A Brief History of Volleyball-Volleyball: A Game with Spirit

Published: 06th July 2011
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Volleyball was created by William G. Morgan in the year 1895 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He took the key characteristics of the game from Tennis and Handball while he was a physical education director at YMCA. In the beginning, the ball used for Volleyball was borrowed from other sports, but the first ball made specifically for volleyball was created somewhere between 1896 and 1900 by Spalding. The game was initially a 21 point game, but it was changed to a 15 point game in the year 1917.

For the first few years after its birth, Volleyball remained relatively unknown in the United States. It was at first only played in the YMCA gymnasiums. The first nation to adopt Volleyball outside America was Canada, but it gained popularity in Europe during WWII through the American armed forces. The armed forces distributed around 16,000 Volleyballs among the troops which fuelled interest in the game throughout the European continent,. and since then its popularity has grown consistently.

It was in the year 1924 when Volley ball was first played publicly at the summer Olympics. It was played by the Americans as an exhibition match, but it was not yet officially inducted into the Olympics. The Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB) was founded in 1947 and the first World Championship (Men’s) was held in 1949. The first Women’s World Championship was held in 1952.

In 1964, Volleyball was officially included in the summer Olympics. Since there were a limited number of countries playing Volleyball at that time, all the teams were supposed to play against every other team. Through this ‘round-robin’ system the winner could be determined based on the number of total wins even before the end of the tournament. This often led to the loss of interest during the final matches. But to keep the interest in the tournament, the concept of elimination was introduced in 1972 which allocated teams to different pools, and consisted of quarterfinals, semi-finals, and finals.

Today, Volleyball is played all across the globe. Nearly every nation has a volleyball team, but only 32 countries can compete among themselves for the 12 spots at the Olympics. This maximum limit has been set since 1996. The game’s popularity and the number of teams have grown steadily in the past few years. There are now 5 continental volleyball confederations and each one has further national federation sunder them involved in the Olympic Games. The game continues to win the hearts of spectators and players alike.

One of the well known variations of the game is known as Beach Volleyball. It originated in Southern California and Hawaii in the year 1915 and continues to gain popularity even in countries without beaches. It is played on sand with 2 or 3 players on each side. It was first played in the Olympics in the year 1992 and since then it has remained an official game of the Olympics. Both Indoor Volleyball and Beach Volleyball are equally entertaining to watch, and to play.

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