Introduction to Volleyball

Volleyball is played by two teams of six players on a court divided by a net. The object is to send, or 'volley' the ball over the net and score the most points - these are earned by making the ball touch the ground on the opposition's side of the court. Players can use their arms and hands to hit the ball a maximum of three times in their own court before it must be hit over the net to the opposition side.

The ball is put in play with a service: hit by the server over the net to their opponents. The round continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes out of the marked lines on the court or a team fails to return it properly.

The team that wins that round scores a point. When the receiving team wins a point, it gains a point and the right to serve, and its players rotate one position clockwise.



Volleyball was created in 1895 by William Morgan, who developed the sport by blending elements of basketball, baseball, tennis and handball. Morgan originally named the game 'mintonette' but later changed it to reflect the action of the ball being volleyed over the net.

Through the reach of the international YMCA network, volleyball quickly spread all over the world, with Japan playing the game by 1896, followed closely by other Asian countries and regions.

Canada took up volleyball in 1900, Cuba followed in 1906, Japan 1908, China in 1911, and US troops took the sport to Europe during WWI.

A specially designed ball came into play in 1900 and six-a-side games became standard from 1918. Beach volleyball started on beaches in Santa Monica, California, in the 1920s.

The first Volleyball Federation was founded in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria in 1922. A meeting in Paris led to the formation of the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (International Volleyball Federation) in 1947.

Men's world championships were held for the first time in 1949 and women's championships in 1952.

Volleyball first appeared in the Asian Games before it became an Olympic sport. It was an event contested at the 3rd Asian Games, held in 1958.



The playing area includes the playing court and the free zone. It is rectangular and symmetrical, with the playing court measuring 18m x 9m, surrounded by a free zone which is a minimum of 3m wide on all sides.

Free playing space is the space above the playing area which is free from any obstruction, measuring a minimum of 7m in height from the playing surface.

The net is placed vertically over the centre line and its top is set at the height of 2.43m for men, 2.24m for women.

All teams attending the Games should consist of a maximum of 12 players, one coach, one assistant coach, one trainer and one medical doctor.

In each game the team - six players form each team on court - scores a point by successfully grounding the ball in the opponent's court or when the opposing team commits a fault and receives a penalty.

A set is won by the team which first scores 25 points with a minimum lead of two points. In the case of a 24-24 tie, play is continued until a two-point lead is achieved (26-24; 27-25;...).

Matches are played over five sets. In the event of a deciding set, if the scores are level at 2-2, the final set will be won by the team which reaches 15 points with a minimum lead of two points.

The match is won by the team which wins three sets.