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How to build a Sand Court

The days of playing sand volleyball on courts constructed with beach sand, wood posts, and loose nets are gone. As the NCAA authorizes new programs across the country, colleges, high schools and recreation centers are building official sand volleyball courts with net systems that provide safe play, adjustable net height, and Olympic-level net tension.

We are frequently asked what steps are required to build a safe and competitive sand volleyball or beach volleyball court. The photos below show the step-by-step process of installation on the Tarleton State University campus.

These materials are general guidelines. If you would like more information about court design and construction, contact your sales rep.

1. Locate the Court
  FIVB regulations require sand volleyball courts for doubles play to measure 52’6” by 26’3” with a surrounding free zone of 9’10.” After selecting a location that supports this size, it is typically suggested that the court orientation be set so that the net runs east to west. That will help avoid morning and evening sun directly in the eyes of one team. You may also consider how nearby buildings and shadows impact play. Electric supply and fixtures may be added to your plan to allow for night time lighting.

2. Frame the Court

  The next step is to choose a material to frame the court area. Tarleton State University chose concrete to surround its court. Other facilities have stacked rows of 2’’ by 6’’ treated lumber to create a perimeter to contain the court foundation and sand layers. Wood is less expensive, but it must be replaced on a frequent basis.

3. Address Drainage Needs

  Proper grading of the earth and/or installing a substrate below the sand will allow water to flow away from the court.
The drainage point should lead away from the court, so water is not trapped between the court and any inclined viewing sides.

4. Select a Net Support System

  Next, you must decide how you will anchor your nets. Sand volleyball net systems range from dangerous, outdated wooden posts to today’s lightweight multi-setting systems. We advise the selection of a net system that has a solid anchoring system and multiple net heights to adapt — not only for men’s and women’s heights, but also for gradual sand loss. Our new Senoh Sand Volleyball Net System represents a totally new design from the ground up, providing the safest, most durable and weather-resistant equipment for outdoor sand volleyball competition.

5. Install Upright Support Anchors

  Sports Imports also suggests installing permanent sand anchors, which bolt directly into cement piers set safely below the sand. Anchors provide a solid base to eliminate upright deflection and reduce movement caused by seasonal temperature changes. Piers and anchors should be set so that uprights are at least 28” outside each sideline to provide an appropriate safety barrier. Sports Imports’ anchor design allows easy adjustment for settling gradually. The sleeve can also open to remove the upright or clean out sand if needed. Sand volleyball courts sometimes use less permanent bases or sleds below the sand. These bases offer the ability to move the net system if needed, but they tend to slide around, negatively impacting court dimensions, net height and tension.

6. Spread Gravel Layer

When the upright supports have been constructed, it is recommended that a layer of gravel be installed as a base material. Gravel helps with drainage and maintains a solid stable foundation for the sand.

7. Lay Landscaping Fabric

  A layer of landscaping fabric, installed over the gravel, allows drainage and prevents stones from mixing with the volleyball sand to maintain a soft playable surface.

8. Selecting and Spreading Sand

  Sand is the defining aspect of the sand volleyball or beach volleyball court. And not all sand is alike. Contractor sand may be less expensive, but you may find that the decreased cost does not compensate for a compacted playing surface. Reputable volleyball sand providers will explain the best sand options for your location and climate. The Federation of International Volleyball recommends that sand be between 12” to 18” deep, free of debris and neither packs nor produces dust. Light-colored sands are suggested because they absorb minimal heat.

9. Install Boundary Markers, Uprights and Net

  The final step of building a sand volleyball court is installing the equipment. Boundary markers should contrast with the color of the sand and be placed inside of the court dimensions. Boundary anchors should be buried to prevent injury. Uprights and nets should be installed and adjusted to the same height settings as indoor volleyball. Sports Imports’ equipment is designed specifically for sand and offers a number of features — from multiple height adjustments and easy-open anchors, to reverse sleeve design and weather-resistant nets.