History Of Indoor Volleyball

The sport originated in the United States, and is now just achieving the type of popularity in the U.S. that it has received on a global basis, where it ranks behind only soccer among participation sports

1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Mass., decided to blend elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create a game for his classes of businessmen which would demand less physical contact than basketball. He created the game of Volleyball (at that time called mintonette). Morgan borrowed the net from tennis, and raised it 6 feet 6 inches above the floor, just above the average man’s head

During a demonstration game, someone remarked to Morgan that the players seemed to be volleying the ball back and forth over the net, and perhaps “volleyball” would be a more descriptive name for the sport


  • July 7, 1896 – at Springfield College the first game of “volleyball” was played
  • 1900 – A special ball was designed for the sport
  • 1900 – YMCA spread volleyball to Canada, the Orient, and the Southern Hemisphere
  • 1905 – YMCA spread volleyball to Cuba
  • 1907 Volleyball was presented at the Playground of America convention as one of the most popular sports
  • 1909 – YMCA spread volleyball to Puerto Rico
  • 1912 – YMCA spread volleyball to Uruguay
  • 1913 – Volleyball competition held in Far Eastern Games
  • 1917 – YMCA spread volleyball to Brazil
  • 1916 – In the Philippines, an offensive style of passing the ball in a high trajectory to be struck by another player (the set and spike) were introduced. The Filipinos developed the “bomba” or kill, and called the hitter a “bomberino”
  • 1916 – The NCAA was invited by the YMCA to aid in editing the rules and in promoting the sport. Volleyball was added to school and college physical education and intramural programs
  • 1917 – The game was changed from 21 to 15 points
  • 1919 – American Expeditionary Forces distributed 16,000 volleyballs to it’s troops and allies. This provided a stimulus for the growth of volleyball in foreign lands
  • 1920 – three hits per side and back row attack rules were instituted
  • 1922 – the first YMCA national championships were held in Brooklyn, NY. 27 teams from 11 states were represented
  • 1928 – it became clear that tournaments and rules were needed, the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA, now USA Volleyball) was formed. The first U.S. Open was staged, as the field was open to non-YMCA squads
  • 1930’s – Recreational sports programs became an important part of American life
  • 1930 – The first two-man beach game was played
  • 1934 – The approval and recognition of national volleyball referees
  • 1937 – at the AAU convention in Boston, action was taken to recognize the U.S. Volleyball Association as the official national governing body in the U.S
  • 1940s – Forearm pass introduced to the game (as a desperation play) Most balls played with overhand pass
  • 1946 – A study of recreation in the United States showed that volleyball ranked fifth among team sports being promoted and organized
  • 1947 – The Federation Internationale De Volley-Ball (FIVB) was founded in Paris
  • 1948 – The first two-man beach tournament was held
  • 1949 – The first World Championships were held in Prague, Czechoslovakia
  • 1949 – USVBA added a collegiate division, for competitive college teams. For the first ten years collegiate competition was sparse. Teams formed only through the efforts of interested students and instructors. Many teams dissolved when the interested individuals left the college. Competitive teams were scattered, with no collegiate governing bodies providing leadership in the sport
  • 1951 – Volleyball was played by over 50 million people each year in over 60 countries
  • 1955 – Pan American Games included volleyball
  • 1957 – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) designated volleyball as an Olympic team sport, to be included in the 1964 Olympic Games
  • 1959 – International University Sports Federation (FISU) held the first University Games in Turin, Italy. Volleyball was one of the eight competitions held
  • 1960 – Seven midwestern institutions formed the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA)
  • 1960’s – New techniques added to the game included – The soft spike (dink), forearm pass (bump), blocking across the net, and defensive diving and rolling
  • 1964 – Volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo
  • 1964 – The Japanese volleyball used in the 1964 Olympics, consisted of a rubber carcass with leather panelling. A similarly constructed ball is used in most modern competition
  • 1974 – The World Championships in Mexico were telecast in Japan
  • 1983 – The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was formed
  • 1986 – The Women’s Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) was formed
  • 1987 – The FIVB added a Beach Volleyball World Championship Series
  • 1988 – The US Men repeated the Gold in the Olympics in Korea
  • 1989 – The FIVB Sports Aid Program was created
  • 1990 – The World League was created
  • 1995 – The sport of Volleyball was 100 years old!
  • 1996 – 2-person beach volleyball was added to the Olympics

One thought on “History Of Indoor Volleyball”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *