Volleyball was first invented in 1895 by the YMCA instructor William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Taking elements from the games of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball, Morgan created a game for people wanting a game that involved less physical contact than basketball. Then called mintonette, volleyball borrowed the net from tennis and simply raised it. Fast forward to 1916, the offensive style of the game saw the new strategy of spiking and setting in the Philippines. In 1928, the game needed some standard rules in order to progress into tournament play, so the United States Volleyball Association was founded in 1928.
In 1930, the first two-man volleyball game was played, and professional players started to coalesce in 1983 under the American Volleyball Professionals. In terms of competitive play, the first YMCA national championships were helped in 1922 in Brooklyn, New York where 27 teams hashed it out for the gold. In 1964, volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and in the mid to late 1970s both men and women’s national volleyball teams started to train year-round. In 1988, both U.S. men’s and women’s volleyball teams placed in the top three at the Olympics in Korea. Finally, in 1996, 2-person volleyball became an Olympic sport. Today, volleyball is well over 100 years old and the U.S. has been a very good country for developing talent, especially on the women’s side.

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Volleyball is a simple game when you know the rules that go with it; while it’s not as complicated as football, it certainly has more rules than basketball. Here are 10 important rules:
The first team to reach 25 points and lead by 2 points wins a set. Matches usually are best-of-three or best-of-five sets. The offense can gain a point on a defensive miss or an out of bounds hit. The defense gains a point by an offensive miss, an out of bounds hit or a serve that launches into the net.
The ball can be hit three times per side before it needs to be sent over the net to the other team
If two or more players hit the ball at the same time, it is considered one play and not a penalty.
A serve can be sent underhanded or overhanded, but a server cannot step over the end line before contacting the ball. The ball can graze the net, but needs to go over it.
The volleyball serve needs to be hit by the opposing team with a bump, or underarm pass, before it can be hit with another type of shot.
A team rotates one spot in a clockwise shift each time is takes the volleyball back from the opposing team to serve.
The volleyball can be played off the net
A volleyball player cannot reach over the net except on a block or a follow-through.
Players can switch positions when rallying, or “passing” the ball to each other.
Ball is in play if lands on a sideline or end line.

Now the strategies for volleyball are mostly on the defensive side, and for the offense it’s essentially spiking and dictating where the defense needs to return the ball. The defensive strategies are wide-ranging, and many of them are effective. There are rotational defenses, where the players rotate based on their “read” on the ball and the positions of the offense. There are also perimeter defenses. This defense is based less on getting a strong “read” on the ball and more holding your own positions to dig out hard-driven balls. There are also more complex defenses like a man up defense. The man up defense moves a back player up to the front to as a support, which covers the middle of the court much more effectively.

  • Gordon, Jeff. “The Types of Defense in Volleyball.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 19 May 2017.
  • Haley, Craig. “Coach These 10 Volleyball Rules.” PlaySportsTV. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2017.
  • “The History Of Volleyball & Timeline Of Significant Events.” www.volleyball-court- central.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2017.