Rocky Top Sports World
Young women playing an intense game of volleyball.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the History of Volleyball

Volleyball lives at Rocky Top Sports World! Our 80 acre state-of-the-art sports campus is home to several youth volleyball competitions and events each year. Teams travel to Gatlinburg from across the country to compete in this great sport at Rocky Top Sports World. For more than 125 years volleyball has brought joy to generations of young athletes! Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the history of volleyball:

1. Volleyball Was Originally Called “Mintonette”

Young women on a volleyball team posing for a photo.

The sport of volleyball was created in 1895 by William G. Morgan, physical director of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Morgan first called this new sport “Mintonette.” The game was originally developed as an indoor sport for businessmen who found the game of basketball to be too vigorous. The sport went by the name of Mintonette until a professor from Springfield College in Massachusetts took notice of the “volleying” nature of play in this new game, thus the sport became “volleyball.”

2. YMCA & NCAA Issue Joint Rules

The original rules for volleyball came from Morgan himself, who printed the first edition of the Official Handbook of the Athletic League of the Young Men’s Christian Associations of North America in 1897. In 1916, the YMCA and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came together to issue joint rules that would become widely accepted for the sport of volleyball, marking an important moment in the history of volleyball. The first nationwide volleyball tournament to take place in America was organized by the National YMCA Physical Education Committee in New York City in 1922.

3. Sport Introduced to Europe by American Troops in World War I

volleyball match

It wasn’t until World War I that volleyball arrived in Europe. American Troops, who often played the game recreationally during their downtime, shared the game with a new group of people when they arrived in Europe during World War I. This brought the birth of numerous national volleyball organizations in Europe. The Federation Internationale de Volley Ball or FIVB was started in Paris in 1947 before moving to Lausanne, Switzerland in 1984. The United State Volleyball Association became one of the 13 original charter members of the FIVB.

4. Volleyball Joins World Competition Level

The first international volleyball competition happened in 1913 at the Far East Games in Manilla. The FIVB-sponsored world volleyball championships (first for men in 1949 and both men and women in 1952) became the first regular world competition, leading to the acceptance of standardized playing rules and officiating. Volleyball became an Olympic sport for both men and women at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, marking another important milestone in the history of volleyball.

5. The Birth of Beach Volleyball

beach volleyball

In the last several decades, beach volleyball has risen in popularity. This game played on a sand with 2 players per team started in California back in 1930 as athletes took advantage of the natural resources readily available to them on the coast. The first beach volleyball tournament was held in 1948 at Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica, California. Beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

Rocky Top Sports World is a great place to host your next volleyball tournament! Featuring breathtaking views and an incredible layout full of multiple sports facilities, Rocky Top Sports World has everything you need to make your event a success. To learn more about our complex, visit our facilities page!

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