• Volleyball History


Volleyball, which originated in the United States, is only now 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.

Over 46 million Americans play volleyball and more than 800 million players worldwide play the sport at least once a week.

In 1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusettes, decided to incorporate elements of basketball, tennis, handball, and baseball to create a game for his classes of businessmen which would demand less physical contact than basketball. He called the game mintonette and 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, 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. On July 7, 1896 at Springfield College the first game of "volleyball" was played.

Year Event
1895 William G. Morgan created the game of volleyball.
1900 A special ball was designed for the sport.
1916 An offensive style of passing the ball in a high trajectory to be struck by another player was introduced in the Philippines. It marked the introduction of the pass and spike.
1917 The game was changed from 21 to 15 points.
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 The United States Volleyball Association (USVBA, now USA Volleyball) was formed. The first U.S. Open was staged, as the field was open to both YMCA and non-YMCA squads.
1930 The first two-man beach game was played.
1934 The approval and recognition of national volleyball referees.
1937 Action was taken to recognize the U.S. Volleyball Association as the official National Governing Body (NGB) in the U.S.
1947 The Federation Internationale De Volley-Ball (FIVB) was founded.
1948 The first two-man beach tournament was held.
1949 The initial World Championships were held in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
1964 Volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
1965 The California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) was formed.
1975 The U.S. National Women's team began a year-round training regime in Pasadena, Texas (moved to Colorado Springs in 1979, Coto de Caza and Fountain Valley, CA in 1980, and San Diego, CA in 1985).
1977 The U.S. National Men's team began a year-round training regime in Dayton, Ohio. (The team moved to San Diego, CA in 1981).
1983 The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was formed.
1984 The U.S. won their first medals at the Olympics in Los Angeles. The Men won the Gold, and the Women the Silver.
1986 The Women's Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) was formed.
1988 The U.S. Men won another Gold in the Korea Olympics.
1990 The World League was created.
1995 The sport of Volleyball was 100 years old!
1996 2-person beach volleyball debuted as an Olympic Sport.
1999 Beach volleyball was included in the Pan American Games that were held in Canada.
2000 Eric Fomoimoana and Dain Blanton win the Olympic Beach Volleyball Men's Gold medal for the USA. The women's Beach Volleyball America (BVA) announces their inaugural season of play.
2002 Beach volleyball court dimensions reduced to 8m x 8m per side.
2003 Karch Kiraly becomes the first player to earn US$3M in prize money and oldest player to win an AVP tournament at age 42 years, 9 months and 14 days. (You're never too old for volleyball!)
2004 Kerri Walsh and Misty May win the Women's Olylmpic Beach Volleyball Gold medal.
2008 Misty May Trainer and Carri Walsh win the Olympic Beach Volleyball Women's Gold medal for the USA.

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser win the Olympic beach volleyball Men's Gold medal for the USA.

US Men's indoor team wins the Gold medal and the women take the silver.
2012 Misty May Trainer and Carri Walsh win the Olympic Beach Volleyball Women's Gold medal for the USA.

US Women's indoor team wins the silver medal.
2016 American Men’s and Women’s indoor teams win bronze medals in the Rio Olympic games for the USA.

US Women's beach team wins the bronze medal.