The Short History of Volleyball Explained

The history of volleyball somewhat resembles the game itself; simple, straight forward, with quick changes that impact the game in very short order. Unlike a lot of other games that expand and grow larger, volleyball’s history seems to have one common theme, simplicity.

The year was 1895, and the place was the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts; William Morgan was an instructor there and needed an indoor activity for his classes that could provide a vigorous physical workout without the aggressive physical contact that other sports at the time required. His other consideration was equipment; he wanted something simple that didn’t involve a huge bag of gear. With this, Morgan combined the elements of basketball, tennis, baseball and handball and in the process, managed to create one of the world’s most beloved sports.

Volleyball was an almost instant classic; originally called Mintonette, the rules were somewhat vague and open, allowing for any number of players and contacts with the ball. In 1896 Alfred Halstead helped coin a new name and as it was introduced to the world, eventually the rules developed into what we have today. At first the rules included innings, like baseball, and had allowed for huge teams. Shortly after, volleyball then was spread around to various YMCAs across the U.S, and in 1900 the game was adopted by Canada. Around 1919 it had gained popularity with the American Expeditionary Force who took over 15000 volleyballs with them all over the world, and in 1924 volleyball was introduced to the Olympics, although was not included in the games until 1964.

Overall, volleyball has spread far and wide during its early years; 1947 saw the formation of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball, and their first world championship game was held in 1949. Ever since then, volleyball has continued to grow and gain popularity, so much so that it is now played by over 800 million people worldwide!