Written by Sunny

Modified & Updated: 05 Mar 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Volleyball spike hand block over the net

Are you ready to explore the world of volleyball? From the origins and rules of this exciting team sport, to some fun and surprising facts about professional players, there’s something for everyone in this list of 19 volleyball facts. Put on your knee pads and get ready to dive into an overview of one of the most competitive sports around – and don’t be surprised if you develop a newfound appreciation for its strategic components and intense game play!

Table of Contents

Origin of Volleyball

Volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan, a physical education instructor at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Morgan wanted to create a new game that was less physically demanding than basketball, which had been invented just four years earlier. He combined elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create what he originally called “Mintonette.”

Name Change

The name “volleyball” was suggested by Alfred Halstead, who observed that the game involved “volleying” the ball back and forth over the net. The name was officially changed in 1896, and the sport has been known as volleyball ever since.

Olympic Debut

Volleyball made its Olympic debut in 1964 at the Tokyo Summer Games. Both men’s and women’s competitions were held, with the Soviet Union winning gold in both categories.

Beach Volleyball

Beach volleyball, a variation of the indoor game, was developed in the 1920s on the beaches of California. Beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996, at the Atlanta Summer Games.

Boys and girls playing volleyball on the beach
Image from Adobe Stock

The Official Volleyball

The official volleyball is made of leather or synthetic leather and is about the size of a soccer ball. It weighs between 9 and 10 ounces (260 to 280 grams) and has a circumference of approximately 25.5 to 26.5 inches (65 to 67 centimeters).

The Court

A standard volleyball court measures 18 meters (59 feet) long and 9 meters (29.5 feet) wide. The net divides the court into two equal halves and is positioned 2.43 meters (7 feet, 11 ⅝ inches) high for men and 2.24 meters (7 feet, 4 ⅛ inches) high for women.

Six Players Per Team

In indoor volleyball, each team has six players on the court at a time. The players rotate positions clockwise each time their team wins back the serve.

Scoring System

Volleyball matches are played in a best-of-five sets format. To win a set, a team must score 25 points and have at least a two-point advantage over their opponents. If the match reaches a fifth set, the set is played to 15 points with a two-point advantage required.

Rally Scoring

Volleyball uses a rally scoring system, meaning a point is awarded after every rally, regardless of which team serves. This system was introduced in 1999 to speed up the game and make it more spectator-friendly.


There are six positions in volleyball: setter, outside hitter, middle blocker, opposite hitter, libero, and defensive specialist. Each position has specific responsibilities and skills that contribute to the team’s success.

Female players playing volleyball in the court
Image from Adobe Stock

The Libero

The libero is a specialized defensive player who wears a contrasting jersey and is allowed to replace any back-row player without counting as a substitution. The libero cannot serve, spike, or block.


The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is the international governing body for volleyball. Founded in 1947, the FIVB is responsible for organizing major international competitions, such as the World Championships and the Olympic Games, as well as setting the rules and regulations for the sport.

Most Successful Countries

The United States, Brazil, and the Soviet Union/Russia are among the most successful countries in volleyball history. These nations have won numerous Olympic medals and World Championship titles in both indoor and beach volleyball.

Greatest Volleyball Player of All-Time

Karch Kiraly is considered one of the greatest volleyball players of all time. The American athlete is the only player to have won Olympic gold medals in both indoor (1984 and 1988) and beach volleyball (1996).

The Spike

The spike, also known as the attack or the hit, is a powerful offensive move in which a player jumps and hits the ball with force, aiming to score a point by sending it over the net and into the opponent’s court. The spike is one of the most exciting and crucial plays in volleyball.

The Block

A block is a defensive move in which one or more players jump near the net to stop the opponent’s attack by blocking the ball back into their court. Blocks can be executed by single players or in coordination with teammates.

The Serve

The serve starts each rally in volleyball. A player stands behind the end line and sends the ball over the net into the opponent’s court. There are various types of serves, including the underhand serve, the overhand serve, the jump serve, and the float serve.

Female professional volleyball player with ball
Image from Adobe Stock

Volleyball Variations

There are several variations of volleyball played around the world, such as sitting volleyball (played by athletes with physical disabilities), snow volleyball (played on snow), and footvolley (a combination of volleyball and soccer).


Volleyball is one of the most popular sports globally, with an estimated 800 million players and fans. The sport is particularly popular in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Its widespread appeal can be attributed to its accessibility, as it can be played indoors, outdoors, and on various surfaces.


If you’ve read through this list of 19 volleyball facts, you may have noticed something about this sport: it’s endlessly fascinating. Volleyball has a long history and its own unique set of rules and strategies – so why not take some time to dig a little deeper, either by signing up for one of your local leagues or at least taking some time to learn volleyball terms more intimately? You never know; maybe reading through all of these facts made you realize that there’s even more to love about playing or watching volleyball. So pick up that ball, put on your knee pads, and explore all that the game has to offer!

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