1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Mass., decided to blend elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create a game for his classes of businessmen which would demand less physical contact than basketball. He created the game at that time called minionette. Morgan borrowed the net from tennis and raised it 6 feet 6 inches above the floor, just above the average man’s head(though you need to remember that the average American was shorter in the nineteenth century).
During a demonstration game, someone remarked to Morgan that the players seemed to be volleying the ball back and forth over the net, and perhaps “volleyball” would be a more descriptive name for the sport. Morgan, a graduate of the Springfield College of the YMCA, designed the game to be a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball.
The offensive style of setting and spiking was first demonstrated in the Philippines in 1916. Over the years that followed, it became clear that standard rules were needed for tournament play, and thus the USVBA (United States Volleyball Association) was formed in 1928.
Two years later, the first two-man beach volleyball game was played, though the professional side of the sport did not emerge until much later. Not surprisingly, the first beach volleyball association appeared in California (1965), and the professional players united under the auspices of the AVP (American Volleyball Professionals) in 1983.
During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, American men and women took gold and silver medals in indoor volleyball competitions. Four years later at the Olympics in Korea, the men once again scored gold. Starting in 1996, two-man beach volleyball was officially introduced to the Olympics. Today, there are more than 800 million players worldwide, 46 million of them in the U.S.
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