Small groups permitted to arrange socially distant training

4th June 2020

Small groups permitted to arrange socially distant training

Up to 6 volleyballers from different households can now meet to take part in outdoor exercises, drills and coaching that abide by social distancing following new guidance by the government. This is the case for volleyball, beach volleyball and sitting volleyball.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has stated that, of 1st June, people can now take part in outdoor exercise alone, with members of their household or with up to – but no more than – 5 other people from outside their household while keeping 2 metres apart at all times. Gatherings of more than 6 people are not permitted unless, for example, the group is from the same household. 

Sue Storey, Chief Executive of Volleyball England, said: “The resumption of training in these small groups marks the start of a phased return of volleyball as lockdown restrictions are lifted. Video call catchups and home training sessions have been great fun, but they aren’t as good as seeing teammates in person.  

“We are working around the clock to create a road map that paves the way for further change, in line with government advice, and will share these plans with the community once they have been finalised.  

“However, we must remain cautious and patient. I long to see the safe return of volleyball but the road ahead is a long one.” 

Can people now play 2v2 or 3v3 volleyball matches? 

No. We have interpreted these rules to conclude that standard 2v2 or 3v3 volleyball matches cannot take place while following social distancing rules. The government is also clear on this: “...playing of any games (small sided or full) is also not permitted at this time”.  

Our advice is that only recreational play between two players can take place and that, in this case, play by the net – such as blocking – should be avoided to enable both players to remain 2 metres apart.

In addition to social distancing, what measures should those taking part in group training sessions follow? 

Using a volleyball for training for up to 6 people is within the guidance, provided that everyone follows strict hand hygiene by washing their hands and their volleyball equipment before and after the session. Overall, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum, do not share towels or water bottles, and please seek instructions from the manufacturer on how equipment should be cleaned.  

Instructions for 2 of the most common makes of volleyball are listed below:

What must affiliated clubs do to ensure they continue to be covered by their Volleyball England insurance? 

Clubs must comply with government and Volleyball England guidance to remain covered. For more information on the insurance cover, click here

Can vulnerable adults and those under the age of 18 now meet with others for coaching? 

Allowing up to 6 people to meet outdoors also means we are able to advise that vulnerable adults and those under the age of 18 can now meet someone from another household for training because a third person, who must remain 2 metres from people outside of their household, can now be present for safeguarding. 

How far can I travel for outdoor exercise? 

You can travel for physical activity irrespective of distance but, ideally, you should use the nearest and most appropriate venue or outdoor area to you, to reduce the pressure on the transport network. Remember, you should not travel with someone from outside of your household unless you can follow social distancing, such as by cycling. 

Avoid meeting in groups of 6 if the area is overcrowded and if it is impossible to maintain social distancing at all times. 

What is the guidance for outdoor facility providers? 

From 13 May, outdoor sports facilities, such as beach volleyball courts, have been permitted to reopen if those responsible for them are ready to do so and they can do so safely, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines

What is Volleyball England’s advice for those planning to use an outdoor facility? 

If you visiting an outdoor facility, plan ahead to ensure it is open and appropriately prepared for visitors. The facility may have also introduced specific guidance for visitors to follow, such as online bookings or equipment not being hired out, so please check the facility's website and social media channels. If possible, hand sanitise at intervals if you touch communal surfaces and, once you’re home, remember to wash your hands.

What is the advice for indoor facilities? 

Our guidance on indoor facilities has not changed. The government was clear that its new guidance only applies to outdoor sporting activities, where the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly lower. Apart from toilets and throughways, indoor facilities should be kept closed. 

Are international athletes now able to represent England abroad? 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. We are therefore not able to support athletes that wish to compete in competitions abroad, we will continue to review and monitor this guidance as the lockdown eases. 

Has Volleyball England cancelled any further events? 

We have slightly extended the period in which we are not organising any camps, competitions or courses from 30th June to 3rd July (date inclusive). Under step 3 of the government’s plan to ease lockdown restrictions, some businesses, including leisure facilities, which have been forced to close may re-open. The earliest date on which this could happen is 4th July. 

How is Volleyball England planning for the sport’s return? 

We recently published a document outlining when the 2020/21 indoor season could begin and, subject to government guidelines, how we are planning for the fullest possible programme. 

We are also liaising with UKBT, our official beach volleyball event partner, as we plan the sport’s return. 

These are only 2 tranches of our work as we plan for volleyball’s phased return in line with government guidance. More will follow.  



We will continue to review and update our guidance as lockdown easing continues, so please check back for changes. 

Members and affiliated clubs based outside of England should heed the advice from their devolved administrations.

If you are symptomatic or living in a household with someone else who has a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection, you should remain at home. If you are classified as extremely vulnerable on health grounds, you are advised to continue staying at home to keep yourself safe and avoiding gatherings or, if individuals wish to spend time outdoors, to take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart at all times. If you have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you are a contact of a known case of coronavirus, do not exercise outside your own home or garden and do not exercise with others. 

Small groups permitted to arrange socially distant training