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Volleyball History and Facts

Volleyball history and facts for learning about this awesome sport! 

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. 

Fun facts on the history of volleyball

In 1900, a special ball was designed for the sport. 

1916: In the Philippines, an offensive style of passing the ball in a high trajectory to be struck by another player (the set and spike) were introduced. The Filipinos developed the "bomba" or kill, and called the hitter a "bomberino". 

In 1917, the game was changed from 21 to 15 points. 

In 1920, three hits per side and back row attack rules were instituted. 

In 1928, it became clear that tournaments and rules were needed, the United States Volleyball Association (USVBA, now USA Volleyball) was formed. The first U.S. Open was staged, as the field was open to non-YMCA squads. 

In 1930, the first two-man beach game was played. 

In 1934, the approval and recognition of national volleyball referees. 

In 1937, at the AAU convention in Boston, action was taken to recognize the U.S. Volleyball Association as the official national governing body in the U.S. 

In 1946, a study of recreation in the United States showed that volleyball ranked fifth among team sports being promoted and organized. 

In 1947, the Federation Internationale De Volley-Ball (FIVB) was founded. 

Volleyball History and Facts

In 1948, the first two-man beach tournament was held. 

In 1949, the initial World Championships were held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. 

In 1957, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) designated volleyball as an Olympic team sport, to be included in the 1964 Olympic Games. 

In 1964, Volleyball was introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

In 1965, the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) was formed. 

In 1974, the World Championships in Mexico were telecast in Japan. 

In 1975, the US National Women’s team began a year-round training regime in Pasadena, Texas (moved to Colorado Springs in 1979, Coto de Caza and Fountain Valley, CA in 1980, and San Diego, CA in 1985). 

In 1977, the US National Men’s team began a year-round training regime in Dayton, Ohio (moved to San Diego, CA in 1981). 

In 1983, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was formed. 

In 1984, the US won their first medals at the Olympics in Los Angeles. The Men won the Gold, and the Women the Silver. 

In 1986, the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association (WPVA) was formed. 

In 1988, the US Men repeated the Gold in the Olympics in Korea. 

In 1990, the World League was created. 

In 1995, the sport of Volleyball was 100 years old! 

In 1996, 2-person beach volleyball will be an Olympic Sport. 


USA Volleyball History and Facts

  • Volleyball was first played in the Olympic Games in 1964 (Tokyo) for indoor and 1996 (Atlanta) for beach, and in 1988 (Seoul) for Paralympic competition. With over 200 nations potentially vying for an Olympic berth, there are only 12 Indoor volleyball nations participating and 24 pairs in beach, per gender.

  • Karch Kiraly, current assistant coach with the USA Women’s team, is the only gold medal winner in both indoor (1984 and 1988) and beach (1996).

  • USAV currently has over 260,000 members in the 2009-2010 season, including players, coaches and officials, including an estimated 4,500 junior clubs.

  • USA is the only nation in the world to have medaled at EVERY Olympic games since 1984 in a volleyball discipline (beach or indoor).

  • 2008 Olympic Gold medal winner Lloy Ball is a 4 time Olympian as was 2008 Olympic Silver medalist Danielle Scott-Aruda.

USA Volleyball Men Celebrate


FIVB Volleyball History and Facts

The first World Championships were organized in 1949 for men and 1952 for women. Since 1964, these events have both remained the biggest according to the volleyball history and facts, along with the Olympic Games. The world competitions immediately generated enthusiasm, and the number of players and National Federations affiliated with the FIVB grew by leaps and bounds. Volleyball fever had caught on just about everywhere and increased rapidly. FIVB‑promoted events began to multiply. 

In 2010, the FIVB consists of 220 affiliated Federations and governs, manages and promotes all forms of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball worldwide through tournaments such as the World Championships, World League, World Grand Prix, SWATCH FIVB World Tour, SWATCH FIVB World Championships, Continental Beach Volleyball Cup, Beach Volleyball World Cup, World Cup, Grand Champions Cup, Junior and Youth tournaments and, of course, the Olympics. 

FIVB Women's Volleyball


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