Volleyball is the second most popular sport in the world,
where two teams, separated by a high net, hit a ball back
and forth over the net between the teams. Every team is
allowed three hits to get the ball over the net to the
other team. A point is scored if the ball hits the ground
in the opponents' court, if the opponents commit a fault,
or if they fail to return the ball properly.
Volleyball gameVolleyball is a very active sport that
provides an excellent level of aerobic exercise. It also
helps players in their hand-eye coordination and the ability
to override the instinctive desire to dodge an object
such as a ball.
On February 9, 1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, William
G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created
a new game called Mintonette as a pastime to be played
preferably indoors and by any number of players. The game
took some of its characteristics from tennis and handball.
Another indoor sport, basketball, was catching on in the
area, having been invented just ten miles away in the
city of Springfield, Massachusetts only four years before.
Mintonette (as volleyball was then known) was designed
to be an indoor sport less rough than basketball for older
members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of athletic
The first rules, written down by William G. Morgan himself,
called for a net 6 feet 6 inches high; a 25 ?50 foot
court; any number of players; a match composed of 9 innings
with 3 serves for each team in each inning; and no limit
to the number of ball contacts allowed each team before
sending the ball to the opponents?court. In case of a
serving error, a second try was allowed (as in tennis),
and a ball hitting the net was to be considered a foul
(with loss of the point or a side-out)--except in the
case of the first-try serve (as in tennis). To protect
the fingers of the ladies, they were allowed to catch
the ball and then throw it again.
After an observer noticed the volleying nature of the
game at its first exhibition match in 1896 played at the
Springfield YMCA, the game quickly became known as volleyball
(originally spelled as two words). Volleyball rules, along
with rules for basketball, were slightly modified by the
Springfield YMCA and spread around the country to other
A Women's volleyball match at 1964 Summer OlympicsAn international
federation, the F�d�ration Internationale de Volleyball
(FIVB), was founded in 1947, and the first World Championships
were held in 1949 (men) and 1952 (women). Volleyball was
added to the program of the Olympic Games in 1964, and
has been part ever since. Beach volleyball became a FIVB-endorsed
variation in 1986 and was added to the Olympic program
at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The first foreign country to adapt volleyball was Canada,
in 1900. The sport is now popular in Brazil, all Europe
(where especially Italy, Netherlands and Serbia are major
forces since late Eighties), Russia and other countries
including China and the rest of Asia, as well as the United
States. The FIVB estimates that 1 in 6 people in the world
participate in or observe indoor volleyball, beach volleyball,
or backyard (recreational) volleyball.
The game is played on volleyball courts 18 metres long
and 9 metres wide, divided into two 9 x 9 metre "team
courts" by a one-metre wide net placed such that its highest
point is 2.43 metres above the ground in men's competition,
and 2.24 metres for women's competition (these heights
are varied for veterans and junior competitions). There
is a line 3 metres from and parallel to the net in each
team court termed the "attack line".
The team courts are surrounded by an area called the free
zone which is a minimum of 2 metres wide and which the
players may enter and play within after the service of
the ball. All lines denoting the boundaries of the team
court and the attack zone are drawn or painted within
the dimensions of the area and are therefore a part of
the court or zone and a ball touching the line is considered
in. An antenna is placed on each side of the net perpendicular
to the sideline and is a vertical extension of the side
boundary of the court. A ball passing over the net must
pass completely between the antennae (or their theoretical
extensions to the ceiling) without contacting them.
The ball (a volleyball), is made of leather or synthetic
leather and inflated with compressed air. It is round
and 65-67 cm in circumference.