Volleyball history is closely related to another popular sport, four years before its introduction – basketball.

A game for middle-aged people

In 1895, William G. Morgan held the position of Head of Physical Education at the YMCA (Christian Youth Association) in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Four years earlier, his colleague James Naismith gave birth to basketball. Naismith’s game quickly attracted, but there is a catch: not everyone can keep up the pace of the ball. Morgan needs a game that middle-aged men can play.

Morgan invented a new game, originally called mintonette. He chose this name because this new sport is related to badminton.

Mintonette plays on the pitch divided by a 6-foot-6-inch (1.98m) net. Two teams play back and forth until one team misses the ball. The first volleyball competition took place on July 7, 1896.

Everything changes fast

Morgan’s game quickly changed. One of the first changes was the name. Alfred Halstead is said to have renamed the sport “volley ball”. The number of players per team is also limited. In the beginning, a team is allowed to have as many players as possible, as long as it fits the yard 50×25 feet (7.62 × 15.24m).

The number of players is determined to be 9 for each side and then reduced to 6. Players have the right to alternate positions. As a rule, each team can touch the ball three times before hitting the net, initially with an unlimited number of touches.

The first volleyball ball was officially born in 1896. By 1900, the standard shape and weight of the ball were almost identical to today’s balls.

The height of the mesh has also been raised to further challenge. Today, the 8-foot (2.43m) overhead crest net is for men and 7 feet (2.24m) for women. Under the original rules, the team that wins 21 points will be the winner. In 1917, the score dropped to 15.

YMCA members brought this game from Holyoke to American mission schools in Asia. Volleyball has become very popular in the East. This game also spread to Russia. When international competitions began in the 1950s, Russia was a strong team. During World War I, the US military brought volleyball to Europe.