What is the history of volleyball? What are its origins? Where did volleyball come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of volleyball.
Volleyball is a team sport in which the aim of the game is to successfully hit the ball over the net such that the opposing team fails to return it. While different variations of volleyball exist (i.e. beach volleyball which is generally played as a 2-on-2 sport), the most common version involves six players per team, with three situated in front and three positioned towards the back of the court.
Teams are allowed a maximum of three hits to get the ball over the net. No player is permitted to hit the ball twice consecutively. In other words, if a player pops the ball into the air, another teammate must first make contact with the ball before that player is eligible to hit it again.
In order to put the ball into play, one team must serve the ball to the other team. A player from the serving team uses an overhand motion to strike the ball and send it over the net. Serving rights switch only when the non-serving team manages to win a point. If the serving team wins a point, they continue to serve. If the returning team wins the point, they gain control of the next serving opportunity. Each time the serve switches over from one team to the other, each player on the team that has just gained the right to serve rotates one spot in a counter-clockwise direction.
Volleyball games are untimed and continue until one team manages to score 25 points while winning by a margin of at least two points. For example, if the score is 25-24, the leading team must score a point in order to gain a two-point advantage and win what is known as a set. Each set consists of an individual 25-point game, and the team that ultimately wins the match must win three out of a total of five played sets.
The earliest known version of volleyball was established in the United States in 1895. More specifically, the game was created in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The YMCA that served the city is widely considered to be the birthplace of volleyball, as the first recorded games took place at this venue towards the tail end of the 19th century.
Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan, a New York native who found himself working at the aforementioned YMCA in Holyoke at the time. Morgan was close friends with basketball inventor James Naismith, whose invention was growing increasingly popular amongst children and young people. Upon noticing that basketball required far too much running and jumping for older participants, Morgan sought to create an alternative activity that could be played at a fraction of the physical expense associated with basketball. Volleyball was thus born, using similar elements from sports like basketball (the ball) and tennis (the net) but combining them in such a way that warranted no physical contact or overt physical stress.
Volleyball was officially established in 1895, although the variation that existed at the time was much different than the version that has come to dominate the modern era. For one, the court was much smaller, and players were given an unlimited number of hits to clear the ball over the net. Moreover, game durations were initially modeled after baseball, with nine three-serve "innings" constituting successful completion of a game. The ball was also much too heavy for all intents and purposes, and was eventually adapted to become the lightweight, rubber ball that players and viewers are used to seeing today.
Volleyball did not start to become popular until several years after its inception. It began to garner. The sport garnered international popularity beginning in 1913, with Asia adopting the game and making it an official part of several national tournaments and sporting events.
Volleyball then rose to fame as a competitive sport in 1916, as it became an officially recognized sport by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In recent years, the popularity of volleyball has reached new heights, as it ranks second behind only soccer relative to the number of participants worldwide.
Listed below are the countries in which volleyball is most popular. Countries are given a one through five ranking according to the number of participants hailing from each nation and the average number of events conducted per year.
The following timeline provides a brief overview of the most important facts and events in volleyball's history to date.