History Of Volleyball

Today, volleyball is everywhere, but in history - less than 120 years ago, volleyball did not exist. Less aggressive and lower impact, volleyball was born out of a desire to have a sport for the older crowd, for professionals and businessmen who wanted the enjoyment of playing a sport, but did not want a full contact sport like basketball. Morgan’s other intention was for Mintonette to be an indoor sport.


Volleyball History

Originally called Mintonette by its founder William G. Morgan, who at the time worked as the physical director at the YMCA of Auburn, Maine. Created by combining the ball of the basketball with the net used in tennis, the innings from baseball, and the ability to use his hands like in handball, Mintonette was born in 1895.

Mintonette’s name stemmed from the sport Badminton. Morgan attended the YMCA Physical Director’s Conference in Springfield, Massachusetts and volleyball received the name it has today. The name volleyball was suggested by Dr. Alfred Halstead, a professor at Springfield College where William G. Morgan had attended.

Rules Of The Volleyball Game

The reason volleyball was so unique was because of the size of the court, it was only 25’ by 50’ and could hold an unlimited number of players who could hit the ball an unlimited number of times. As such, there was quite a lot of chaos on the court.The net was 6’ by 6’ and if a player could not hit over the next an additional player could provide assistance. Each game was made up of nine innings and each inning consisted of three serves.

The basketball was originally used for volleyball, but Morgan realized that the basketball was too heavy. He then tried to use just the inside, or bladder, of the basketball, but it still was not right for the game.

He contacted a local sporting goods manufacturer, A.G. Spalding, who then created a special ball which was a rubber bladder, encased in leather, and 25” inches in circumference an thus the true volleyball was born.

The Spread Of Volleyball In History

During the early 20th century, volleyball began spreading to countries all over the world, reaching as far as Asia and South America.

In 1916, the NCAA invited the YMCA to assist in editing and promoting volleyball, and during this same year volleyball became a part of school and college physical education programs and intramural sports programs.

As the spread of volleyball grew, so did some of the rules. Some of the changes made to volleyball include:

  • Changed from 21 to 15 points
  • Three hits per side and back row attacks introduced
  • Forearm pass introduced
  • Defensive diving and rolling added
  • Soft spoke added

Volleyball at the Olympics

Volleyball first made its debut during the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan; however, in 1996 Volleyball was officially included in the Olympic Games program.

Since then volleyball has grown rapidly in popularity and can be found worldwide through numerous international volleyball championships.

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