History of Volleyball - Origins and Evolution of the Game of Volleyball
Introduction to Volleyball
(originally spelled with two words” volley ball
”) is a popular sport that was originally developed by William G. Morgan, a
YMCA physical education director from Holyoke, Massachusetts, United
States, who wanted to develop an indoor sport that was less energetic and
rough than by then recently developed basketball (invented in 1891 just 10
miles away from him in city of Springfield, Massachusetts).
During the middle of 20th century, professional world of volleyball become
much more organized with the arrival of Fédération Internationale de
Volleyball (FIVB) in 1947 who organized the first World Championships (1949
for men and 1952 for women). In the 2nd half of 20th century, Volleyball
became very popular in Eastern Europe, Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, China
and several other Asian countries.
Originally showcased as a demonstration event at 1924 Summer Olympics, volleyball
officially became part of Olympic Summer games in 1964.
Origin of Volleyball – Mintonette
After noticing that senior members of his YMCA chapter in Holyoke,
Massachusetts could not enjoy more energetic and rough games such as
tennis, handball and recently introduced basketball, physical education
director William G. Morgan started devising his own set of rules for Mintonette, a precursor of modern-day volleyball.
Morgan took some elements form handball and tennis, and formed first rules
for Mintonette that were as following:
Match consisted of 9 innings
Both teams had to serve three times in each inning
No limits on the number of ball contacts
No limits on number of players in teams
25 ft × 50 ft (7.6 m × 15.2 m) court size
Net was placed 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high
One serving error was allowed
In addition to basic rules for Mintonette, Morgan also had to standardize ball. Seeing that popular ball sizes of that
time were not suited for his needs, he commissioned the creation of the new
type of ball from sporting equipment company A.G. Spalding & Bros. They
created smaller and lighter ball than those used in basketball (25-27
inches circumference, with 9-12 ounces in weight).
A first exhibition match of Morgan’s “mintonette” volleyball happened in 1885, with official balls being introduced between 1986
and 1900. By the time of First World War, American expeditionary forces
managed to popularize this sport in Europe, and from there volleyball
quickly started spreading all over the world.
The name “mintonette” was not met with great enthusiasm from the very
moment that William G.Morgan presented the game to the public on February
9, 1895. While the present delegates were very enthusiastic about the game
and it’s simple rules, professor Alfred T. Halsted gave a suggestion that
would forever change the history of this sport. He noted that the game
should be called “volley ball” since the main
point of the game was to “volley” the ball over the net to the opposing
team’s side of the court. Morgan agreed to that suggestion immediately.
William G. Morgan – Short Biography
William G. Morgan
(1870 - 1942) was an American educator and inventor that
is today best known as the father of “Mintonette”, a sport that very
quickly after its inception morphed into what we know today as a
Born on January 23, 1870 in Lockport, New York, United States, he received
high school education at Northfield Mount Hermon School after which he
quickly joined YMCA International Training School in Massachusetts (a
facility that will later be renamed into Springfield College) as a recruit
of James Naismith who was right then in the process of the invention of the
famous team sport of basketball. Morgan graduated and became an educator at
Holyoke YMCA, where he spent several years of career as a Director of
Physical Education. Seeing the impact of basketball, in
1895 he invented a non-contact version of this sport
called “Mintonette” that involved bouncing the ball between teams that were
separated by a high net. This sport was almost immediately tuned and
morphed into modern volleyball.
After success with the development of volleyball, William G. Morgan left
YMCA in 1900 to pursue the career of business, which he managed to do when
he started working for General Electric and Westinghouse. During his
business career, he always remained in touch with the educators and events
held at Springfield College, from where his Mintonette emerged and managed
to become a worldwide sport in just a few short years.
He died on December 27, 1942, in his hometown of Lockport, New York, at the
age of 72.
Later Developments of Tennis
Very quickly as years went by, Mintonette started evolving with new rules
being introduced from all around the world. This included three hits rule,
switch to 15 points per set, use of volley serves and other rules such as
the inability to hit from the back row.
As the volleyball spread across the Europe during First World War
(US troops brought with them more than 16 thousand volleyballs), this sport
experienced the meteoric rise of popularity all across the world.
Naturally, the first country outside of the US that adapted volleyball was
Canada, but quickly after the sport became very popular in
Brazil, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Eastern European countries and Asia
(especially in China)
. In 1947, professional volleyball bouts and tournaments became regulated
by Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB).
A popular variation of volleyball also started being played at beaches.
This type of outdoor play on very soft surface promoted the use of fewer
players, enabling them to engage in more energetic play that promoted
jumping to reach difficult hits and falling on the sand. Beach volleyball
was played by amateurs until 1987 when it became officially endorsed by
FIVB. In just a few years, beach volleyball entered 1996 Summer Olympics.
Volleyball as Summer Olympics Sport
Volleyball 1st entry into Olympic games can be traced all the way back to
1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. There, demonstration match was showcased,
and organizers debated whether or not they should include this sport in
future games. Another more strongly presented promotion for this game was
organized in 1957, which took a form of a special volleyball tournament
held at the 53rd OIOC session in Sofia, Bulgaria. This event paid off, and
volleyball was quickly after that accepted into a program of the upcoming
1964 Summer Olympic in Tokyo, Japan.
After several Olympic tournaments in which public was disinterested in
watching placement matches for non-medal positions, the form of volleyball
tournament at Olympic Games was changed in 1972 with the addition of “final
round” elimination tournament with more traditional quarterfinals,
semifinals, and finals match. Over the first several Olympic competitions,
the most successful nations were U.S.S.R., Japan, and Poland who managed to
surprise Soviets o 1976 by utilizing newly developed back row attack move. In modern years,
other countries have managed to reach Olympic medal positions, including
Brazil, China, Serbia and Montenegro, Cuba and others.
History of Beach Volleyball
The origin of beach volleyball can be traced all the way back to Waikiki Beach in Hawaii in 1915. In the continental US,
beach volleyball became popular in California and Miami during the early
1920s, most prominently in Santa Monica where over 10 clubs form in late
1922, with first inter-club competitions (with six players per team)
staring in 1924.
More organized tournament play in the United States gained traction during
1940, while professional teams and players started competing during the
1960s. The first officially sanctioned professional beach volleyball match
was staged in 1976, at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades,
California. After that moment, Pro Beach Volleyball Tour was formed with
teams playing in California m Florida, Chicago and Colorado.
Beach volleyball gained much in popularity during the 1980s
, which lead to the eventual introduction of this sport on 1996 Olympic
Today, beach volleyball is a global sport played all around the world, with FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) overseeing
all of its professional tournaments.