Volleyball is a sport contested by two teams of six players. The object is to serve a ball over a net dividing the court and returning it without the ball touching the ground. Since 1964, volleyball has been contested during the Summer Olympics. How many of these fun and interesting volleyball facts did you know?
- The first version of what is now known as volleyball began as a sport named mintonette back in 1895: The game was invented by William G Morgan, a physical education teacher at a YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
- According to legend, Morgan invented the game because he wanted a sport that would be more suitable for the older YMCA members to play: A fellow named Alfred S. Halstead observed a game of mintonette and commented how the players were ‘volleying’ the ball back and forth – and volleyball got its name.
- For the first couple of decades, volleyball remained largely confined to within the US: However, in 1919, around 16,000 volleyballs began to be distributed to other countries courtesy of the American Expeditionary Forces, leading to volleyball spreading across the world.
- FIVB – Fédération Internationale de Volleyball – is the world’s international federation of volleyball: The federation was launched back in 1947 to promote and develop the game. In 1949, FIVB held the first world championships for men, and the first for women took place in 1952.
- A wide range of nations have triumphed in the Olympic volleyball competitions: The first male victors were the Soviet Union, who have three golds (four, if you count the Russian team’s victory in 2012). The United States and Brazil both have three golds.
- In the women’s Olympic volleyball event, the gold has been shared across many nations: The Soviet Union, Cuba, China and Brazil have all won at least three golds, while the US national women’s team is yet to taste victory.
- In 1998, a special defensive position known as a libero player was introduced into the official volleyball rules: The libero player must wear a different colored uniform to the rest of the team and is not allowed to serve or attack the ball when it is above the height of the net.
- Volleyball is famous for having a wide range of technical terms, or jargon, used by players: For example, a ‘dump’ in volleyball refers to a surprise attack to catch the opposition off guard, and a ‘goofy’ is used to describe when a player jumps with their wrong foot.
- While traditional volleyball is an indoor sport, a variant known as beach volleyball has been contested at the Olympics since 1996: This version of the game limits each team to two players and is played, as the name suggests, at the beach.
- Volleyball is actually a popular sport amongst nudist, with volleyball courts present at most nudist clubs: The tradition dates back to the 1920s when fans of nudism first started playing volleyball regularly.