Volleyball game.jpg
Typical volleyball action
Highest governing bodyFIVB
First played1895, Holyoke, Massachusetts, United States
Team members6
Mixed genderSingle
TypeIndoor, beach, grass
GlossaryGlossary of volleyball

Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.[1] It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since Tokyo 1964.

The complete rules are extensive[2], but simply, play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a 'rally' by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team's court.[3] The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times, but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively.[3] Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court.

The rally continues, with each team allowed as many as three consecutive touches, until either (1): a team makes a kill, grounding the ball on the opponent's court and winning the rally; or (2): a team commits a fault and loses the rally. The team that wins the rally is awarded a point and serves the ball to start the next rally. A few of the most common faults include:

  • causing the ball to touch the ground or floor outside the opponents' court or without first passing over the net;
  • catching and throwing the ball;
  • double hit: two consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same player;
  • four consecutive contacts with the ball made by the same team;
  • net foul: touching the net during play;
  • foot fault: the foot crosses over the boundary line when serving.

The ball is usually played with the hands or arms, but players can legally strike or push (short contact) the ball with any part of the body.

A number of consistent techniques have evolved in volleyball, including spiking and blocking (because these plays are made above the top of the net, the vertical jump is an athletic skill emphasized in the sport) as well as passing, setting, and specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures.


Origin of volleyball

In the winter of 1895[4], in Holyoke, Massachusetts (United States), William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette, a name derived from the game of badminton,[5] as a pastime to be played (preferably) indoors and by any number of players. The game took some of its characteristics from other sports such as tennis and handball.[6] Another indoor sport, basketball, was catching on in the area, having been invented just ten miles (sixteen kilometers) away in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, only four years before. Mintonette 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 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high, a 25 ft × 50 ft (7.6 m × 15.2 m) court, and any number of players. A match was composed of nine innings with three 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.

After an observer, Alfred Halstead, noticed the volleying nature of the game at its first exhibition match in 1896, played at the International YMCA Training School (now called Springfield College), the game quickly became known as volleyball (it was originally spelled as two words: "volley ball"). Volleyball rules were slightly modified by the International YMCA Training School and the game spread around the country to various YMCAs.[7][8]

A scene of playing Volleyball of the village Naldahari in India

Refinements and later developments

Japanese American women playing volleyball, Manzanar internment camp, California, ca. 1943

The first official ball used in volleyball is disputed; some sources say Spalding created the first official ball in 1896, while others claim it was created in 1900.[9][10][11] The rules evolved over time: in 1916, in the Philippines, the skill and power of the set and spike had been introduced, and four years later a "three hits" rule and a rule against hitting from the back row were established. In 1917, the game was changed from requiring 21 points to win to a smaller 15 points to win. In 1919, about 16,000 volleyballs were distributed by the American Expeditionary Forces to their troops and allies, which sparked the growth of volleyball in new countries.[9]

The first country outside the United States to adopt volleyball was Canada in 1900.[9] 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.[12] The sport is now popular in Brazil, in Europe (where especially Italy, the 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 as in the United States.[7][8][12]

A nudist/naturist volleyball game at the Sunny Trails Club during the 1958 Canadian Sunbathing Association (CSA) convention in British Columbia, Canada

Beach volleyball, a variation of the game played on sand and with only two players per team, became a FIVB-endorsed variation in 1987 and was added to the Olympic program at the 1996 Summer Olympics.[9][12] Volleyball is also a sport at the Paralympics managed by the World Organization Volleyball for Disabled.

Nudists were early adopters of the game with regular organized play in clubs as early as the late 1920s.[13][14] By the 1960s, a volleyball court had become standard in almost all nudist/naturist clubs.[15]

Volleyball in the Olympics

Volleyball has been part of the Summer Olympics program for both men and women consistently since 1964.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Vlugbal
Ænglisc: Flēogeball
العربية: كرة طائرة
aragonés: Voleibol
অসমীয়া: ভলিবল
asturianu: Voleibol
azərbaycanca: Voleybol
تۆرکجه: والیبال
বাংলা: ভলিবল
Bân-lâm-gú: Pâi-kiû
башҡортса: Волейбол
беларуская: Валейбол
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Валейбол
Bislama: Volley ball
български: Волейбол
Boarisch: Volleyboi
bosanski: Odbojka
català: Voleibol
Чӑвашла: Волейбол
čeština: Volejbal
Cymraeg: Pêl-foli
dansk: Volleyball
Deutsch: Volleyball
डोटेली: भलिबल
eesti: Võrkpall
Ελληνικά: Πετοσφαίριση
español: Voleibol
Esperanto: Flugpilkado
euskara: Boleibol
فارسی: والیبال
føroyskt: Flogbóltur
français: Volley-ball
Frysk: Follybal
galego: Voleibol
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: व्हॉलीबॉल
한국어: 배구
հայերեն: Վոլեյբոլ
हिन्दी: वालीबॉल
hrvatski: Odbojka
Bahasa Indonesia: Bola voli
íslenska: Blak
italiano: Pallavolo
עברית: כדורעף
Basa Jawa: Voli
ಕನ್ನಡ: ವಾಲಿಬಾಲ್
ქართული: ფრენბურთი
қазақша: Волейбол
Kinyarwanda: Wasan kwallon raga
Kiswahili: Voliboli
коми: Тывсяр
Kreyòl ayisyen: Volebòl
Кыргызча: Волейбол
лакку: Волейбол
latviešu: Volejbols
Lëtzebuergesch: Volleyball
lietuvių: Tinklinis
magyar: Röplabda
македонски: Одбојка
മലയാളം: വോളീബോൾ
მარგალური: ფურინბურთი
Bahasa Melayu: Bola tampar
Baso Minangkabau: Bola voli
монгол: Волейбол
Nāhuatl: Pallavollo
Nederlands: Volleybal
Nedersaksies: Volleybal
नेपाली: भलिबल
norsk: Volleyball
norsk nynorsk: Volleyball
occitan: Voleibòl
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Voleybol
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਵਾਲੀਬਾਲ
پنجابی: والیبال
Papiamentu: Volleyball
پښتو: واليبال
ភាសាខ្មែរ: បាល់ទះ
Plattdüütsch: Volleyball
português: Voleibol
Qaraqalpaqsha: Voleybol
română: Volei
rumantsch: Ballarait
Runa Simi: Makiyasiy
русский: Волейбол
Gagana Samoa: Volipolo
संस्कृतम्: वालीबाल्-क्रीडा
shqip: Volejbolli
sicilianu: Pallavvolu
සිංහල: වොලිබෝල්
Simple English: Volleyball
slovenčina: Volejbal
slovenščina: Odbojka
کوردی: بالە
српски / srpski: Одбојка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Odbojka
Basa Sunda: Bola Voli
suomi: Lentopallo
svenska: Volleyboll
Tagalog: Volleyball
татарча/tatarça: Волейбол
తెలుగు: వాలీబాల్
Türkçe: Voleybol
Türkmençe: Woleýbol
тыва дыл: Волейбол
українська: Волейбол
اردو: والی بال
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ۋالىبول
Vahcuengh: Baizgiuz
vèneto: Bałavoło
Tiếng Việt: Bóng chuyền
walon: Volebal
Yorùbá: Volleyball
粵語: 排球
žemaitėška: Tėnklėnis
中文: 排球