Volleyball is a sport played by two teams on a playing court divided by a net. The object of the game is to send the ball over the net and ground it on the opponent's court, as well as preventing the same effort by the opponent.

Each team has three hits for returning the ball (in addition to any block contact). The usual pattern is dig, set and spike.  The defending team will try to block the opponent's spike as it crosses the net and go to any length to keep the ball off the floor.

The ball is put into play with a service, hit from the back of the court over the net to the opponents. The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes "out", or a team fails to return it properly. In Volleyball, the team winning a rally scores a point (Rally Point System). When the receiving team wins a rally, it gains a point and the right to serve, so its players rotate one position clockwise.

The first team to score 25 points and be a minimum of two clear from the opposition wins a set.  The first team to get 3 sets wins the match.  Should a match go to a fifth and deciding set, this is played to 15 points and two clear.

A team involves six players on the court, plus the option of using a Libero player back court.  Then up to 8 substitutes on top.

The birth of Volleyball

In 1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, (Massachusetts, USA) decided to blend elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create a game for his classes of businessmen which would demand less physical contact than basketball. He created the game of volleyball (at that time called mintonette).

For a long time, Volleyball was played in Asia according to the "Brown" rules which, among other things, used 16 players (to enable a greater participation in matches).

Full History

"In search of an appropriate game, tennis occurred to me, but this required rackets, balls, a net and other equipment, so it was eliminated, but the idea of a net seemed a good one. We raised it to a height of about 6 feet, 6 inches (1.98 metres) from the ground, just above the head of an average man. We needed a ball and among those we tried was a basketball bladder, but this was too light and too slow. We therefore tried the basketball itself, which was too big and too heavy."

William G. Morgan

During a demonstration game, someone remarked to Morgan that the players seemed to be volleying the ball back and forth over the net, and perhaps “volleyball” would be a more descriptive name for the sport. On July 7, 1896 at Springfield College, the first game of “volleyball” was played and shortly after in 1897, the first Volleyball Rules were published.

1
Vast

Volleyball is now one of the big five international sports, and the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), with its 222 affiliated national federations, is the largest international sporting federation in the world.

2
Mintonette

Initially the game was called Mintonette, before changing quite quickly to "Volley Ball." The same name has survived over the years, with one slight alteration in 1952 when the Administrative Committee of the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA) voted to spell the name as one word, "Volleyball".

3
Rally Point System

Formerly, a team could only win a point if it served the ball that started the rally. Winning the serve back from the opposition was known as a side-out. Since 1998, volleyball bas been using a new scoring system. Teams score a point on every rally, regardless of which team serves.

4
"A Kong"

A one-handed block in volleyball was referred to as a Kong, named after King Kong and the way he swatted planes from the top of the Empire State Building in New York City in his movies.

5
Libero

A defensive specialist with specific rules, the Libero adds an extra dimension to the backcourt part of the game improving the defence and reception of teams. This player wears a different coloured uniform from the rest of the team and can be switched in backcourt for any player. The libero cannot serve, spike the ball over the net or rotate into the front-line positions.

On average a volleyball player will jump 300 times in one game.

Fact

The ball:

The very first ball was leather-covered, with a rubber inner tube, its circumference was between 63.5 cm and 68.6 cm and its weight 252 gr and 336 gr. 

Throughout the 19th century the ball used remained white in colour, but after testing many colours, the FIVB introduced a ball with yellow, blue and white panels at the World Championships in Japan in 1998 which is still used in the majority of competitions to date (Mikasa MVA200), with the exception of Champions League Volley which uses a green and yellow ball (Mikasa MVA200CEV).

Skills

Positions

Outside-Spikers are key players in the team, often having two touches within one transition (a set of a team’s three touches).  This is because they usually form part of the service reception unit, whilst also being a key part of the attack.  There are two Outside-Spikers in any team, placed opposite each other in the line-up, and predominantly attack through the left side of the net or from the back part of the court.

The Setter is the tactical centre of any Volleyball team and must be good enough to keep the big blockers from dominating the net. The setter must feed his or her best hitters while also looking for opponent's blocking weaknesses (such as a short player on the front line or a slow centre middle blocker).

The Opposite-Spiker is positioned opposite to the setter in the team line-up and attacks through the right side of the court.  Whilst sometimes they are involved in the service reception, they are usually kept out to focus on their attack.  It is quite common for the Opposite-Spiker to be the main attacking outlet and score the most points in a match.

The Middle-Blocker is often the unsung hero of the team.  Their main focus is blocking, hence the name as opposed to “Middle-Spiker”, but they also offer a lot in attack either by spiking through the middle of the net or attacking at such a tempo that it confuses/delays the blockers on the other side of the net.  Their main job is to move according to the set of the other team to present a double block (or even triple block) across the whole net.

The Libero is a defensive specialist with specific rules, adding an extra dimension to the backcourt part of the game.  They are aimed at improving the reception of teams, lengthening the rallies and is a position more suited to shorter players, who are faster and more agile.  This player wears a different coloured uniform from the rest of the team and can be substituted in backcourt for any player on the team. The libero cannot serve, spike the ball over the net or rotate into the front-line positions.