What Started It All – The History of Volleyball

Surprisingly, one of the most loved sports in the world is also relatively young. Apart from the youth of this game, the game has gone through various changes and evolution as part of its rich history.

Believe it or not, but at one time there were no Asics or Nike women’s volleyball shoes or even volleyball uniforms for sale anywhere, let alone online!

To fully understand and appreciate how much the game has changed and how much work is done to make it successful, you need to look back to where volleyball came from, and learn when and why changes were made.

More than 100 years ago, in 1895, William G. Morgan developed the first volleyball game. At that time, Morgan dubbed the game “Mintonette”. “Mintonette” was created for business people as a game that involved less physical contact at the YMCA chapter where he worked in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Morgan borrowed aspects from several games to make his own games. The first aspect is from tennis, borrowing a net. However, instead of a standard net, he raised it as high as 6 feet 6 inches, so it was just above the head of the average man. Other sports he borrows include basketball, baseball and handball. During one of the sports demonstration games, one of the spectators commented that the game was more about volleyball, and the name of the game was changed to Volleyball.

That’s just the beginning.

In 1896, Volleyball’s first official match was played at Springfield College. This game signifies the first real take-off of the sport, and causes further games to be played in different colleges. In 1900, volleyball took off where the ball was specifically designed only for games. Another achievement achieved in 1900 was that the YMCA brought sports from America to Canada, the East and the southern hemisphere. Five years later, volleyball also spread to Cuba. This spread signifies the start of the Volleyball era. Unlike most sports, volleyball moves internationally in the early days, allowing the game to develop to meet the needs of players around the world.

In 1907, volleyball received its first recognition as one of the most popular sports at the Playground of America convention. This is the first recognition received by sports, and helps increase its popularity. In the following ten years, the YMCA continued to spread sports to Brazil, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. In 1913, the first official volleyball competition was held at Far Eastern Games.

1916 saw volleyball have its first true evolution. In the Philippines, offensive pass sets and spikes are introduced, and game play is changed to involve this new form. Filipinos develop “bomba”, which is murder, and the one who calls the bat is “bomberino”. In the same year, the NCAA was invited by the YMCA to change the rules of the game, and it was initiated into Colleges and other schools as part of standard physical education courses and intramural programs. A year later, the scoring system was adjusted so the game ended after 15 points, not 21. This allowed more games to be played in the same timeframe, in an effort to make the session a little shorter for the players.

Three years later, in 1919, the American Expeditionary Force donated 16,000 volleyball to the troops, which provided a stimulus for growth in foreign countries. With the growth of this sport, new rules began to be developed. A year later, three hits per side rule and a back row attack rule were imposed.

In 1928, players and sports fans realized that “official” tournament rules and regulations were needed. The United States Volleyball Association was formed, and the first US Open Volleyball tournament was held. The US Open was allowed to squad that was not sanctioned by YMCA to participate, which was a breakthrough at the time. This evolution allows sports lovers to fully enjoy the game without having to be tied to the organization that made it.

After 1928, volleyball changed forever. With “official” rules set, and a tournament that is not private to the YMCA, the popularity of sports is permitted for sky rocket. The US Open Son is held every year thereafter, with the exception of three years. 1943, 1944, and 1989 did not have an annual tournament, because of war and other obstacles.

In 1934, Volleyball saw another major change through the recognition of official referees to oversee the match. This change in particular drastically changed the calling and fairness of the game.

The 1940s held several events specifically for Volleyball. Not only was the forearm pass introduced into the game, the first world championship volleyball match was held. During this time the volleyball movement sees results, and teams from all over the world can find out who is the best. This is an annual event, allowing more sports publications, which help its growth. Around now, more than 50 million people play around the world, in more than 60 different countries.

In 1964, Volleyball had spread enough to guarantee the introduction to the Olympics. The first match took place in Tokyo, where a rubber carcass with a leather panel was used for the ball. This ball is one that will be used in most modern competitions. As part of the Olympic match, volleyball was allowed to grow even further, until it secured a place for itself as the second most played game in the world.

Despite this high level of popularity, it was not until 1986 that the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association, or WPVA, was formed. With increasing professional interest by both sexes, Volleyball was finally allowed to reach its full potential for popularity. Primary, middle and secondary schools, and colleges all invest in the game by giving volleyball courses in their physical education, so this sport is known in most households throughout the world.