Volleyball Essay Research Paper VolleyballHistoryThe sport of

Volleyball Essay, Research Paper



The sport of volleyball originated in the United States, and is now just 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. Today there are more than 46 million Americans who play volleyball. There are 800 million players worldwide who play Volleyball at least once a week.

In 1895, William G. Morgan an instructor at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Mass., decided to blend elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create a game for his classes of businessmen which would demand less physical contact than basketball. He created the game of Volleyball (at that time called mintonette). Morgan 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 game, 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, 1900 at Springfield College the first game of “volleyball” was played. In 1900, a special ball was designed for the sport.

Volleyball can be played indoors and outdoors. It was adopted as an indoor Olympic sport in 1964 at Tokyo. In 1984 the United States men and women won their first Olympic Volleyball medals. In 1996, two-person beach volleyball was approved as an Olympic Sport. Today?s NCAA Volleyball is more popular and exciting than ever. Some top collegian programs include Long Beach State, Penn State, BYU, UCLA, Hawaii and Stanford.

Some of the best players ever to play the sport include Karch Kiraly, Gabrielle Reese, Sinjin Smith, Misty May and Ryan Millar. Today the game of volleyball requires team strategies and highly refined individual skills. Outdoor volleyball, which is played with two or four people for each side, is becoming more and more popular across the nation


A typical volleyball game lasts about 25 minutes. It is a team sport played by two teams consisting of six people on a playing court divided by a net. The object of the game is for each team to send the ball regularly over a net in order to ground it on the opponents? side, and to prevent the opponents from doing the same. The ball is put into play by the right back row player who serves the ball into their opponent?s court. The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes ?out? or a team fails to return it properly. Only the team, which is serving, can score a point. The players are split into back and front row; the players in the front are usually the key hitters and the ones who will get the ball passes/set to. The players in the back row normally concentrate on defense and passing the ball to the setter who is the main person in the offensive attack.

A team wins a game by scoring 15 points with a two-point advantage; and the match by winning the best three of five games. In a deciding, fifth game, which is called a rally game, a point is scored no matter which team is serving. A team earns a point when serving and when they side-out.


A team is allowed to hit the ball three times (not counting a block contact) to return it to the opponent?s court. A player may not catch, lift, scoop, or throw the ball. They also may not hit the ball twice consecutively when attempting a pass or block.

In a regular volleyball game, only the serving team may score a point. A player may serve anywhere behind the backline, but between the court?s boundary/side lines. A point is scored if the serving team wins the rally. If the serving team does not win the rally then it is a side-out to the other team. When the receiving team wins a rally, it gains the right to serve, and its players rotate one position clockwise. For instance, the player in the right back move to middle back, the player in left back moves to left front. Rotation ensures that players play both the front row and the back row.


For volleyball to be played you need, two poles, these can be posts that are placed into the floor or just metal poles with a strong base to hold them up. A sturdy net is need, boundary lines surrounding the court and ten-foot attack line on each side. A typical volleyball is made of leather and inflated to 25 5/8 inches circumference, weighing between 9 and 10 ounces.



A pass is used to direct the ball, where the setter will set the ball to one of the hitters; the same skill is called digging when you’re receiving a spike. Passing is, by far, the most important skill in volleyball because it keeps your opponent from scoring easy points with service aces, and it is the foundation of a strong offense. When passing, you should be in a relatively “medium” body position. Your knees and back are bent, but not uncomfortably so. Prepare to move to the ball by placing your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and having your weight on the balls of your feet.

In volleyball there are five basic skills, passing/bumping/digging, setting, serving, spiking/attacking, and blocking.

As you get in position to pass the ball, create a “passing platform” with your forearms. To do this, keep your arms straight as you bring them together and align your thumbshafts. What you do with your hands — one fist inside the other, one hand laying flat on the other, interlacing your fingers, etc. — really doesn’t matter so long as your thumbshafts are even and pointed toward the floor.


Setting is usually the second contact on your side of the net. It is the two-handed above-the-head motion used to place the ball close to the net so a hitter can attack it into the opponent’s court. Setting involves simply letting the ball fall into your hands, directly above your forehead, and push it back into the air. To set the ball cleanly, you must sprint to where the ball is falling that it will land directly on your forehead. Turn your feet, hips, and shoulders in the direction you intend to set the ball; that is, don?t face the direction the ball is coming from. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, with your right foot 3″ or 4″ in front of your left and your weight on your left foot. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight. Raise your hands to your forehead. As you wait for the ball to fall to you, your arm and hand position is extremely important. Your elbows should be slightly above your shoulders, and positioned at about a 45? angle from your chest. Your elbows will be bent about 90?, which should place your hands 4″ or 5″ above your eyes, with your thumbs and forefingers about 6″ apart. Your palms should be angled toward each other, with your thumbs pointing at each other or back at your nose (not toward the ball). Your hands must be open, with all your fingers relaxed and slightly curled. “Cock” your wrists by pulling the base of both thumbs back toward your forearms. Your hands should form a large, soft, ball-shaped “cradle” for the ball to land in. As the ball touches your forefingers and thumbs, quickly (but softly) extend your arms and hands in the direction you want to set the ball. The ball should make contact with all of your forefingers, most of your middle fingers, and the pads (not the tips) of your thumbs. Your ring and pinky fingers will contact the ball as well, but only incidentally. Your palms should never touch the ball. Begin your setting motion as the ball contacts your hands (no earlier), and allow the stretch reflex to do its work. Step forward with your right foot as you extend your body. Follow the ball to hitter to help cover, in case s/he gets blocked.


As with any volleyball skill, you should use as little body motion as possible when you serve. Prepare to serve by standing just behind the baseline with your weight on your right foot (for right-handers) and your left foot slightly in front. Hold the ball at your waist with both hands. When the referee whistles and motions for serve, you have five seconds to serve the ball.

There are two methods for tossing the ball: a one-handed toss and a two-handed toss. Raise the ball in front of your right shoulder with your arms nearly straight, keeping your left hand on the bottom of the ball and your right hand on top. Lift your right hand off the ball and slowly draw your right elbow back and slightly up, so that it passes by your right ear. When your right hand is even with your ear, begin the serving motion.

As you toss the ball, step forward with your left foot and transfer your weight from right to left. . As the toss nears its peak, begin your swing by reaching up with your elbow and slinging your hand at the ball. Make contact with the heel and palm of your hand and try not to let your fingers touch the ball. Follow through to your right hip, keeping your wrist stiff, and then move quickly to your defensive position.


Hitting (a.k.a. “spiking”) is usually a team’s third contact. It is an attempt to end the rally by hitting a ball that the opponent cannot return. There are three basic skills in spiking, approach, plant and jump, and contact.

Begin your approach 12′ to 15′ from the net. If you are hitting a left-side set, start far enough out of bounds to approach the set at about a 55-degree angle to the net. For a middle attack, approach at about a 75-degree angle. For a right-side attack, approach at about 90 degrees. Prepare for your approach by standing with your left foot approximately 18″ in front of your right, with your weight resting on the ball of your left foot. As the set nears its peak, take two quick sprinting steps, beginning with your right foot.

Next, contact the ground with your right heel, with your left foot making contact, almost simultaneously, about 4″ or 5″ in front of your right foot. As your feet strike the ground (actually, a moment before they strike the ground), begin your jumping motion by uncoiling every body part at once. As you push with your legs, pull as hard as you can with your back and arms. As you leave the ground your back will arch and your heels will curl up toward your butt. You are now in a prime hitting position.

Finally, As the ball falls in front of your right shoulder, initiate your swing by pulling your left elbow to your side, and reaching toward the ball with your right elbow. Your right hand follows your elbow toward the ball, and your arm straightens an instant before you make contact. Hit the ball with the heel and palm of your hand, and quickly whip your fingers through the top of the ball by snapping your wrist. Follow through to your right hip, not across your body. Your body will rotate quickly to the left as you swing, and your right shoulder will end up closer to the net than your left. Land softly on both feet and prepare to block.

Ninety-five percent of blocking is watching and positioning. First, watch the opponent’s pass; it will tell you a great deal about whom the setter will set. Second, watch the setter before he/she contacts the ball. Again, there will be clues about where the ball will go. Meanwhile, using your peripheral vision, watch the hitters; their positioning will tell you the planned location and height of the set. After the set is made, watch the ball long enough to know where it will come down, then turn all your attention to the hitter. As you position the block, focus all your attention on the hitter, noting the angle and speed of his/her approach. Go up after the attacker. Jump as high as you can, and the moment any body part — fingers, palms, wrists, forearms, etc — gets above the net, push it into the opponent’s air space. Keep your arms perfectly straight and try to squeeze your shoulders into your ears. Spread your fingers, point your thumbs toward the ceiling, and watch the hitter’s swing.


As you reach the peak of your jump, push your hands toward the center of the opponent’s court; this action angles your hands and arms so that ball deflects downward and toward the center of the court. As soon as you land, turn toward the center of your court and prepare to play offense: if you’re the setter, prepare to set; if you’re a hitter, sprint, (don’t back-pedal) to the start of your approach.


There are three basic strategies in volleyball. They are a 4-2, 5-1, and 6-2. A 4-2 is an offense with four spikers and two setters. The setters set when they are in the front row and defend when they are in the back row. A 5-1 offense consists of five spikers and one setter. A 6-2 offense has four spikers and two setters. The setters are spikers in the front row, and set when in the back row.

Court Layout

The volleyball net height from the floor to the top of the net for men is 7 feet 11 5/8

inches and for women is 7 feet 4 1/8 inches. The court measurements are as follows?..


Ace-a serve that lands in the opponent?s court without being touched

Blocking-a defensive play; attempting to block or stop the returning ball over or near the net

Cover-being positioned behind a spike or a block to field a ball glancing off a teammate

Dead ball-ball that is out of play

Dig-the art of passing an attacked ball close to the floor

Dive-defensive maneuver to recover a ball by extending to a prone position

Kill-A spike that is impossible to return

Rotation-clockwise movement of the players following a side-out

Service-putting the ball into play by the right back position

Set-a high pass that is generally the second play by a team to relay the ball for a spike

Side-out-ending of a team?s right to serve because of an infringement of a rule

Spike-a ball hit forcibly from a height above the net

Violation-a foul, such as a lift, double hit, or a four hits on one side


An important part of playing an active and strenuous sport is stretching. Players must warm-up and cool down muscles. Stretch arms as well as legs before playing. Kneepads may be worn for protection. Also, make sure the playing service and the surrounding area of the court is clear of any wet spots or obstacles that may cause injury.