Origin of Volleyball

Intentionally made to be an indoor sport in 1895, volleyball was not yet the term used for the sport that we know today. A physical educator in the name of William Morgan from Holyoke, Massachusetts invented the sport that was then called “Mintonette” that was inspired from other ball games like tennis and basketball which was invented four years prior to the invention of volleyball.


While volleyball was inspired by other ball games, you may wonder how the game was being played during the time of its conception. Based on the first rules, the game was played on a 25-feet wide and 50-feet long cement court that is being divided with a 6-feet high net. The game can be played with any number of player where each team has nine innings, each having 3-serves for each innings.

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The big difference to the modern game of volleyball is that mintonette allows unlimited number of ball contacts as long as the ball does not hit the ground. In cases where the serve has an error, a second try is allowed while hitting the net is considered a violation.

You may ask now: when was the term volleyball used to replace the term mintonette? When observer Alfred Halstead, during an exhibition game just a year after the game was conceptualized, he noticed the volleying nature of the game, thus the term volleyball was born. It was initially called volley ball and it was only after a few months that the term was fused into one word. The first official ball was created by Spalding, although there has been some dispute on the year where some have claim it was not until 1900 that the official ball made by Spalding was made.

The rules of the game evolved where a three-touch rule and various skills like set and spike was introduced in the Philippines in 1916. A year after, the scoring of the game was changed from 21 to 15 and hitting from the back row was considered a violation. Volleyball has significantly started to become a popular sport when 16,000 volleyballs were distributed by American Expeditionary Forces to their allied countries where Canada was the first country to officially adopt the game.

When the sport of volleyball has spread throughout the world, an international federation was created in 1947 known as FIVB which stands for Federation Internationale de Volleyball. This international committee sponsored the first World Championships in 1949 for men and 1952 for women. Since then, volleyball is a world renowned Olympic sport where variations, like beach volleyball, is also making another popularity mark in history.