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Who Invented Volleyball?

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Stereotypically, the game one plays while on the beach, volleyball has become a famous athletic sport. The constant moving, jumping and smashing the ball, aiming to spike it over the net, has made it a sport that many enjoy. This sport can be found everywhere, from schools, to large gyms, and yes, even on the beach. With all the motion going on, it is definitely a sport that will keep you active and moving. This sport is also considered a lifetime sport, where everyone, from young children to the elderly, can continue playing, keeping themselves in a healthy and active state well into their 80’s.

William G. MorganPicture of William G. Morgan taken in 1894 when he was 24 years old. A year later, he would invent the game of volleyball.

So, who invented it?

Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in 1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He was born in 1870, in Lockport, New York. He met James Naismith while he studied at the Springfield College of the YMCA. Naismith had recently invented basketball at the time. It was during the summer of 1895 that Morgan moved to Holyoke. There he became the director of physical education. This role gave him the ability to lead a large amount of programs and activities for male adults. He was very successful in this position, as his help and guidance was sought for and happily accepted.

From basketball to volleyball

One of the sports played at this YMCA was basketball. Though it was still beginning to develop, it was played amongst the younger members of the YMCA. The issue was that the sport was too violent and intense for the older members. Morgan figured he had to come up with a sport that would be able to include older members on the YMCA.

Morgan enjoyed the idea of tennis

The only thing that bothered him about the sport was the amount of equipment required to play, this being the rackets and balls. Though he did enjoy the idea of a net involved in his sport. Drawing from tennis, handball, and basketball, Morgan invented Mintonette, which was the original name for volleyball. Volleyball required the same amount of athletics as basketball but didn’t have the same intense play, making it less rough and easier for older members.

How is it played?

The sport requires a net 6 feet by 6 inches high and would be played within a 25 by 50 foot court. Originally, each team in the sport could have as many members as they desired. Each match had nine innings, and each inning consisted of a total of 6 serves, three for each team. A team was allowed unlimited number of ball contacts before sending the ball over the net to the other side.

Now, even the young plays the game

William Morgan’s sport would spread and be played amongst all age groups and in many different places. Though it started out as a sport meant for the older members of a YMCA, it would then grow to become an iconic part of the physically fit youth playing on summer days and nights while on the beach, and even earning a place within the Olympics.

Morgan died in 1942

William Morgan School, an elementary school in Holyoke, was named after him.