, or carry” faults. If the play is defensive and reactive in nature, as in the case of receiving a hard-driven “attacked” ball, double-hit contacts, or a momentarily lifted or pushed ball are not considered faults when the attempt is one continuous motion. The indicators which should affect the official’s judgement whether the contact is reactive or not are: the speed and trajectory of the ball. A “hard-driven” ball is considered to move too fast for a deliberate decision to employ setting action. A ball that rises before it falls should NOT be considered hard-driven (e.g.: a roll shot or an upward deflection of the ball off a block or the net). A ball that hits the net or a blocker could still be considered hard-driven if the defensive play is reactive in nature because the ball is still moving at a high rate of speed.

  2. Players may attempt to hand set the ball on serve reception, however the ball must be handled cleanly, can never come to rest, be double-hit, lifted or carried. A served ball is NOT considered a hard-driven attack regardless of speed.

  3. All hand setting should be judged consistently and fairly from game to game within each division throughout the entire tournament by every officiating team. Some leniency should be granted to the Novice, and Parent-Child divisions to allow for double contacts since individuals in those divisions may still be learning the game. The B divisions are called a little tighter because the basic skills should already be acquired. The standard for setting within A divisions is even higher since players usually have much more experience.

  4. When an outdoor player uses a hand setting action and the ball lands in the opponent’s court, the trajectory of the ball must have been perpendicular to the line of the setter’s shoulders. It does not matter if the set was not intended to go over the net or the wind blew it over (A, B, and Novice grass divisions).

  5. “Open hand tipping” in outdoor volleyball is illegal. You can NOT redirect or push the ball with an open hand like indoor volleyball players. To “tip” legally, all fingers in contact with the ball must be rigid and together. Knuckles are allowed.

  6. Any contact with the net is considered a fault (in ALL grass divisions) except when the ball pushes the net into you. All grass divisions play by the old “continuation” net rule which means players may not touch the net even after the ball is dead. Player contact with the net is illegal even after terminating the ball as part of a hit or block. For short (8-meter by 8-meter) court divisions, the let serve is allowed. Coed 4’s and Triples will compete on the long courts (30 x30 ft) and the let serve is NOT allowed.

  7. If no antennae are available, the posts holding up the net outside the line boundaries are considered the antennae.

  8. Only the short court divisions will play the block as the first contact and any player may make the second contact of the ball after the block.

  9. As soon as the ball crosses the plane of the net outside the antennae it is considered a dead ball. The pursuit rule is NOT allowed in any grass division because of the type of net systems in use.

  10. A co-ed team may not participate in a women’s division, but may compete in a men’s division (boys under 14 may play in women’s divisions).

  11. Injured players may not be replaced. No substitutions will be allowed for any reason (at discretion of tournament director).

  12. The Wilson AVP® official game ball is preferred but not required if not available on your court.

  13. No refunds will be given after play has begun except for extreme extenuating circumstances approved only by the Tournament Director.

  14. During pool play, a 3-minute “on court” warm-up time is allowed.

  15. Teams change sides every 10 points in a game to 25, 7 points in a game to 21, and 5 points in a game to 15 unless each playing team agrees on a different arrangement with the officiating team BEFORE the match begins.

  16. Most divisions will participate in pool play, followed by a single-elimination tournament. Division may play a double-elimination tournament format at the Tournament Director’s discretion.

  17. Pool play match format will be designated by the Tournament Director on each pool sheet. All games will be rally score. Each match will be either 1, 2, or 3 games to 15, 21, 25, or 30 points depending on the size of your pool. All pool play games usually have a cap at 2 points greater than the listed ending score.Pools usually have three to seven teams each. At least two teams from each pool should advance to a single-elimination tournament as specified by the Tournament Director.

  18. All teams should be required to officiate. Teams must officiate when scheduled, including playoffs, or find a suitable replacement, or they may forfeit their next game or match at the Tournament Director’s discretion. Officials should:

    1. call faults and resolve disputes

    2. answer questions regarding rules (disputes with officials regarding rule interpretations should immediately come to the Tournament Director or Cloud Peak Volleyball Representative for resolution)

    3. keep the score and record the results

    4. make the final decision on all judgement call

  19. To correctly keep score for a pool, the official must write the score in the correct box on the score sheet for the teams playing each other.

    1. For team Number 1, any score that is listed in the top row (from left to right) would need to have team Number 1’s score listed FIRST.

    2. For the Number 2 team, their scores would be listed FIRST in the second row and so on.

    3. It is each player’s responsibility to make sure the match scores are recorded correctly. If they are incomplete, a forfeit may be recorded.

  20. Bring your pool sheet to the Tournament Desk immediately after play in your pool is complete.

  21. The number of teams to advance to the playoffs will be designated by the Tournament Director on each pool sheet. Ties in a pool and between pools will be decided first by game win-loss record, second by head to head game results, third by head to head points scored against, fourth by total points scored against, and lastly by a coin toss. A team will NOT be eliminated from advancing to the playoffs because of a lower point differential or coin toss. A playoff match (or two) to 15 points with NO CAP will determine who advances in this case.When seeding for the single-elimination playoff tournament placement, the 1st place teams will play against 2nd place teams from other pools and the 1st and 2nd place teams from the same pool should not be able to meet again until the tournament finals.

  22. All tournament matches will be ONE game to 25 points with NO CAP in the single-elimination tournament unless otherwise stated by the Tournament Director.

  23. Losing teams during the single-elimination tournament are responsible to officiate the following match on their court unless BOTH the competing teams can agree on some other arrangement BEFORE the match.

  24. First, Second and Third place teams in every division are each responsible to properly take down a net and clean up the trash around that court before they can claim their prizes.Please contact the Tournament Director or a Cloud Peak Volleyball Representative if you have any questions.

PDF Version of Rules



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