Volleyball – History & Informations

What has initially started with not letting the ball touch the floor in 1895 in Massachusetts has become one of the most popular ball sports worldwide. Due to the volleying nature of the game, the game, originally called “Mintonette”, became known as Volley Ball (originally spelled as two words). On a court that is separated by a net, six players per team are trying to ground the ball on the opponent’s court without touching the ball more than 3 times. If successful, the team scores one point as well as the right of service. The volleyball itself consists of slightly bolstered up leather or synthetic material wrapped around a bladder. The ball is much more lighter than a basketball or football. Although that sounds rather easy, volleyball only works with a fixed regulatory, which did not develop over night. A global association called FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) was specifically founded in 1947 in Paris and subordinates five continental associations. The Confédération Africaine de Volleyball (CAVB), the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) for Asia and Oceania, the Confédération Européenne de Volleyball (CEV) for Europe, the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) for North- and Middle America as well as the Caribbean and the Confederación Sudamericana de Voleibol (CSV) for South America. The world association does not only lay down the rules, but also developed tournaments in order for nations or teams to compete with each other. Since the Olympic games 1964 in Tokyo, volleyball has been an Olympic summer sport. The current Olympic winner in the men’s category is Russia and Brazil in the women’s category. The world volleyball association FIVB represents 220 nations in total. The current leading countries in volleyball are Poland, Brazil, the USA, Italy and the above-mentioned Olympic winner Russia. Afterwards, Japan, Serbia, China or Germany follow. According to estimates by the FIVB, one sixth of the world population participates actively or as audience member in the volleyball category.

Technical details of a volleyball game…

The size of a volleyball court is established by the regulatory. The volleyball court is 18 m long and 9 m wide. In the men’s category, the top of the net is 2.43 m above the center of the court, and 2.24 m for women’s competition. The so-called rotation rule is also a characteristic of volleyball. All six players of the team have to switch positions in a given sequence (at least until the ball is served). This means that every player gets to be the server as well as the blocker. Nevertheless, every player has, of course, a main task. The middle blocker, for example, has the task to block the opponent’s attacks right at the net. The outside hitter, on the other hand, has to block the ball at the edges as well as prepare or finish an attack. A special role in volleyball is advised to the libero. This person is the specialist for receiving the attack or serving. He more or less directs the defence of the team. A libero is only allowed to spike as long as the ball is underneath the (virtual) top of the net and therefore it can be said that his main tasks are mainly limited to blocking the opponent’s attacks and serving. In order to apply more tactical possibilities in one game, each team is allowed to substitute six times per set. A set is won as soon as a team scores 25 points with a two-point margin. If the team does not have a two-point margin once they scored 25 points, the set is prolonged until one team reaches the required margin. In order to win, a team has to win three sets (best-of-five). The winner of an eventual deciding set (called tiebreak), is the team, who scores 15 points and has the required two-point margin. If this margin is not reached once the team scores the above-mention points, the game continues as long as the two-point margin is reached.

Volleyball on the beach or Beachvolleyball

The national reporting differs from country to country. In Poland and Russia, for example, the reporting about the Volleyball Leagues and the national team is rather extensive. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, on the other hand, volleyball is rather considered as fringe sport. Currently, the variation of volleyball, which developed in 1920 in America, experiences a boom. Beach volleyball is the outdoor version of the classic indoor volleyball and is played on sand. The court is 16×8 meter and therefore, each team has a court of 8×8 meters available. Here again, a net separates the court (in the men’s category, the top of the net is 2.43m above the centre and in the women’s category it is 2.24 m). The balls used are more colourful and have a more resistant surface than indoor volleyballs, as they have to beard sand and water. Beach volleyball is an Olympic sport since 1996 and enjoys a great number of audience members in the stadiums and in front of the TV. Two teams of two players play to win two sets in order to win the match. At the beginning, beach volleyball was dominated by the USA and Brazil, but by now nations such as Germany, China and Australia have managed to win world championships as well as Olympic medals.

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