Indoor, beach & outdoor volleyball net heights, rules, sets & systems

As the literal dividing line between two teams on court, the volleyball net is an area where many key on-court battles take place, as well as being one of the two key physical pieces of apparatus required to set up a court (the other, of course, being the ball). As with most sports, there are specific regulations governing volleyball net heights, rules & violations, and systems, that you need to know whether you’re a player or not. Here’s what you need to know.

Volleyball net heights quick links

Types of Volleyball Nets & Systems

Indoor Volleyball Nets

Your typical indoor volleyball net system comes with uprights made from either carbon, aluminium or steel. The net itself can be either nylon or polyester, and is woven to have 10cm x 10cm holes. As nets are 10m x 1m, this means that volleyball nets each contain 1000 holes!

Beach Volleyball Nets

As with other outdoor volleyball nets, beach nets need to be weather resistant, so they often come coated with tubular steel or anodised aluminium. While the main body of the net is made out of the same material as an indoor net, the tape across the top of the net is often different, being made of ultraviolet and mould-resistant vinyl – again, to protect from the elements.

Outdoor Volleyball Nets

Outdoor volleyball nets tend to be the same as beach nets in terms of material, because the face similar everyday strains.

Pool Volleyball Nets

Pool nets and systems need to be far more water resistant than with other nets, so the poles are generally either PVC or stainless steel, with weights to hold them down. The net is similar to that of outdoor volleyball, with a mildew-resistant covering to the tape.

Sitting Volleyball Nets

As it is played indoors, the sitting volleyball net and system is the same as the indoor system, albeit on a smaller scale.

Regulation Volleyball Net Heights

So, how tall is a volleyball net anyway? Well, it’s not as easy to answer as people might think. With there being so many variations of volleyball, there are different rules and guidelines governing every type. The one consistency is that the height in the middle of the net must be consistent with the height at either edge, with just a 2cm variation allowed. Other than that though, the heights differ by sport type, gender and even age within each gender.

Beach Volleyball Net Heights

According to the official FIVB beach volleyball rules and regulations the following volleyball net heights apply:

  • Women – 7 feet 4 1/8 inches / 2.24 metres
  • Men – 7 feet 11 5/8 inches / 2.43 metres
  • Junior / Youth / School – dependent on their age but remains the same for both boys and girls:
    • 16 years and under – 7 feet 4 inches / 2.24 metres
    • 14 years and under – 6 feet 11 inches / 2.12 metres
    • 12 years and under – 6 feet 7 inches / 2.00 metres

Indoor Volleyball Net Heights

According to the official FIVB indoor volleyball rules and regulations the following volleyball net heights apply:

  • Women – 7 feet 4 1/8 inches / 2.24 metres
  • Men – 7 feet 11 5/8 inches / 2.43 metres
  • Junior / Youth / School – FIVB don’t appear to define heights for these age groups in their current official indoor rules & regulations guidebook so these are taken from USA Volleyball’s Officials Training guide:
    • 15 – 18 years old female – 7 feet 4 1/8 inches / 2.24 metres
    • 15 – 18 years old male – 7 feet 11 5/8 inches / 2.43 metres
    • 13 / 14 years old – 7 feet 4 1/8 inches / 2.24 metres
    • 11 / 12 years old – 7 feet / 2.13 metres
    • 10 years and under female – 6 feet 6 inches / 1.98m
    • 10 years and under male – 7 feet / 2.13 metres

Snow Volleyball Net Heights

According to the official FIVB snow volleyball rules and regulations the following volleyball net heights apply:

  • Women – 7 feet 4 1/8 inches / 2.24 metres
  • Men – 7 feet 11 5/8 inches / 2.43 metres

Sitting Volleyball Net Heights

According the International Paralympic Committee, the sitting volleyball net heights are:

  • Women – 3 feet 5 inches / 1.05 metres
  • Men – 3 feet 9 inches / 1.15 metres

Volleyball Net Rules and Violations

Now, the main purpose of the net is obviously to provide a minimum height at which the ball must travel to make it to the opponent’s side. If the ball goes into or under the net, that’s it – point over. But that’s not the only rule that concerns the net in volleyball. Here are the top 3 net rules you need to know.

1. Blocking over the Net

Blocking is one of the most effective forms of defence in volleyball, and the best blockers are extremely athletic to be able to generate the height on the jump to nullify opposition attacks. One of the most effective blocking methods is achieved by putting your hands over the net on to the opponent’s side, to block the ball on the way up. This is perfectly legal in all forms of the game – so long as you don’t touch the net with any part of your body, either while on the ground, or mid-jump.

2. Touching the Net

If you’re part of active play, then touching the net in volleyball is a big no-no; you’ll automatically forfeit the point. However, there is nothing wrong with touching the net as long as you aren’t interfering with play. This is where a good referee comes in handy.

There are sometimes scenarios in which two players, one from either team, touch the net at the same time. This happens most frequently in a blocking situation. In these instances, if the referee can’t determine who the first offender was, the ball is declared dead and the point is replayed.

3. Foot under the Net

You can put your arms and hands over it, but what about putting your foot under the net? Well, again, the answer is that you can put your foot under the net in volleyball, but again you need to be careful not to make contact with or interfere with an opposing player. In addition, it’s best to keep your foot in the air because if you put your foot down, some of it must still be in contact with the centre line or your side of the court. If your foot is completely grounded in your opponent’s territory, you lose the point.

The only variation to this is in beach volleyball, where you can run under the net and hit the ball back to your side of the court, without any part of your body needing to remain on your side. Again, you need to take care not to physically interfere with an opponent. The reason for this rule being more liberal in beach volleyball is a simple numbers game: fewer players, more space to make a dash without risking interfering with play!

So, now you know everything you need to know about the role of the net in volleyball. Now get out there and practise your blocking!