Volleyball is one of the truly global world
sports, played in sports halls and arenas at the top international
level and in the open air, in parks, in open spaces and on
beaches throughout the world. Over 800 million players worldwide
play volleyball regularly, at least once a week. This makes
Volleyball one of the most popular indoor team sports in the
Volleyball is a game that can cater for all no matter what
age or sex, disabled or able-bodied. It can be played both
indoors, in a gym or a sports hall or outside in a park or
on the beach. Different versions of the game also exist so
the game can be played two, three and four a side, as well
as the more usual six a side.
It is as easy as 1-2-3!
(Photos taken by Jon McGugan, Jan 2005 World Championship
Qualifiers, EIS Sheffield)
Volleyball has come a long way from its origins in 1895,
when it was invented in Massachusetts, USA by William G. Morgan
as a means to keep businessmen fit. Volleyball has grown to
become one of the three big international team sports, and
the FIVB, with its 218 affiliated national federations, is
one of the largest international sporting federations in the
The beach volleyball phenomenon is also hugely visible, and
still relatively young as an Olympic sport, having been introduced
in Atlanta in 1996. Since then it has enjoyed overwhelming
spectator and television success at the Sydney and Athens
Games, thus opening up Volleyball to a completely new market.
The Game - Volleyball
Volleyball, as an indoor sport, is a sport played by two
teams made up of a squad twelve players, of which only six
are allowed on court at any one time. The object of the game
is to hit the ball down on to the floor of the opponent's
court or to put them under pressure and force them to make
Play starts by one player serving the ball over the net from
behind the baseline. When the ball has passed over the net,
the receiving team may hit the ball three times before it
must pass back over the net.
The first touch is normally used to play the ball towards
the net, to the 'setter'. The 'setter' then plays the ball
along the net for one of the 'attackers' who runs in and jumps
up to smash the ball over the net into the opponent's court.
To defend against this, one, two or three of the opposing
team's front line players jump together and form a block to
intercept the smash, trying to force the ball back into the
If these players fail to stop the smash, the remaining members
of the team attempt to control the ball before it hits the
floor and build up an attack of their own.
The Court and equipment
The playing area is 18m long by 9m wide, surrounded by a ‘free
zone’ of at least 3m. The playing surface should be
flat, horizontal and uniform. Indoors it is played on a sprung
wood floor or suitable synthetic surface. The net height is
set at 2.43m for men and 2.24m high for women. It is essential
that the net is taut, so that the ball will rebound from it.
Two flexible antennae are fastened to the net above the sidelines.
The ball has to cross the net between the antennae. Nowadays
the ball is multicoloured and made from synthetic leather
materials. It should be spherical and not weigh more than
The Game – Beach Volleyball
International Beach Volleyball is played on a sand court measuring
16m long by 8m wide between two teams each of two persons.
The objective of the game is similar to Volleyball played
indoors or in parks, with broadly similar rules, and with
techniques of serving, passing, hitting and blocking that
have been learnt in the indoor game. Naturally the playing
surface is different – and landings softer!
The Game – Learning Volleyball
Volleyball is usually introduced in small sided games, playing
2, 3 or four persons-a-side. This is often referred to as
Mini-Volleyball. The court is smaller and the net height lower
for younger age groups. To assist the teaching of Volleyball
the English Volleyball Association has produced information
for schools and school teachers.
If you want to find out more about playing volleyball or
even becoming a coach or referee, visit the English Volleyball
Association website at www.volleyballengland.org
or contact us at:
English Volleyball Association
Loughborough Technology Centre
Tel: 01509 631699