How Old Is Volleyball?

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Volleyball, like many sports, has a fascinating history behind its origins. If you have started playing this sport and are curious about it, you may be wondering “how old is volleyball?”, who invented it, and what its history is.

How Old Is Volleyball?

Volleyball was invented in 1895, thus, this sport has been active for more than a century. On top of that, its audience has been growing increasingly over the last few years, making it one of the most famous sports in the world.

The person who invented volleyball was William G. Morgan, a physical director of the Young Men’s Christian Association. However, it was not called volleyball at first, as William decided to name this sport ‘’Mintonette’’, an indoor sport for professional men.

An image of playing volleyball

Yet, this didn’t last for too long. Shortly after, a professor from Springfield College proposed the name “volleyball.” He did it because he saw how each player should volley the ball, and decided that this term would better describe the sport.

Why Was Volleyball Created?

One of the most interesting facts about volleyball’s birth is that it began as a mix. This means that William G. Morgan blended the concepts of basketball, badminton, and tennis to create volleyball; a much less intense sport than others.

Some people speculate that William thought the other sports were too energetic and demanded a lot of stamina. After all, they had to sprint back and forward on their courts. This is why, in volleyball, athletes don’t have to run long distances inside of the court.

Also, he wanted older people to be able to play it. Busy adults beyond the age of fifty or sixty could not join other sports due to the optimal fitness they required. As a result, William planned to develop one in which they could also take part.

Volleyball History Timeline

Over the years, volleyball has gone through a lot of changes that have made the game much more interesting and playable. This is because, since it quickly became a famous sport, it required professional rules for the players, coaches, and viewers to follow.

From 1895 to 1920

  • In 1895 ‘’Mintonette’’ was created by William G. Morgan, the physical director of the Young Men’s Association in Massachusetts. Shortly after, the name changed to ‘’Volleyball’’.
  • In 1900 the sport began to be famous, yet, there was no official ball that was comfortable enough to play with. This is when William asked the A.G. Spalding & Bros factory to design the first volleyball ball.
  • In 1916, since the sport became international, it began to quickly develop new techniques and ways of playing it. This is when the Philippines created the concept of the ‘’Spike’’ and the ‘’Set’’.
  • In 1917, the point system changed. Prior to that year, players needed to score 21 points to win a set; after the rule change, they just needed to score 15. This was later adjusted in 1998 to the current point system (25 points to win the set).
  • In 1920 the sport kept growing and many changes were adopted. This is where the ‘’three hits per side’’ rule came into reality. On top of that, It was declared that players could play the ball with any part of their body above the waist.
An image of players playing beach volleyball

From 1920 to Actuality

  • The first tournaments started between 1922 and 1928 in the USA. This led to the creation of the United States Volleyball Association (USA Volleyball). After all, there was no organization to apply the rules before this.
  • In 1947 the FIVB (Federation Internationale De Volleyball) was created.
  • In 1964, volleyball reached its peak and it was introduced as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
  • In 1983, the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) was created. Then, three years later, the WAVP (Woman Association of Volleyball Professionals) came into reality too.
  • In 2000, a new player was introduced as the ‘’libero’’; a role that is able to substitute freely at almost every turn.
  • From 2001 to actuality, the game has increasingly become popular among players of all genders and capabilities.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about volleyball.

How Old Is Beach Volleyball?

Beach volleyball started in 1915, around thirty years after indoor volleyball. Many players believe it originated on the beaches of Hawaii, while others believe it emerged on the beaches of Santa Monica, California.

At the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996, it was designated as an Olympic sport.

How Old Is Sitting Volleyball?

This type of volleyball was introduced in the Netherlands in 1956 for athletes with limitations. Then, at the 1980 Arnhem Paralympics, it was formally recognized as a Paralympic sport.


Volleyball has undergone multiple changes over the years. However, every change to its rules adds depth to the game, allowing athletes to compete comfortably. These adjustments also make the game considerably more interesting for viewers.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.