Volleyball’s history

Angeline Janor, Staff Writer

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You have most likely played or heard of the sport volleyball, but do you know the history?

Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding the ball on the other team’s court under a set of organized rules.

This game has been played professionally at the beach and in the backyard since the sport debuted in 1895. The sport was also popularized during this time. Since the creation of the game many rules have been set and changed. 

William G. Morgan

As stated by Athletic Scholarships, the game of volleyball, originally called “mintonette” was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan after the invention of basketball only four years earlier. Morgan created the sport at Springfield College YMCA gymnasium in Massachusetts, USA. Two years later, in 1897, the first beach volleyball game was played.

In 1922, the first YMCA national championships were held in Brooklyn, NY, with twenty-seven teams from 11 states were represented.

The professional side of the sport came later. The first beach volleyball association appeared in California in 1965. The first professional organization didn’t start until 1983, when the players formed the AVP–American Volleyball Professionals.

First Created Volleyball

The first volleyball net, borrowed from tennis, was only 6’6″ high because the average height in 1895 was 5.6 feet. In 1900 the first volleyball was designed for this specific sport. The ball was made from leather paneling over a rubber carcass.

According to Athletic Scholarships Volleyball timeline, in 1920 the first set of rules was created for professional volleyball. This included the rules of setting spiking and serving. They also included how many points need to be scored and how many hits each team got.

 

1970’s Uniforms

The first men’s volleyball uniform was created sometime in 1917 by the sports creator William G. Morgan. Before the sport made its debut, women and men alike had just worn their everyday clothes to their games. Spandex became popular in women’s volleyball beginning in the 1970’s with the material being preferred because of its ability to stretch, and release moisture. It gave the men and women more freedom of movement. Volleyball uniforms have morphed into outfits that are supposed to make women and men feel as comfortable as possible while playing the sport.

Today’s Volleyball women wear snug T-shirt jerseys with very short spandex bike shorts. Men often wear sleeveless jersey tops with athletic, basketball-style shorts that hit just above the knee. Volleyball players wear knee pads and lightweight athletic shoes with rubber soles in their shoes.

Having made its Olympic debut in 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics, volleyball has become a more serious sport and grown in popularity over the last fifty years.  According to Volley Country, a 2016 research revealed that volleyball is actually the 5th most popular sport in the world behind football (soccer), cricket, hockey and tennis.

Today there are more than 46 million Americans who play volleyball and 900 million fans worldwide. Volleyball has been played around the world in many different cultures and is immensely popular in places such as Brazil.

Even though there are professional teams across the globe, for many volleyball is thought of as a recreational game rather than a serious sport.