Volleyball was created in 1895 when William G. Morgan created the game by combining some characteristics from tennis and handball. The original game was called Mintonette and did not have a limit on players. The early game used a net that was six feet and six inches high in the middle of a 25x50 foot court. The game eventually took on the name volleyball after an observer noticed how the ball was volleyed back and forth in 1896.
Volleyball was added to the Olympics as a full time sport in the 1964 Summer Olympics.
The current rules for volleyball allow two teams of six players to play against one another. The goal of the sport is to hit the ball over the net and onto the court of the opponent's side.
The game begins much like tennis, with a serve thrown up into the air and then hit over to the opponents' side. The opponents can hit the ball three times before it must be returned over the net. This continues on until one team ends the rally, by either making a kill (grounding the ball onto the other side of the court, and earning a point) or by a committing a fault.
There are several types of fault in the game of volleyball including: causing the ball to hit the net or hitting the net in any manner, hitting the ball on the ground outside of the opponents court, a playing hitting the ball twice in consecutive hits, catching the ball and touching the ball four times on one side of the net. The game consists of several sets, and can have different scoring rules depending on the league and country. NCAA women's games are set up to play to 25 points (with the winner being two points ahead) for each set, with a match being a best of five. In this situation, if a fifth set is necessary, it will only be played to 15 points. Men's collegiate games play to 30 points and men's high school games also go to 25 points. High school teams do not play five sets and instead only play three. Some women's high school volleyball teams play sets to 15 points only.
Teams take turns in rotating players who serve, every time they gain the serve in a game, and all players rotate on the court in a clockwise direction. Even though the players rotate, there are still several specific roles on the team:
* Liberos: Liberos are defensive players that wear jerseys a different color than the rest of their team. Their role in the game is mainly receiving attacks or the serve, and these players typically displaying the best passing skills on the team. This position can substitute for any player on the court at any time, and they never play at the net.
* Middle Blockers/Hitters: These players primarily specialize in blocking. Most teams will have two of these players on the floor.
* Opposite Hitters/Right Side Hitters: An opposite hitter will help with the defensive load on the front row. They mainly put up defensive blocks against the other teams outside hitters. They can also be used as a backup setter when necessary.
* Outside Hitters/Left Side Hitters: The outside hitters attack from the left side and tend to get the most sets of anyone else on the squad. Two outside hitters normally play in each match.
* Setters: Setters are typically the second player to touch the ball and start the offensive attack. They work to place the ball into the air so the other players on the team can smack the ball to the opponents in an attempt to score a point.
There are several different ways to hit the ball in volleyball including the attack, block, dig, pass, serve and set:
* Attack: This play is also known as the spike and is typically the final time the offensive team touches the ball prior to it heading into opponent territory. This move is used to attempt to ensure the ball cannot be returned, and is usually hit straight down on the opponents' side of the net. If the opposing team is not able to return the spike, it is referred to as a kill.
* Block: Blocking is a defensive move and it is used to stop an offensive attack by an opponent. Players attempting to block will stand at the net with their arms straight up in the air, with the goal being the ball hitting off their arms and heading back into their opponents' territory. In some defensive schemes, multiple players will all block at the same time.
* Dig: Players using a dig are performing the move to stop the ball from touching the ground. This move is usually accompanied with a dive or a fall so the player can get their arms and hands underneath the ball.
* Pass: This form of hitting the ball is also called a reception. A pass is used to handle the opponent's serve so the player can help begin the offensive attack. This can be achieved by a bump (hitting the ball with both hands together under the waist), or by a set.
* Serve: To complete a serve the serving player stands behind the inline of the court and throws the ball into the air and then hits it over the net. If a serve is hit and immediately hits the court without being hit by an opponent is called an ace. There are several different ways to complete a serve, and it does not always have to be overhand. However, most of the higher levels of volleyball do not employ the use of underhand serves, as overhand serves are generally faster and more powerful.
* Set: A set is used to set up an attack or spike. It is generally a ball played with only the player's fingertips and is more pushed than hit into the air. This hit is typically the second touch of the ball and sets up for the offense to try to score a point.
The court played on in today's game is 18 meters long and nine meters wide, and is divided into two nine meter halves by a net that runs seven feet and 11 5/8 inches from the floor in men's volleyball games, and seven feet and 4 1/8 inches for women's games.
The size ball used for volleyball does not vary by age or gender, but by various volleyball governing bodies. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball states that the ball needs to be made of either leather or some type of synthetic leather and needs to be spherical with a circumference of 65-67 centimeters. The rules regarding ball sizes from other federations and volleyball groups are very similar.