Volleyball is a popular sport which can be played both indoors and outdoors. It appeals to people of

all ages and skill levels. It is fast-paced, with constant jumping and running, and thus provides a

strenuous aerobic workout. It also requires mental alertness and quick, precise physical reactions.

Many associate volleyball with the beaches of southern California and in fact, a number of

professional players get their start by playing beach volleyball. However, volleyball is popular not

only on the beaches, but in virtually every country of the world. In 1964, it was officially

recognized as part of the Olympic Games.


Volleyball originated in Massachusetts in 1895 when the director of a local YMCA used

the bladder of a basketball for a ball and a tennis net as the first volleyball net. The game

was regulated by the YMCA until 1928 when the United States Volleyball Association

was founded.


The name volleyballis not an entirely accurate description of this sport. The object of

the game is hit the ball over the net in such a way that the opposing team cannot return it.

Volleyball is played on a court 30 feet wide by 60 feet long. The net is three feet high and

spans the width of the playing area. The top of the net is positioned eight feet

(in men's volleyball) from the floor or playing surface. The modern volleyball is about the

size of a soccer ball. The game is played by two opposing teams, with six players on each

team. Once the ball is put into play, it is volleyedback and forth between the teammates

up to three times before it is hit over the net or until it falls to the floor, is hit out of

bounds or a team commits a foul. The same player may not make a hit twice in a row.

Even if the ball hits a player by accident, it counts as one of the three touches allowed per

side. However, if a player blocks a spike, the block is not considered a "hit." The game has

a total of 15 points. Each game must be won by a two-point margin. A match consists of

either three or five 15-point games. The team which wins two (in a three-game match) or

three (in a five-game match) games is the winner of the match. Volleyball requires a referee,

who generally has the final word regarding points in dispute, an umpire who assists the referee,

a scorekeeper, a timekeeper and linesmen. Even though there may be officials present during

a game, players who commit fouls are expected to call out their own mistakes.



One of the basic positions in volleyball is called the ready position.The knees are slightly

bent with hands at waist level and elbows near the body to allow the player toconcentrate on

the ball. Players should learn this position so that time is not wasted when the ball is hit.

Jumping is always done near the net. Players should practice jumping so that they do not

touch the net, or bump into or injure other players. They should also remember always to

jump parallel to the net.


Only the serving team can score a point. Thus serving is a crucial skill for the volleyball

player to learn. The cardinal rules of serving are simple: do not step on a boundary line,

and get the ball over the net.

The overhand serve is the most popular and effective serve. It is similar to a tennis serve.

The ball is thrown into the air so thatit rises a few feet above the servers head. As the ball

comes down, the right arm (if you are right-handed) is raised up and back while the elbow

comes forward. The arm is then extended at the elbow and the server hits the ball with the

heel of the hand.

The underhand serve is a good serve for beginners to use. It is simply another way of getting

the ball over the net. The ball is held in one hand and hit by the heel of the other hand. The

underhand serve is generally not as effective as the overhand serve.


The pass is a difficult move for many beginning players. This skill looks easier than it actually

is when performed. Once the ball is served, the player who will pass the ball gets into position

under the ball with knees bent, hands up and fingers cupped. All the fingers and the two thumbs

contact the ball, but the ball does not touch the palm of the hand. When the ball is in the air over

the serving sides court, it may be passed up to three times before it is returned over the net.

One player cannot pass the ball twice in a row. Note that overhead passes are not used when the

returning ball is a spike.


The spike is one of the most difficult plays in volleyball: a player has to run, jump and hit

the ball to a specific spot on the other side of the net. However, it is the best offensive

move in volleyball, and it should be learned.  Generally, a spiked ball is hit with an open

hand. However, unless a player is quite experienced, spiking a ball can sometimes result in the

ball going out of bounds or into the net. Remember that practice in timing, jumping and hitting

are required to spike correctly. A spiked ball, hit properly, can move up to a hundred miles an hour.


The bump is used for receiving serves and spike balls. This shot is easy to execute

because the ball simply bounces or bumps off the clasped hands, wrists or forearms.

The purpose of this shot is to bounce the ball into the air so that a teammate can get

under it to make a set-up (a move usually used to direct the ball to the spiker).


This is a recovery shot, and is used if the ball received is low and off to the side of a

player. If you cannot make a bump pass, use a dig or save pass instead. In this move, the

hands are cupped. They are then placed under the ball just before it hits the floor.


This move is used chiefly as a defensive position to stop spiked balls. As with spiking,

timing is important in blocking. A player must anticipate an opponent's spike and position

him or herself accordingly. The blocker then jumps just after the spiker has jumped. The

blockers arms should be extended upward with fingers spread wide apart. This allows the

ball to bounce off the heels of the blockers hands and land on the opposite side of the net.

This is the only move in volleyball that allows the players hands to go over the top of the net.


Standard clothing for playing volleyball is comfortable sportswear which allows for free

movement. Gym shoes are a must since most gyms do not allow anyone on the floor in

regular shoes. When played on the beach, attire ranges from gym clothes to swimsuits.

Many play barefoot in the sand.


UCLA swept Ohio State, winning three straight matches to claim the NCAA Mens

Vollyeball Championship in May of 2000. After defeating Ohio State 15, 8 and 15, 10 in

the first two matches, UCLA found its hands were full as their opponents fought back to

tie the score 15,15 in the third match. A Kill by Mark Williams after a beautiful assist by

Evan Thatcher, pushed UCLA over the top with a 17,15 win. On the Womens side,

Lauren Cacciamani slammed home twenty kills for Penn Sate on its way to winningits

first NCAA Womens Volleyball Championship by breezing past Stanford 15-2, 15-10, and

15-7.  In addition to Cacciamani, an All-American who was voted the tournaments

outstanding player, Penn State got nine kills each from Katie Schumaker and Carrie Schonveld,

who also had ten digs.  The Womens 2001 season saw Nebraska complete a perfect season.

Laura Pilakowski had 23 kills, including the match winner, as Nebraska rallied to beat Wisconsin

3-2 in the final of the NCAA womens volleyballtournament.  Volleyball is also an Olympic

sport. At the 2000 Olympics, both women and men had 12 teams in competition. Medalists

in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Indoor and Beach Volleyball competition are listed below:

Indoor Competition:









Beach Competition:











The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding

of volleyball. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions. If there is not enough

room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell correctly, and write in complete


1. Why is volleyball considered to be such a good aerobic exercise?

2. How many total points can be scored in a game of volleyball?

3. What does a matchin volleyball consist of?

4. What clothing is typically worn for playing volleyball?5. What is the ready positionin

    volleyball and how is it used?

6. What is an overhand serve?

7. What is an underhand serve?

8. What is a pass and how is it used?

9. How is a spike ball hit?

10. How is a block used?

Short Answer Questions:

1. The number of players on a volleyball team

2. A type of forearm pass

3. The ball is put into play when one team does this

4. To serve with the heel of the hand

5. This person assists the referee

6. It is three feet high and is located in the center of the court

7. The top of the net is ____ feet from the floor

8. Most number of times the ball can be volleyed across the net

9. First volleyball was made of this from a basketball

10. They assist the referee

11. Three out of five15-point games

12. Fast offensive hit to a specific spot

13. Total points in a game

14. Most popular serve technique

15. The forearm bounce pass-________

16. It is 30 feet wide and 60 feet long

17. Chief official for a volleyball game

18. The palm does not touch the ball during a ______

19. Defensive technique to stop spiked balls

20. Institution where volleyball was founded