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Volleyball is an Olympic sport in which two teams separated by a high net use their hands, arms or (rarely) other parts of their bodies to hit a ball back and forth over the net. Each team of six players is allowed three hits to get the ball over the net to the other team. A point is scored if the ball hits the ground in the opponents' court, if the opponents commit a fault, or if the opponents fail to return the ball properly.
Volleyball gameVolleyball can be a very active sport. Because many offensive plays involve contacting the ball above the top of the net, vertical jumping is an athletic skill emphasized in volleyball
History of the game
On February 9, 1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette as a pastime to be played preferably indoors and by any number of players. The game took some of its characteristics from tennis and handball. Another indoor sport, basketball, was catching on in the area, having been invented just ten miles (sixteen kilometres) away in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts only four years before. Mintonette (as volleyball was then known) was designed to be an indoor sport less rough than basketball for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of athletic effort.
The first rules, written down by William G. Morgan, called for a net 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 metres) high, a 25 × 50 foot (7.6 × 15.2 metre) court, and any number of players. A match was composed of 9 innings with 3 serves for each team in each inning, and no limit to the number of ball contacts for each team before sending the ball to the opponents’ court. In case of a serving error, a second try was allowed. Hitting the ball into the net was considered a foul (with loss of the point or a side-out) — except in the case of the first-try serve. To protect the fingers of the ladies, they were allowed to catch the ball and then throw it back into play.
After an observer, Alfred Halstead, noticed the volleying nature of the game at its first exhibition match in 1896, played at the Springfield YMCA, the game quickly became known as volleyball (originally spelled as two words volley ball). Volleyball rules were slightly modified by the Springfield YMCA and the game spread around the country to other YMCA locations.
In 1900, a ball was made specifically for the new game. The rules have evolved over time; by 1916, the skill and power of the set and spike had been introduced, and four years later a "three hits" rule and back row hitting guidelines were established. In 1917, the game was changed from 21 to 15 points. In 1919, American Expeditionary Forces distributed 16,000 volleyballs to their troops and allies: this provided a stimulus for the growth of volleyball outside the United States.
The first country outside the United States to adopt volleyball was Canada in 1900. An international federation, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), was founded in 1947, and the first World Championships were held in 1949 for men and 1952 for women. Volleyball was added to the program of the Olympic Games in 1964. The sport is now popular in Brazil, in Europe (where especially Italy, Netherlands and countries from Eastern Europe have been major forces since the late 1980s), in Russia, and in other countries including China and the rest of Asia, as well in as the United States.
Beach volleyball, a variation of the game played on sand and with only two players per team, became a FIVB-endorsed variation in 1986 and was added to the Olympic program at the 1996 Summer Olympics. The FIVB estimates that 1 in 6 people in the world participate in or observe indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, or backyard (recreational) volleyball.
See also Volleyball in the United States