Volleyball is the most widely played sport.
Let me say that again for those awestruck by this fact.
According to the Olympic Program Commission, Volleyball is the most widely played sport in the world. Volleyball has over 900 million fans and more professional leagues than any other sport.
But you shouldn’t be surprised.
Since Volleyball is a sport for everyone, why shouldn’t everyone love it?
Origins of Volleyball
At the turn of the century (1895), William G. Morgan found that basketball was a bit too vigorous. Morgan created the sport “mintonette”, which later evolved and was named Volleyball.
Volleyball was a more fitting name, considering the “volleying” nature of play. Much like tennis or soccer, volleying describes an athlete kicking or striking a ball. Volleyball took the term volley to the extreme. As explained in Morgan’s first edition of the Official Handbook, the objective is to score points by sending the ball over the net, grounding it into the opponent’s court.
The game picked up favor and popularity over the years. Not only was the sport great for males and females, but you could also adapt the game of volleyball for different venues. Years later, beach volleyball would become popular in California. Beach volleyball was even added as an Olympic sport in 1996.
Introduction to Volleyball
Most Americans are first introduced to indoor volleyball in elementary school gym class. After a quick tutorial of the rules, the students would be paired up in groups and play a game in the indoor gymnasium. This introduction to volleyball would make it easy to transition into vocational leagues and friendly games on a beach, in a pool, or at a sports complex.
It’s very common for most high school athletic programs to offer volleyball in middle school and high school. Girl’s Volleyball teams are more prevalent in smaller schools, while larger athletic programs also offer Boy’s Volleyball.
Experts and volleyball enthusiasts show that the most popular age to start playing volleyball is 8 or 9 years old. Unfortunately, most schools don’t start volleyball programs until 7th grade. You are likely to find programs not affiliated with your school (like Highlands Sports Complex or YMCA) that start at younger ages.
Even if you miss out on playing at an early age, indoor volleyball (and several variations) can become a great hobby well into adulthood. The average age of an Olympic volleyball player nears 30-years-old.
Variations of Volleyball
One reason that Volleyball has grown in popularity is the diversity of the sport. Much like basketball, all you need is a ball, a net, and a court. Of course, it also helps if you have a few friends.
Traditional Indoor Volleyball
Indoor volleyball is the most popular and widely recognized. Indoor volleyball is popular with both males and females and is professionally played in most of the world. The United States has earned Olympic medals for its Men’s and Women’s Volleyball team. There are also several professional leagues with teams spread throughout the United States.
Indoor Volleyball courts are often 29 feet by 59 feet with a centerline directly underneath a volleyball net. The height of the net differs for men’s and women’s play but is roughly 7 feet.
Teams have 6 players on the court at once. Roster sizes vary based on league or tournament. Most teams strive to have 13-14 members, which makes it helpful for practices and scrimmages.
Beach volleyball is not just something you see in beach movies. This sport has become popular and you will even see nets organized on oceanfronts across the United States.
Beach volleyball courts are 30 feet by 60 feet with posts roughly 3 feet on the sideline. There are some major differences between Indoor and Beach volleyball, the ball being a big one. Beach volleyballs are softer, lighter, and slightly bigger.
Unless you are located near the beach, you will probably only play beach volleyball recreationally while on vacation.
Ever hear of Rebound Volleyball? Much like the name, Wallyball is a variation of the sport that uses racquetball courts and walls to add an exciting element to the game of volleyball. This fast-paced sport requires a net that is attached to both sides of the wall.
The American Wallyball Association, yes – there is a professional league, allows two to four player teams. The sport started in 1989 – nearly 100 years after Morgan created the original sport.
If you’ve ever had a friend with a volleyball net in their pool, you know how much fun Aquatic Volleyball can be. That is until your friend blasts the ball out of the pool and someone has to go get it.
Aquatic Volleyball was invented in 1960 in Brazil. This sport uses a shallow swimming pool and varies in length. The net is placed in the center of the pool so both teams have equal space on each side.
Also called Water Volleyball, this sport has become popular enough that college universities started offering programs to participate in tournaments.
Who Wants to Play?
There are plenty more variations of the game and even more ways to play. The number of players, size of courts, and scoring. regulations give us countless ways to enjoy the game of volleyball. It’s very likely that there are children in a backyard creating a new version of the game right now.
Volleyball has proved to be an exciting sport and a great way to stay active. It’s said that most players jump 80-100 times in a single game of volleyball. If you are looking for a way to work out, let me suggest signing up for a volleyball program.
Whether you are an avid fan or someone new to the sport, volleyball has all the excitement you ask for in an athletic contest. Join the 900 million worldwide fans and make volleyball a favorite of yours.