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Beach Volleyball History

What is the history of Volleyball? What are its origins? Where did Volleyball come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Volleyball.

Beach Volleyball History

Table of Contents


What are the basic rules of Beach Volleyball?

As the name indicates, beach volleyball is very similar to volleyball, only it is played at a beach or sand surface. A beach volleyball court is divided by a high net, over which players have to pass a volleyball. The goal is to make the ball touch the opponent's side of the court. In beach volleyball, the court is a little smaller than a regular volleyball court, much because it is harder to move in the sand. Players have three touches to pass the ball back to the opponent. If you are playing beach volleyball in a beach for fun, you can have as many players on each side as you want. However, in professional beach volleyball matches, tourneys, and in the Olympic games, beach volleyball is played in doubles.


Which Country Started Beach Volleyball?

Beach volleyball started at the American state of Hawaii, known for its paradisiac beaches. It is said that in one of those beaches, Waikiki beach, it is where the first beach volleyball court was set. It is easy to tell that beach volleyball was largely inspired by the inddor's version of the sport, which had already been invented around 20 years before Hawaians set up their court at Waikiki beach. America's tradition in the sport continued, as it spread through the ocean to the country's west coast, where it became very popular in Santa Monica, California. The sport is still very popular in the country, and american athletes tend to be in the podium at beach volleyball competitions.


Who Invented Beach Volleyball?

Since beach volleyball is derived from indoors volleyball, it can be said that who invented the sport is man who invented volleyball itself, William G. Morgan. Although Morgan is the one who created the rules of the game, he wasn't the one who set up a court in Waikiki Beach. The ones responsible for that were the members of the Outrigger Canoe Club, who wanted to play the sport in the beach. One if its members, George "Dad"Center, simply bought volleyballs and a volleyball net, and set them on the beach to play with club members. That way, the credits for inventing beach volleyball must be split between Mr. Morgan, who created the rules of the sport, and the members of the Outrigger Canoe Club, who ultimately played the sport in a beach for the first time.


When was Beach Volleyball Established?

Volleyball as a game was established in 1895 in Massachusetts. It took the game 20 years to be played in a beach for the first time, as the volleyball net was first set in Waikiki beach in 1915. After that, it didn't take a lot of time for it to be established in other places too. For a long time, the sport was played just recreationally, by people who just wanted to have a good time at the beach. In 1948, the first beach volleyball tournament was organized in Santa Monica, and from that point on, beach volleyball as a competitive sport only grew. With the sport being played all around the globe and having big tournaments with big pays for the winners, the ultimate validation came in 1996, when beach volleyball was featured as an Olympic event for the first time, in Atlanta.


After the first beach volleyball game was played, it didn't take a lot for it to become popular in the United States. In the 1930's, during the great depression, Americans would play beach volleyball, as it was a cheap way to exercise and be entertained, and so beach volleyball participation boosted during that time. Around that time, the game started being playing in different countries like Bulgaria, Latvia, and Czech Republic. The sport reached Southamerica, arriving at the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, where beach volleyball quickly spread. The city embraced the sport, and today beach volleyball is part of the city's sport culture, much like in the United States.


Being a sport that is practiced outdoors and at the beach, the countries with the most tradition are the ones with beaches and tropical climates. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean that countries with different characteristics can't have successful beach volleyball athletes. Take a look at the list of countries where beach volleyball is the most popular:

  • USA
  • Brazil
  • Australia
  • Germany
  • France

Volleyball History Key Facts and Timeline

  • 1895: William G. Morgan invented volleyball.
  • 1915: The first beach volleyball game is played at Waikiki beach in Hawaii; when the members of the Outrigger Canoe Club set up a volleyball net at the beach.
  • 1920's: The game becomes wildly popular in California, especially in Santa Monica.
  • 1930's: Beach volleyball becomes even more popular in the United States, during the great depression. The game also crosses the Atlantic and is played in places like France, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic.
  • 1947: The first doubles beach volleyball tournament is organized. That would become the main way to play competitive beach volleyball, as it is today.
  • 1950's: The first professional tournament is organized in Brazil, where the sport was becoming huge. In the United States, the first beach volleyball circuit is organized in California.
  • 1960's: Beach volleyball is huge in the United States. The sport is strongly associated with fun at the beach, and celebrities like the Beatles and even President John F. Kennedy show up to see the sport.
  • 1970's: The sport is gathering more attention from the media and the public. With that, corporate sponsors start to sponsor beach volleyball tournaments, offering prize money for the winners.
  • 1986: After becoming extremely popular in the United States and in Brazil, beach volleyball is adopted by a new country, as the Australian Pro Beach circuit is started.
  • 1987: The first beach volleyball tournament organized by the International Volleyball Federation takes place in Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1990: The International Volleyball Federation starts a beach volleyball world series.
  • 1992: The International Volleyball Federation creates a beach volleyball department inside its structure.
  • 1996: Beach Volleyball becomes an Olympic sport, dominated by Americans and Brazillians.
  • 2012: Misty May, one of the most successful beach volleyball athletes of all time retires after winning her third Olympic Gold medal in a row with her life-long partner, Kerri Walsh.


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