Find out interesting information on history, origin and background of Volleyball.

History Of Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport in which there are two teams comprising of six players on each side, who are separated by a net in between them. The teams try to score points over each other by grounding the ball on the other team's court. Like other games, in volleyball too there are certain rules that need to be followed. One of the important rule of this game states that a team can make contact with the ball a maximum of three times, before the ball passes onto the other team's court.
Volleyball uses some very common techniques, like, spiking, passing, blocking and setting. Like football, there are special positions available for players, like offensive and defensive. One needs good vertical jumping skills in order to play volleyball well, because players need to jump above the net many a times to make contact with the ball. In recent times, there have been many variations of volleyball that have cropped up. Read on to find out more about the history and origin of the game of volleyball.
William G. Morgan, who was a YMCA physical education director in Holyoke, Massachusetts, created a new game called Mintonette, in 1895. This was a game which was to be played indoors and by any number of players. The game of Mintonette took some of its features from tennis and handball. During the same time, the game of basketball was catching up in the same area. 
Subsequently, Morgan wrote the first rules for the game which said that the court should be 6ft 6in. high and 25x50 ft2 in size. The rules also stated that any number of players could play this game. A mintonette match had nine innings with three serves for each team in a particular inning. There were no limits to the number of times a team can make contact with the ball. Unlike the present day volleyball, hitting the net with the ball was considered a foul except in the case of a first serve.
After Alfred Halstead noticed the nature of the game in 1896, which was to volley the ball towards the other team, the game came to be known as volleyball. Later, the rules of the volleyball were modified by the International YMCA Training School and the game spread around the United States and to various other YMCAs as well. It is still not clear as to who created the first official ball that was used in the game. According to some sources, the first official ball was created by Spalding in the year 1896, while others claim it was created in 1900. The rules of the game have also developed in time.
It was in the year 1916 that the skill of set and spike was introduced to the game. Subsequently, four years later, the three hits rule and back row hitting were established as well. The first country, apart from United States which adopted volleyball was Canada, in the year 1900. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball was founded in 1947 while the first ever World Championship was held in 1949 for men and in 1952 for women. Volleyball is now widely recognized and played in many countries like Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, China and in Asia as well.
In the 1924 Paris Olympics, volleyball was played as a part of the American sports demonstration event. After FIVB was founded, volleyball began to be considered for official inclusion in the Olympics. Volleyball was successfully included as a sport in the 1964 Summer Olympics. The number of teams that participate in the volleyball Olympic tournament have increased with time. Since 1996, both men's and women's events have twelve participating nations.
The U.S.S.R won the title of men's volleyball during the years 1964 and 1968, while in 1972 it was Japan who bagged the gold medal. As far as women's competition is concerned, Japan won the gold medal for the same in 1964 and again in 1976. In the year 2000, there were certain amendments and changes that were implemented in the game. These include, allowing serves in which the ball touches the net, as long as it goes over it in to the other team's court. The service area was also expanded, which allowed players to serve from anywhere behind the end line..
There is another variation of the game called the beach volleyball which is played. The beach volleyball found its place in the 1996 Summer Olympics as well.
Volleyball has inspired numerous variations of the game, some of which are:
  • Beach volleyball
  • Indoor sand volleyball
  • Newcomb ball
  • Sepak Takraw
  • Footvolley
  • Sitting volleyball
  • Blind volleyball
  • Nine-man volleyball
  • Jollyball
  • Volutobol
  • Soft volleyball or softball
  • Jail bail
  • Aquatic volleyball 
Important Dates and Events in Volleyball History: 
  • 1895: William G. Morgan (1870-1942) created the game of volleyball.
  • 1900: a special ball was designed for the sport.
  • 1916: in the Philippines, an offensive style of passing the ball in a high trajectory to be struck by another player (the set and spike) was introduced..
  • 1920s: there are unconfirmed whispers of men’s teams playing on the beach in Hawaii, but most accounts place the sport's origin in Santa Monica, California where the first Volleyball courts are put up on the beach at the Playground. Families play 6 vs. 6.
  • 1920: three hits per side and back row attack rules were instituted.
  • 1922: the first YMCA national championships were held in Brooklyn, NY. 27 teams from 11 states were represented.
  • 1928: it became clear that tournaments and rules were needed; the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA, now USA Volleyball) was formed. The first U.S. Open was staged, as the field was open to non-YMCA squads.
  • 1930s: the first two-man beach volleyball game is played in Santa Monica, California.
  • 1934: the approval and recognition of national volleyball referees.
  • 1937: at the AAU convention in Boston, action was taken to recognize the U.S. Volleyball Association as the official National Governing Body (NGB) in the U.S.
  • 1947: the Federation Internationale De Volley-Ball (FIVB) was founded.
  • 1948: the first two-man beach tournament was held.
  • 1949: the initial World Championships were held in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
  • 1964: Volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
  • 1965: the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) was formed.
  • 1974: the World Championships in Mexico were telecast in Japan.
  • 1975: the U.S. National Women's team began a year-round training regime in Pasadena, Texas (moved to Colorado Springs in 1979, Coto de Caza and Fountain Valley, CA in 1980, and San Diego, CA in 1985).
  • 1977: the U.S. National Men's team began a year-round training regime in Dayton, Ohio (moved to San Diego, CA in 1981).
  • 1983: the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was formed.
  • 1984: the U.S. won their first medals at the Olympics in Los Angeles. The Men won the Gold, and the Women the Silver.
  • 1986: the Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) was formed.
  • 1988: the U.S. Men repeated the Gold in the Olympics in Korea.
  • 1989: the FIVB Sports Aid Program was created.
  • 1990: the World League was created.
  • 1995: the sport of Volleyball was 100 years old! This Web site - Volleyball.Com goes live!
  • 1996: 2-person beach volleyball debuted as an Olympic Sport.
  • 1997: Dain Blanton (with Canyon Ceman) becomes the first African-American professional beach volleyball player to win a tournament on the Miller Lite/AVP Tour.
  • 1998: For the first time in the FIVB World Tour, men and women players are rewarded at the same level with $170,000 in total prize money per Open event.
  • 1999: For the first time beach volleyball was included in the Pan American Games which were held in Canada.
  • 2000: Olympic Beach Volleyball Men's Gold medalists: Eric Fomoimoana & Dain Blanton (USA). The women's Beach Volleyball America (BVA) announces their inaugural season of play.
  • 2001: Christopher "Sinjin" Smith plays the final match of his impressive career, a 21-19 and 24-22 loss with George Roumain to Dax Holdren and Todd Rogers in the 4th round of the contender's bracket at the AVP Manhattan Beach Open. Sinjin retires as the leader in tournaments played with 416, 2nd in all-time victories with 139, and 4th in all-time winnings with over US$1.6 million earned.
  • 2002: Beach volleyball court dimensions reduced to 8m x 8m per side.
  • 2003: Karch Kiraly becomes the first player to earn US$3M in prize money and oldest player to win an AVP tournament at age 42 years, 9 months and 14 days. (You're never too old for volleyball!)
  • 2004: Kerri Walsh and Misty May Win the Women's Olympic Beach Volleyball Title
  • 2005: Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor win their second Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Open women's title and the 2005 overall women's championship.
  • 2006: Elaine Youngs' second place finish (with Rachel Wacholder) in Seaside Heights pushes her career earnings past $1 million. She becomes the third American woman to achieve that mark.
  • 2006: In Seaside Heights, both Casey Jennings (with Matt Fuerbringer) and Kerri Walsh (with Misty May-Treanor) won titles, becoming just the second husband-wife duo to win pro beach events on the same weekend. They join Mike and Patty Dodd, who accomplished the feat four times in 1989, but each time in different locations.
  • 2006: Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor win in Chicago as Walsh joins the millionaire club. She is the 18th person worldwide to win over $1 million in her career, and did so in fewer events (90th tournament) as well as being one of just four to reach the mark before turning 28 years old.
  • 2007: Misty May-Treanor passes Brazilians Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede as the winningest player since the women's competition on the international beach volleyball circuit began in 1992.
  • 2007: Misty May-Treanor becomes the women's all-time wins leader by capturing her 73rd victory, surpassing Holly McPeak's record by winning with Kerri Walsh in Hermosa Beach. She reached this total in just 123 tournaments -- winning 57.5% of her events.
  • 2007: In a championship match that lasted 1:41, Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs defeat Jennifer Boss and April Ross 21-19, 18-21, 16-14 in Seaside Heights. The marathon set the record for the longest match in rally scoring, men or women, in domestic or international play.
  • 2007: Karch Kiraly retires to close an impressive career on the beach, leaving as the all-time wins leader and money earner. His longevity was marked by the fact he won a tournament in 24 different years, and he advanced to the semifinals in over 75% of all the events he ever played and was named as the AVP's MVP a record-most six times.
  • 2008: Hot Winter Nights, a series of 19 events in January and February, kicks off in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma marking the first ever indoor beach volleyball tour. Mark Williams and Nancy Mason are the first winners in the "King of the Beach format" events.

How to Cite

Related Articles

More from