In the gym or on sand, volleyball is an amazing sport. It’s time to serve, set and spike our way through the best facts about volleyball!
What are some of your best memories about playing volleyball? Is it competing with your friends in gym class, or maybe setting up a net at the beach on a hot summer day?
Most people will have tried volleyball at least once in their life. What you might not know is it’s one of the most popular sports in the world with nearly a billion active players. We bet you didn’t know that one!
The reason volleyball is so popular is because the equipment is relatively cheap and accessible. All you need is a net and a ball, and then up to 12 people can have fun for hours.
With these fun facts about volleyball we’ll take a trip through volleyball’s storied history, look at some impressive volleyball records, and get into the GOAT debate.
Of course volleyball isn’t just about the 6-person team, as beach volleyball has become one of the most popular versions of the sport. And let’s not forget sitting volleyball, a fan favorite competition at the Paralympics, with some awe-inspiring rallies.
And let’s answer some of the long standing questions about volleyball. Like, who is that short player scrambling around the court in a different colored uniform? And why do the players sometimes kick the ball?
We’ve got so many more volleyball facts in store, all you have to do is keep reading!
21 Fun Facts About Volleyball
1. Who invented volleyball?
William G. Morgan is credited as the inventor of volleyball. In 1895, Morgan, the physical director of the YMCA in Holyoke Massachusetts, set out to create a sport that was different from basketball, which was the most popular new sport at the time.
2. Basketball was too rough?
Volleyball was seen as a gentler and more accessible alternative to basketball. With the addition of a net, volleyball was a non-contact sport making it more appealing to teach young children.
In fact, volleyball was played with a basketball until a rubber volleyball was introduced later in the 1900s.
3. The many ingredients of volleyball
You could say volleyball was the first successful mash-up in the sports world. The game borrowed the ball from basketball, the net from tennis, and the scoring from badminton.
However, the game has many of its own unique elements that sets it apart from the sports that inspired it.
4. Basketball vs volleyball
Here’s one of the fun facts about volleyball that surprised us: the inventor of volleyball William G. Morgan was an acquaintance of basketball inventor James Naismith.
Both men were employed by the YMCA and Morgan was inspired by Naismith’s basketball success to create his own sport, and the volleyball versus basketball rivalry was born.
5. Quick volleyball facts
Volleyballs are required to meet strict specifications to be eligible for play. The circumference must be between 25 to 27 inches and the weight must fall between 9 to 12 ounces.
The structure of the ball consists of 18 rectangular panels divided into 6 sections and the ball must be made of real or synthetic leather.
6. Most specialized volleyball position
There are six players per volleyball team. Each position is important, but one above all has the most defined role: the libero.
The libero stands out for their different-coloured uniform and shorter stature than the other players. A libero is a defensive specialist tasked with digging out and setting balls for the taller players to spike.
7. The most powerful volleyball shot
Speaking of spiking, the classic volleyball “kill shot” wasn’t part of the game until a 1916 tournament in the Philippines.
A spike is executed when a ball is set high above the net and smacked downward by a leaping player. The original name for a spike was “bomba”.
8. What was the largest volleyball tournament?
The largest beach volleyball tournament ever held was the Heatwave for Sick Kids Beach Volleyball Tournament on July 12th 2014 in Toronto, Canada.
The tournament raised money for a fantastic cause and saw 968 people come out and compete.
9. Volleyball’s fastest serve
The serve is the most influential shot in volleyball. If a player serves with speed, power and precision, their team is at a huge advantage.
The fastest serve ever was achieved by Cuban-Polish outside hitter Wilfredo Leon. Leon once served at an astonishing 134 km/h (83.26 mph). No wonder he’s considered the best server in the world.
10. A favorite game in Asia
While volleyball was invented in the USA and then quickly spread to Canada, it was in Asia where the game really started to take off.
China, Japan, and the Philippines welcomed the game with open arms. The first time volleyball was included in the Asian Games was way back in 1913.
11. Volleyball is VERY popular
Did you know volleyball is the 4th most popular sport in the world? Apparently there are over 998 million participants worldwide.
Not bad for a relatively new sport. This was one of the volleyball facts that really surprised us!
12. Volleyball at the Olympics
The first Olympic volleyball tournament took place in Tokyo, Japan in 1964. In the men’s competition, the Soviet Union took the gold medal over Czechoslovakia.
To the delight of the crowd, in the women’s tournament, the home team Japan won gold over the Soviet Union.
13. When was the first beach volleyball game played?
Who doesn’t love to spend the day at the beach? In fact, beach volleyball was first played on Waikiki Beach in 1915 with full teams of six.
In 1930, Paul Johnson came up with the idea of beach volleyball for two players on each side. And the game of beach volleyball has exploded in popularity ever since.
14. Sacrificing the body
A volleyball player will do anything to keep the ball in play. And there’s nothing in the rules that forbids any body part from making the shot. Kick it, head it, knee it or get your butt in the way, if it stays in the air the play goes on!
15. Volleyball is fantastic exercise
The average volleyball player will jump more than 300 times per game! This is more jumping than any other sport. In fact, an hour of playing volleyball will burn over 300 calories.
Volleyball also helps improve hand-eye coordination and reflexes. In summary, volleyball isn’t just fun to play, but good for your health!
16. What was the longest volleyball game?
The longest volleyball match ever was played in Kingston, North Carolina in December 2011 and lasted 75 hours and 30 minutes. Both teams simply refused to lose! We need to take a rest just after reading this fun fact about volleyball.
17. Taking a seat
Sitting volleyball was invented in the Netherlands by the Dutch Sport Committee in 1956 in an effort to rehabilitate injured soldiers. It requires players to sit and clear a net that is closer to the ground than standing volleyball.
The game produces epic rallies and is one of the most popular sports at the Paralympic Games.
18. Volleyball GOAT
If you read our fun facts about tennis, hockey or basketball, you know the greatest of all-time (GOAT) debate is often disputed and controversial. But in volleyball, most people agree it’s American Karch Kiraly.
Kiraly was a master of traditional volleyball as well as beach … winning Olympic gold in both disciplines (the only player to ever do it).
19. Tallest volleyball player on the court
Wuttchai Suksara, a middle blocker for the Thailand national volleyball team, is considered the tallest volleyball player in the world. His current height is 7’3 inches (224 cm). He also wears a size 22 shoe!
20. All eyes on the volleyball match
Let’s set the stage. It’s the 2014 World Volleyball Championships in Warsaw and the home team Poland is taking on Serbia in the opening match of the tournament.
The match was the hottest ticket in town, with 63,000 fans packing the stadium to see Poland win the match 3:0.
21. Are volleyball players rich?
Since volleyball is less popular and doesn’t have lucrative advertising and promotion like other high-end sports, it shouldn’t surprise that players don’t make tons of money.
Star players like Zenit Kazan and Wilfredo Leon can make up to $1 million per season, but the average professional player will just earn enough to make ends meet.
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
We really hope you enjoyed all our fun facts about volleyball! Did you learn something new?
If there’s any volleyball facts we missed, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article!