Volleyball: A Look at the Iconic Sport’s History

Some might consider it merely a game of leisure, but volleyball has a pretty interesting history. In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at volleyball’s origins and why it has become such a popular sport in modern times.

Where Volleyball Began

William G. MorganBefore it became an actual sport, volleyball was referred to as “mintonette.” In 1895, William G. Morgan officially invented the game we have all come to love, volleyball. The inventor of the game was a graduate of the YMCA’s Springfield College and designed the game as part of his aim to combine baseball, handball, tennis, and basketball into one single game.

In the 1900’s, a special ball was designed for the game of volleyball, and by 1916, some rules had been amending such as a rule stating that 21 points earn a win which had been changed to a mere 15 points.

When the first official volleyball game was played, the used a tennis net (which had been borrowed) that measured in at a mere 6’6” high, but back then, the height of the net wasn’t all that important since most average men were a lot shorter then than they are today.

The First Volleyball Match

The first official volleyball match – which included an offensive style of spiking and setting – was played in 1916 in the Philippines. After the sport had been around for a few years, it became apparent that some standard rules for tournaments had to be implicated, which is when and why the USVBA (United States Volleyball Association) came into existence in 1928.

Progression and Popularization of Volleyball

Shortly after the USVBA was established, volleyball became a much more popular sport, at which time the first two-man beach volleyball game took place. This gave way to the formation of the first beach volleyball association in 1965 in California. Beach volleyball players stood by the beach volleyball association while the professionals united under the front of the American Volleyball Professionals, which was established in 1983.

Voleibol Femenino

Volleyball at the Olympic Games

During the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in 1984, there were various indoor volleyball competitions taking place, and for the most part, it was American men and women taking home the gold and silver medals. Fast-forward to the Korea Olympics in 1988 and American men were still bringing home the gold.

It wasn’t until 1996 that two-man beach volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games, but the game has since taken a steep rise in popularity, with over 800 million people playing volleyball across the world today, 46 million of them being based in the United States of America.

Final Thoughts

For the most part, volleyball was considered to be nothing more than a leisurely game before 1930. The game had quite a few different rules, depending on where in the world it was being played. Having witnessed an impressive growth spurt in the two decades gone by; volleyball was mainly fueled by competitions such as the FIVB World League, the FIVB World Championships, the FIVB World Grand Prix, and the FIVB Grand Champions Cup. Thanks to the inclusion of volleyball in the Olympic Games, both indoor and outdoor volleyball are hugely popular sports today.

120 years after its birth, volleyball is a sport which can be played by anyone and everyone, not just men or strictly women. After all, its creator, William Morgan, had set out to create a game that would be fun and could be played by all, and in fact, that’s exactly what he accomplished!