A Brief History of Volleyball

Early History of Volleyball: The First 50 Years

In this brief history of volleyball, discover who invented the game,

and when the sport was introduced to numerous countries


In 1895, William G. Morgan (1870-1942) was credited for creating the

game of volleyball as a combination of four sports--basketball, baseball,

tennis, and handball.

At the time, Morgan was an instructor at the Young Men's Christian

Association which we know as the YMCA and was looking to develop an

activity which had less physical contact than basketball that he could

teach his classes of businessmen which were older gentlemen who

preferred to play a sport with less physical contact.

Initially his rules of the volleyball game called for a net to be placed

between two groups of any number of players who played for nine

innings with three serves allowed for both teams each inning.

Sounds almost like baseball, right?

Listen to this history about volleyball inventor William G. Morgan

Video created by Volleyball 1on1.com

With the exception of the first serve, hitting the volleyball into the net

was considered a foul or the right for the other team to serve the ball

which was called a "sideout."

Brief History of Volleyball: The Name Of The Volleyball Game

1896: Springfield College, formerly the International YMCA Training

School was the site of the first official game of volleyball.

One observer after watching the ball "volley" back and forth over the

net, suggested the name of the sport should be called "volleyball."

Brief History of Volleyball: The Volleyball Ball


  • 1900: A special ball was designed that was spherical, and made of

leather and sometimes plastic for the sport.

Some say that Spalding was responsible for creating the first

official volleyball, while others dispute this fact indicating that they

believe the ball was developed by someone else.

The Japanese volleyball ball used in the 1964 Olympics, consisted of

rubber carcass with leather panelling.  A similarly constructed ball is

used in most modern competition.

The 2008 Summer Olympics Volleyball competitions brought the

introduction of the new volleyball ball with a new moulding design

making it more softened compared to the Mikasa MVP200.

Brief History of Volleyball: The Development of the Game

  • 1914 - Volleyball was introduced to France

  • 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 - Volleyball was introduced to Great Britain

  • 1917 - YMCA introduced volleyball to Mexico
  • 1918 - Yugoslavia, Czechoslavakia learn the volleyball game
  • 1920 - Soviet Union learns the game of volleyball

Brief History of Volleyball Rules 

  • 1917: The rules of the volleyball game were changed so that the

winners were on the first team to score 15 points, instead of 21.

volleyball in Santa Monica, California where the first volleyball

courts are put up on the beach at the playground for families and friends

to play games of  six people on one side against six people on the other

side of the net.


concept of three hits per side per team along with other

developments which included prohibiting the back row players from

being allowed to attack the ball over the net.

The first modern day spike was developed in the Phillipines where

this particular skill was called the "Filipino bomb."


  • 1928: Additional rules of the game were established as well as

tournaments created when the United States Volleyball Association

(USVBA, now USA Volleyball) was formed. With the creation of the

USVBA, volleyball teams were formed with players who weren't

members  of the YMCA allowing for the first time all-male non-YMCA

teams to participate in the first US Open for volleyball.

  • 1930s: According to early accounts of the history about volleyball 

the first doubles team, consisting of two-men playing against two-men

on the beach was played in Santa Monica, California.


  • 1934: National volleyball referees were first recognized and 

approved in the mid 1930s.


volleyball's National Governing Body (NGB) in the United States at the

Amateur Athletic convention held in 1937 in Boston.


  • 1947: In an effort to unite and formalize the sport under one entity

several European national governing bodies worked together to create

the Federation Internationale De Volley-Ball (FIVB) which was centered

in Paris.

This video provides an account of the brief history of volleyball and

the role of the FIVB in the sports history.

  • 1949: The FIVB founded and organized the first World 

Championships tournament which was held in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

  • 1949: In this same year, after a 20-year history of volleyball with all-

male dominance in formalized volleyball competitions, the USVBA

opened itself up to allow the first women volleyball players to form

teams to play in the US Open.

  • 1949: The USVBA decided to add a collegiate division, for 

competitive college teams. For the first ten years collegiate competition

was sparse. 

Volleyball teams were formed by passionate 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.


Volleyball History: Where Do You Go From Here?

Where do you need to go now? 

Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about Volleyball Drills. 
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page                    Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Drills section in the drop down menu at the top of the page

  1. Improve Your Volleyball
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  3. History of USA Women in the Olympics
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  5. Brief History of Volleyball

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