What Is Volleyball? This. Is. Volleyball.
January 12, 2019
Just like their players, the sport of volleyball continues to soar. Whether it be in the Olympic games, a professional league or simply a school court, volleyball is a sport that can be played in any area of the world. Despite players predominantly starting at the age of around 7, youngsters can get some early experience with the rules of the game – keep the balloon from touching the floor!
Recognised as one of the most popular games across the world, there are an estimated 800 million weekly participants of volleyball across the globe. First originating in the United States, courtesy of William G. Morgan, the first ball to officially be struck over a net was at Springfield College in 1896. After years of natural progression, with regards to rules and regulations, the sport soon captured the heart of players in all countries.
In 1964, the Summer Olympics officially added volleyball to their programme and it has been present at the games ever since. The Soviet Union were the sport’s initial dominators, claiming the first and second gold medal at the games. They might not have conquered their mission of worldwide socialism, but they were seriously talented at volleyball. You know, silver linings and all that.
What Is Volleyball?
The basic playing surface of volleyball will most likely be familiar to most – it is played on an 18m long court that is 9m wide, with a net in the centre. In a men’s game the net is 8ft high and for women, it is 7ft 4. Despite the constant diving around of players to try and prevent the ball from hitting the ground, the surface tends to be rather hard. The knee pads aren’t just a fashion accessory!
In terms of scoring points, you will be pleased to know that volleyball has adopted a simple scoring system. The first team to claim 3 sets is the winner of the game, with 25 points resulting in a set. For a set to be won, the team will need to have beaten their opponents by at least 2 clear points. In the case of the game being drawn at 2 sets each, the next game will only go to 15 points.
How do you score a point we hear you ask? Well, the clue is in the name of the game. You must hit the ball over the net and onto your oppositions scoring zone (this is measured at 9m x 9m). If the ball lands on the line, this will count as a point. Unfortunately, unlike tennis, there is an umpire looking referee, but no ‘challenge’ calls. Still, the excitement remains.
Before the ball goes over the net, a team is only allowed to touch the ball a maximum of three times. This is usually done via a bump (pass), a setup (hitting up of the ball) before an attack/spike. The ‘spike’ is our personal favourite term. In terms of general rules, there is nothing too complex about volleyball’s regulations:
- Can sub up to 6 players per set
- 6 starting players – 3 at the back, with 3 in the middle
- If the ball lands outside of the lines, the opponent is given the point
- When a point is won, all players must rotate one position clockwise
- Each game begins with a serve (determined by a coin toss before play starts).
Another rule that viewers will need to familiarise themselves with is the libero. First introduced in 1998, the libero player wears a different coloured jersey to their teammates. Usually the most agile member of the team, this player flourishes in their defensive skills and cannot attack the ball. The libero can substitute with any backline player as much as he/she likes, without giving the officials notice.
Where Is It Played?
Having originated in the United States, it is of no surprise to see that volleyball still maintains a popular presence in American sports. It is a prominent feature in high schools across all states, with there being more opportunities for girls than boys. Given the heavy TV coverage and attention that is paid to the likes of the NFL, basketball and baseball, it is obviously hard for any sport to breakthrough into the mainstream media in America. However, volleyball consistently boasts high player activity in the country.
Despite the history books having the USA down in being the founders of volleyball, perhaps no other nation has done more for the sport than Brazil. Aside from their obsession with football, volleyball is the most popular sport in Brazil and their national team’s Olympic success is a testament to the country’s dedication to the game. With 10 indoor medals and 9 World Championship indoor medals, only the Soviet Union can boast a more successful record at the games than Brazil.
On the note of the Soviet Union, volleyball is also a popular sport in Russia. Despite many of the medals being credited to the USSR, Russia’s contribution to the game cannot go unrecognised. Although their recent success on the world stage is not what it used to be, volleyball is still played professionally in the country, whilst also being a popular game in schools and colleges.
Where Can I Bet On Volleyball?
As a high-speed game, with points occurring often, volleyball is a popular sport amongst punters. Given the fact that there must be a winner, there are various volleyball betting odds and you can find a whole host the bookmakers offering prices.
Try and strike your way to victory when you bet on volleyball (See what we did there?)!
As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.