Volleyball - Overview


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Volleyball originated in the United States at a YMCA club in Holyoke in 1895 as Mintonette. It was invented by William G. Morgan, a physical director of the YMCA club. He wanted to invent a not-so-strenuous indoor game that businessmen in the club can play. Players strike the ball and it volleys among the players, so it was later named Volleyball by a professor from Springfield College in Massachusetts.

Volleyball quickly gained popularity among various YMCA branches in the States and it was subsequently spread to other parts of the world during the World War I by the American troops. Since, it is not a very vigorous sport, women also took interest in the sport and started playing Volleyball.

Volleyball is played by two teams in a rectangular court, divided into two equal halves across the length by a net tightly stretched between two poles fixed at either sides of the court. It is one of most popular rally games and is today widely played across the world.

Volleyball Play

The objective of the game is to try to make the ball touch the ground on the opponent side. When the ball is hit by a team, the members of other team hit it with their hands to prevent it from touching the ground and to send it to another teammate or to the other side of the court across the net. Only three players from the team can strike the ball successively before they send it to the other team.

Volleyball allows players to pass the ball among teammates like basketball, but the strategies of defending and attacking are similar to other net or racquet games. Players try to shoot the ball over the net at the opponent side where it is tough for the opponents to volley it. The players of both teams have to prevent ball touching the ground thus preventing the opponent to gain points.

Team Size

Volleyball is played among two teams of six players each. A team may also have six more substitute players. One of the players is team captain and one of them is Libero. Players are positioned in two rows of three players each. The Libero is identified with a dress different from other team members. He is a specialist in defending and cannot serve or move to the front court.

The team captain along with the coach is responsible for maintaining discipline in the team. The team captain also represents the team and speaks about their team members concerns.

During competition, each team has a coach, one or two assistant coaches, a physiotherapist and a doctor. These members sit along with substitute players on their team bench outside free zone.

Participating Countries

As volleyball originated in the United States, it is very popular there. The game has spread to other surrounding countries and Europe. The game is simple, quick, entertaining and does not require much equipment.

Many times in world championships, a new team surprisingly emerges as a top contender and proves that good coaching facilities and good practice can make good players.

Russians and the former Soviet teams won many Olympics and world championships. The game is also widely played in China, Japan, and Korea. Some other countries that take part in this game are Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Cuba, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, and Argentina.

Regulating Bodies

Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the international regulating body of volleyball. It governs rules, appoints referees for international tournaments and conducts world cups and world championships for both men and women. It was formed in Paris and the current headquarters is at Mexico.

FIVB is the official governing body responsible for conducting various tournaments and promoting volleyball and beach volleyball. About 220 national volleyball organizations are members of FIVB. Many of these federations organize volleyball championships and the winners take part in international events.



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