The History of Volleyball

Today, the sport of volleyball is extremely popular in the United States and other countries of the world.

Without a doubt, volleyball is a wonderful game. There are both men’s and women’s volleyball. According to the statistics, about 46 million people of all ages play volleyball on a regular basis in the United States these days. Approximately 800 million players in different countries of the world prefer to play volleyball at least once a week. It goes without saying that volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the world at the moment. Here, we are going to talk about the history of volleyball and the most important its moments.

Like many other sports, volleyball has a long, rich and very interesting history. The history of volleyball dates back to 1895. So, the sport of volleyball is 120 years now. The volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in the United States of America. William G. Morgan was an instructor at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke.

Special attention should be drawn to the fact that basketball and volleyball were invented almost at the same time. So, the sport of basketball was invented in 1891. Initially, the sport of volleyball was known as “mintonette”. However, the teacher of Springfield College, Alfred Halstead, gave the new name to the game “volleyball” later. So, volleyball means a flying ball.

A banner for the Spikes volleyball program

When designing the sport of volleyball Morgan wanted to create the unique game that would perfectly combine the most important benefits of such sports as baseball, basketball, handball and tennis. For example, the net has been borrowed from tennis. Ball and other elements were borrowed from other sports.

Once the volleyball was invented it began to gain the popularity in the United States quickly. Very soon the sport of volleyball has become popular all over the world. So, the game of volleyball was also introduced in Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

In 1896, the game of volleyball was presented to the public for the first time. The first rules of the game were published in 10 years. The pages with rules contained 10 paragraphs only.

The first popular international volleyball tournament was organized in 1913. It united the best volleyball teams from different countries of the world including Japan, China and Philippines.

The sport of volleyball was introduced in Europe at the beginning of the 20-th century. In 1914, people began to play volleyball in England. In 1917, the sport of volleyball was introduced in France. The game quickly gained huge popularity in the country. Volleyball continued its quick and successful development. The game was introduced in Poland, Czechoslovakia, the USSR and other countries of the world in 1920s.

The first official YMCA national volleyball competitions took place in Brooklyn in 1922. The championships united 27 volleyball teams from 11 states of the country. After those competitions the United States proposed the world to include the sport of volleyball in the program of Olympic Games (which took place in Paris in 1924). Despite the fact that the proposal was declined the game of volleyball was introduced to the public during the summer Olympic Games in Paris.

At the beginning stages of development, the sport of volleyball needed the association that was responsible for organizing tournaments and controlling the rules of the game. That’s why the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA, now USA Volleyball) was created in 1928.

The rules and tactics of the game have changed many times during the history of volleyball. The art of playing volleyball has evolved significantly. As a result, volleyball has become a collective game. Obviously, the game of volleyball is much more dynamic now.

For the first time beach volleyball game was introduced to the public in 1930s. The first two-man beach volleyball tournaments were organized in Santa Monica, California. Today, beach volleyball is extremely popular in the Eastern Europe. Beach volleyball tournaments and even world championships are organized these days. Beach volleyball is included in the program of Olympic Games.

In 1932, the representatives of the United States made the second attempt to include the sport of volleyball in the program of Olympic Games.

The representatives of volleyball federations gathered together in Stockholm in 1934. As a result, they created Volleyball Technical Committee. So, the committee included 13 European countries, 5 countries from the North America and 4 Asian countries. American rules laid in the basis of the game. In 1947, the first congress of the International Volleyball Federation (that is also known as FIVB) took place in Paris. The representatives of the following 14 countries took part in the congress: Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Egypt, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the United States of America, France, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. As a result, FISU Technical Committee for Volleyball was created. Also, the International Volleyball Federation formed the international rules of volleyball game.

Paul Libaud was the first president of FIVB. However, Ruben Acosta Hernandez became the president of FIVB in 1984. Ruben is known as the man, who made many changes in the rules of the game and worked hard to make volleyball competitions more interesting for viewers.

In 1952, the first Asian volleyball championship was organized. Moreover, the sport of volleyball was included in the program of Pan American Games.

In 1967, the first championship of Africa took place.

In 1972, the congress of FIVB took place in Munich. Finally, the following independent conferences of volleyball were established: the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC), African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB), Confederation Europeenne de Volleyball (CEV), Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) and Confederación Sudamericana de Voleibol (CSV). In 1997, FIVB had 213 national federations. No other sport organization had so many organizations.

For the first time, FIVB organized the European Men’s Volleyball Championships in 1948. Men’s volleyball team from Czechoslovakia became the winner of the competitions. Men’s and Women’s World Volleyball Championships were hold in 1949.

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The History of Volleyball European Championships

USSR won the women’s volleyball European championship in 1949, 1950, 1951, 1958, 1963, 1967, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1985, 1989 and 1991. Russia won the women’s volleyball European championship in 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2001. Czechoslovakia won the women’s volleyball European championship in 1955. Bulgaria won the women’s volleyball European championship in 1981. GDR won the women’s volleyball European championship in 1983 and 1987. The Netherlands won the women’s volleyball European championship in 1995.

Czechoslovakia won the men’s volleyball European championship in 1948, 1955 and 1958. Romania won the men’s volleyball European championship in 1963. USSR won the men’s volleyball European championship in 1950, 1951, 1967, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1991. Italy won the men’s volleyball European championship in 1989, 1993 and 1995. The Netherlands won the men’s volleyball European championship in 1997. Russia won men’s volleyball European championship in 2013.

The History of Volleyball World Championships

USSR won the women’s volleyball world championship in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1970 and 1990. Japan won the women’s volleyball world championship in 1962, 1967 and 1974. Russia won the women’s volleyball world championship in 2006 and 2010. Cuba won the women’s volleyball world championship in 1978 and 1994. Chinese People’s Republic won the women’s volleyball world championship in 1982 and 1986. Italy won the women’s volleyball world championship in 2002.

USSR won the men’s volleyball world championship in 1949, 1957, 1960, 1978 and 1982. Czechoslovakia won the men’s volleyball world championship in 1956 and 1966. GDR won the men’s volleyball world championship in 1970. Poland won the men’s volleyball world championship in 1974. The United States of America won the men’s volleyball world championship in 1986. Italy won the men’s volleyball world championship in 1990, 1994 and 1998. Brazil won the men’s volleyball world championship in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

The History of Volleyball Olympic Games    

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) took a decision to make volleyball Olympic sport on September 24 in 1957. For the first time, the sport of volleyball was included in the program of Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. So, the first volleyball Olympic tournament united 10 men’s and 6 women’s volleyball teams from different countries of the world.

Japan won the women’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1964 and 1976. USSR won the women’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1968, 1972, 1980 and 1988. Chinese People’s Republic won the women’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1984 and 2004. Cuba won the women’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1992, 1996 and 2000. Brazil won the women’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 2008.

USSR won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1964, 1968 and 1980. Russia won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 2012. Japan won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1972. Poland won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1976. USA won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1984, 1988 and 2008. Brazil won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1992 and 2004. The Netherlands won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 1996. Yugoslavia won the men’s volleyball Olympic tournament in 2000.