The History of Volleyball

As you are looking through for your next pair of volleyball shoes or are talking with your teammates about your next match, many are left a little ignorant about how volleyball came to be a sport. That may not be a big deal to many, but understanding the history of the sport is important.

Over the years we have not only seen indoor volleyball become one of the most popular sports on the planet, especially for women, but beach volleyball is rising in popularity as well. This is a sport that has been played on campgrounds and beaches for generations, but now is being recognized for its stiff level of competition.

1900 – A Ball Is Born

While forms of volleyball had been around for decades prior to 1900, it was in this year that the first ball was specifically designed for the sport. Many other forms of ball had been used up to this point, but the definitive volleyball was created in 1900.

Amazingly, it took 16 years for two of the most essential plays in the sport to be introduced – the spike and the set. It is amazing to think that these were not original parts of the game, but they have only been an official part for about 100 years now.

Scoring change slightly over the next few years. Some scoring systems moved from 21 to 15 points per game. Later, the Olympics would change the scoring system to 25 per game. In fact, in 1964 volleyball was first introduced to the Olympic Games, occurring in the Tokyo games.

Competitive leagues had existed since 1937. The first was founded in Boston that year, and 10 years later the International Federation of Volleyball was founded. Leagues rose up in Czechoslovakia, where the first world championships would occur in 1949.

It took longer for women’s leagues to be established, but that finally came to fruition in 1986 when the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association was formed. In 1995, the sport officially celebrated its 100th anniversary. While it had been in existence prior to that, it had not been recognized as an official sport until 1895. One year later, beach volleyball was added to the Olympics.

It is quite interesting to see how this board has grown up over the years. We are coming up on its 125th anniversary, and it is becoming more popular around the globe with each passing year.

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