History of Volleyball
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William G. Morgan’s “Mintonette” and it’s evolution to the popular international sport, has changed in many different ways to become the more modern day sport called, “Volleyball”. Volleyball was founded in 1895, by a man named, William G. Morgan, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was originally called “Mintonette”, and was meant to be a combination of Basketball, Baseball, and Handball. Also, it was designed to be a non-contact sport so that no one got hurt. There was no limit to the number of players on a team, nor was there a limit to the number of contacts on each side. The first official volleyball match was played on July 7th, 1896 at Springfield College, MA. People loved the sport, so right away it was spread across the country, and was played in most YMCA’s.
The first dimensions of volleyball were very simple. The initial rules by William G. Morgan required a net which was six feet and six inches high (which was the size of an average person back then). The court, also made up by William G. Morgan, was 25 feet by 50 feet in size. Another rule was that you could have as many players as you wanted on each side. The official weight of the volleyball was no less than nine ounces, but no more than twelve ounces (it was made out of the bladder from a Basketball). Over time, most of these dimensions were changed to make the more appropriate sport called, “Volleyball”.
There were several original playing rules designed for volleyball. One of the first rules was that the game consisted of nine innings. Depending on the number of players on each team, the team would have one serve per player. After each team members serve was over, the inning would be over. The player serving continued to serve until he missed the serve or his team failed to return the ball to the other side of the net. You could only score when your team had the serve. Another rule was, if the ball hit the net, it was called a net ball, and counted as a point for the opposing team. If the ball was served into the net, it would be called a dead ball, and would count as a trial. The next rule was if a player touched the net, it would be called a net, and would result in a point for the other team. If you caught or held the ball for a couple of seconds, it would be called a carry, and would also result in a point for the other team.
In 1896, (a year after the founding of Mintonette) a man by the name of Dr. Alfred T. Halstead approached William G. Morgan at the first exhibition game. He told him that a better, or a more appropriate name for the sport should be “Volley Ball”. William liked the idea, and the name stuck. In 1952, the name was officially changed, by combining the words “Volley”, and “Ball”, and making its new name, “Volleyball”. To this day the sport still has the same name.
Over the years, volleyball has changed tremendously. As you know, nothing stays the same anymore. Well anyways, the court size was changed to 60 feet by 30 feet. The net was also changed too, but this time, there was a size for a women’s net and a men’s net. The women’s net was seven feet and four inches, while the men’s net was seven feet and eleven inches. Also, the rule about having as many players on the court was changed to; six players per side (no more or no less). The ball’s official size stayed with the same criteria, but mainly, it was about ten ounces. These dimensions will stay the same for a while, but some may be tweaked up a bit as the years go by. As I said, “nothing can be perfect; there is always room for a change”.
Just as they did for the dimensions, they also revised some playing rules. They got rid of the nine innings, and instead, they changed it to; three out of five, games to fifteen. Also, you could still only score on your serve, but you had as many serves as you wanted. Another rule was that you could no longer hit the ball as many times as you wanted. Instead, you only could have three contacts per side, and a player could only contact the ball once, or it would result in a violation called the “two hits violation”. The last rule added was the under the net rule; if a player stepped over the line in the middle, (dividing the two teams) then it would result as a violation, and a point would be awarded to the opposing team.
As volleyball began to spread around the world, there was a strong love for the sport, and some people wanted to bring the sport to the beach. Beach volleyball was founded in the 1920’s in Santa Monica, CA. It was at first played as just a recreational sport, where people could play for fun. It was played only with two people on the court, and the rules were slightly different than indoor volleyball. It became a competitive sport in California in 1947. In the sport you had to communicate and move very swiftly in order to do well. It was a great activity to play at the beach, and many people thought it was one of the coolest sports ever to be invented. Still it was practically the same sport as indoor volleyball; the only difference was that it was played on sand, and not on solid ground.
Now for the dimensions of Beach Volleyball (which are completely different than indoor volleyball). The court is approximately 26¼ feet by 52½ feet long. The net on the other hand, is the same criteria as indoor volleyball, except both men and women’s nets are lowered by an inch, due to the uneven sand. Which means a women’s net would be seven feet and three inches, and
the men’s would be seven feet and ten inches high. Also, the outdoor volleyball is about an inch wider than an indoor ball, but it is lighter by about two ounces (which makes it easier for the ball to come up by the players). One completely different dimension from indoor volleyball is; (not counting the court), there needs to be at least three and one fourth feet for playing space.
In beach volleyball the games were still the same as indoor; Three out of five, and games to fifteen. Also in beach, you could still only score when your team had the serve, which was called “side out volleyball”. Another rule was that you could not set the ball over the net, unless if you were square to where the ball was going to land. As for the under the net call, in beach, it was only called if you went under the net and interfered with another player (in other words, you got in the players way). Some of these rules, just like indoor, still will be changing to this day.
In 1942, volleyball was introduced into the Olympics, but only as an exhibition sport. It immediately was loved by all the fans, and many different countries started to develop their own teams. Finally, in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, volleyball became an official sport in the Olympics. It was sponsored strongly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Beach volleyball would later on join the Olympics as well.
Soon, beach volleyball took on a life of its own. In 1992, it was introduced into the Olympics as an exhibition sport. Also, just like indoor volleyball, the fans loved it, and many other countries developed teams as well too. Right away, in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, beach volleyball became an official Olympic sport. Also, to this day, beach volleyball is thought to be the hottest ticket in the Olympics.
Over the years, there have been many volleyball/beach volleyball leagues. Most of them have recently started over this century. Some examples are; AVP, FIVBA, USVBA, Junior
Olympics, and AAU. These leagues are mostly for professionals. Like AVP, which is basically the NBA for basketball players, but instead for beach volleyball players. Also, the USVBA stands for United States Volleyball Association, which is basically our U.S. Olympic indoor volleyball team.
Over the years so many of the rules have changed, and actually, today, they are still being changed. One major change was the introduction of the libero. It was introduced in 1998. A libero is a player that wears a different color shirt than the rest of the team, and they are basically defensive specialists. At any time during the game, if anyone needed to be taken out of the back row, they could be switched with the libero, but it would not count as a substitution. The only twist was that the libero was not allowed to play in the front row. One other rule that was switched was the side out rule, the rule was changed so that you don’t have to win the point on your serve, but you could also get a point on the opposing teams serve. Lastly, the games were changed to three out of five, games to twenty-five. In beach volleyball, the games were also three out of five, but the games were to twenty-one.
In worldwide popularity, volleyball is the second most popular sport in the world, the first being soccer. With about 46 million Americans that play, and over 800 million people that play around the world, it is obvious that volleyball touches lives. Volleyball has definitely grown to be the best team sport there will ever be. The reason for this is because there cannot just be one star player on the team but, there has to be at least three contacts from at least two different players.
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