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Volleyball was first played in 1895 in the United States. It is believed to by some descend from a form of “Newcomb Ball” in which similar rules were applied, but the ball was caught and tossed back instead of bumped, bounced, or struck to return the ball. It is more widely believed that William G. Morgan designed the game to be a more relaxed version of Basketball, also gaining popularity in the area, with no player limit. It was intended to be played at local recreation centers by older, less athletic players. Its modern name was coined after a spectator referred to the volleying nature of the sport. Since the first official game in Holyoke, Massachusetts, US, the sport has been refined and is now a mainstay for Olympic Sports competitions.

The game is played by twelve competitors with six on each side. They take turns serving over the net like tennis, and whenever an error occurs resulting in the ball not clearing the net, landing out of bounds, or touching the opposition’s court a point is awarded against the team in error. Unlike Tennis, players do not need to be the servers to be awarded a point. Recently, the rules have been amended to allow for a seventh player on each team known as the liberto. The liberto is a defensive specialist with special rules in place to allow him or her to successfully defend the court. They cannot however hit the ball when it is above the net, or make offensive actions. They can pass the ball, dive to save it, and most importantly, substitute for another player on the team without advance notification to the judging officials but must wear contrasting jerseys from the rest of their team.

In 1964, it became an official Olympic Sport, but is otherwise a high school, college, and club sport almost entirely dominated by women in the United States. It is noted that there are about eight female players for every male player in the country, and nationally, Southern California has a third as many male players as female. Additionally, the male players in southern California account for almost the entire male player population in the US. Professionally, the indoor, or true volleyball, game has had limited to no success nationally. The beach variant has had much more widespread success, and has several two men two women teams appear for regional beach competitions. The beach variant, known by all, is not the official Olympic version, but does prove to be widely popular for any number of reasons, although more as a for-fun sport than the relentless competition of more traditionally acclaimed sports.

 

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