Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kinsley. Kinsley Wonders, “Who started volleyball and why” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kinsley!

Do you like to play sports? We enjoy a lot of games here in Wonderopolis. One of our favorite sports is a game we can play inside or outside. Sometimes, we play it on a court. Other times, it’s on the beach. All we need is a ball, a net, and several players. What are we talking about? Volleyball, of course!

Have you ever played volleyball? If so, you know it usually involves 12 players—six on each side of a central net. The players hit (volley) a ball back and forth over the net. Each team tries to keep the ball from touching the ground on their side by sending it back to the team on the other side of the net. One team scores a point when the other team lets the ball hit the ground.

Volleyball has been around for over 100 years now. A man named William Morgan invented the game in 1895 at the Holyoke, Massachusetts, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Morgan was the Director of Physical Education. He based his new game on a similar German game called Faustball.

Morgan called his new game Mintonette. He thought of it as a mixture of tennis, basketball, baseball, and handball. One day, a spectator of the game mentioned that it involved a lot of “volleying” of the ball back and forth. That’s when the game was renamed volleyball.

Today, volleyball is very popular all over the world. Some experts believe that volleyball may be the second most played sport in the world after soccer. Although a regulation game involves a dozen players, many variations exist. Some beach volleyball games include just a few players. Two people might even face off across a net in a backyard just for fun.

Volleyball has been part of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964. It is a popular sport in high schools and colleges all across America and many parts of the world. There are many rules that players must learn, but the basics are fairly straightforward.

Each team tries to send the ball over the net in such a way that the other team cannot return it. Usually, each team may hit the ball only three times to return it. However, no one player can tap the ball twice in a row. Teams often use the first two touches to set up the final hit, which is known as the attack.

Like most sports, volleyball has some unique lingo used by players. Some common terms you may hear include:

  • Bump: Bumping the ball means a player uses their forearms to pass the ball to a teammate or to hit the ball back over the net to the other team.

  • Set: Setting the ball means a player positions the ball in a way that lets a teammate spike it over the net. Many teams have one player known as the setter. It is this person’s job to set up teammates for an attack. Setters use their fingertips to push the ball high into the air where an attacker can spike it over the net.

  • Spike: Spiking the ball means hitting it with a lot of force into the other team’s court. Spiking usually requires a good vertical leap to get high enough into the air to smack the ball with the palm of the hand with enough force to drive it toward the ground quickly.

Have you ever played volleyball? Are you the master of the bump, set, or spike? With practice, we’re sure you can excel in any game!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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