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 Volley Ball

Volleyball is an Olympic team sport in which two teams of six active players, separated by a high net, each try to score points against one another by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organised rules.

Points are scored by grounding the ball on the opponents' court or when the opponent commits a fault. The first team to reach 25 points wins the set and the first team to win three sets wins the match. Teams can contact the ball no more than three times before the ball crosses the net, and consecutive contacts must be made by different players. The ball is usually played with the hands or arms, but players can legally strike or push (short contact) the ball with any part of the body.

Origin of volleyball: On February 9, 1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts (USA), William G Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette as a pastime to be played preferably indoors and by any number of players.

 
The first rules, written down by William G Morgan, called for a net 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) high, a 25x50 ft (7.6x15.2 m) court, and any number of players. A match was composed of nine innings with three serves for each team in each inning, and no limit to the number of ball contacts for each team before sending the ball to the opponents' court.

After an observer, Alfred Halstead, noticed the volleying nature of the game at its first exhibition match in 1896, played at the International YMCA Training School, the game quickly became known as volleyball. In 1917, the game was changed from 21 to 15 points.

An international federation, the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), was founded in 1947, and the first World Championships were held in 1949 for men and 1952 for women.

 

Beach volleyball, a variation of the game played on sand and with only two players per team, became a FIVB-endorsed variation in 1987 and was added to the Olympic programme at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Volleyball in the Olympics: The history of Olympic volleyball can be traced back to the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, where volleyball was played as part of an American sports demonstration event. After the foundation of FIVB and some continental confederations, it began to be considered for official inclusion. In 1957, a special tournament was held at the 53rd IOC session in Sofia, Bulgaria to support such request. The competition was a success, and the sport was officially included in the program for the 1964 Summer Olympics. In 2004, Brazil won its second men's volleyball gold medal beating Italy in the finals.

Rules of the game:

The court: The game is played on a volleyball court 18 meters long and 9 meters wide, divided into two 9x9m halves by a one-meter wide net placed so that the top of the net is 2.43 meters above the center of the court for men's competition, and 2.24 meters for women's competition (these heights are varied for veterans and junior competitions).

There is a line 3 meters from and parallel to the net in each team court which is considered the 'attack line'. This '3 meter' (or 10 foot) line divides the court into 'back row' and 'front row' areas (also back court and front court).

Serving player: After a team gains the serve (also known as siding out), its members must rotate in a clockwise direction.

The team courts are surrounded by an area called the free zone which is a minimum of 3 meters wide and which the players may enter and play within after the service of the ball. All lines denoting the boundaries of the team court and the attack zone are drawn or painted within the dimensions of the area and are therefore a part of the court or zone. If a ball comes in contact with the line, the ball is considered to be 'in'. An antenna is placed on each side of the net perpendicular to the sideline and is a vertical extension of the side boundary of the court. A ball passing over the net must pass completely between the antennae without contacting them.

The ball: Volleyball is made of leather or synthetic leather and inflated with compressed air. According to FIVB regulations its circumference is 65-67 cms and its weight is 260-280 g. Its inside pressure shall be 0.30-0.325 kg/cm2 (4.26-4.61 psi, 294.3-318.82 mbar or hPa).

Game play: Each team consists of six players. To get play started, a team is chosen to serve by coin toss. A player from the serving team (the server) throws the ball into the air and attempts to hit the ball so it passes over the net on a course such that it will land in the opposing team's court (the serve). The opposing team must use a combination of no more than three contacts with the volleyball to return the ball to the opponent's side of the net. The game continues in this manner, rallying back and forth, until the ball touches the court within the boundaries or until an error is made.

Errors and faults:

  • If the ball lands out of the court, in the same court as the team that touched it last, under the net to the opposing team's court, or the ball touches the net 'antennas.' The ball also may not pass over or outside the antennas even if it lands in the opponents' court.
  • If the ball is touched more than three times before being returned to the other team's court.
  • If the same player touches the ball twice in succession.
  • If a player 'lifts' or 'carries' the ball (the ball remains in contact with the player's body for too long).
  • If a player touches the net with any part of his or her body or clothing while making a play on the ball (with the exception of the hair).
  • If the players of one team do not manage to touch the ball before the ball lands in their half of the court.
  • If a back-row player spikes the ball while it is completely above the top of the net, unless he or she jumped from behind the attack line (the player is, however, allowed to land in front of the attack line).
  • If a back-row player participates in a completed block of the opposing team's attack (completed means at least one blocker touched the ball).
  • If the libero, a defensive player who can only play in the back row, attempts a block or makes an 'attacking hit', defined as any shot struck while the ball is entirely above the top of the net.
  • If a player completes an attack hit from higher than the top of the net when the ball is coming from an overhand finger pass (set) by a libero in the front zone.
  • If a player is not in the correct position at the moment of serve, or serves out of turn. This type of foul is related to the position currently occupied by the players.
  • When hitting, if a player makes contact with the ball in the space above the opponent's court (in blocking an attack hit, this is allowed).
  • If a player touches the opponent's court with any part of his or her body except the feet or hands.
  • When serving, if a player steps on the court or the end line before making contact with the ball.
  • If a player takes more than 8 seconds to serve.
  • At the moment of serve, if one or more players jump, raise their arms or stand together at the net in an attempt to block the sight of the ball from the opponent.
  • If a player blocks the serve or attacks the serve when the ball is in the front zone and above the top of the net.

Scoring: When the ball contacts the floor within the court boundaries or an error is made, the team that did not make the error is awarded a point, whether they served the ball or not. The team that won the point serves for the next point. If the team that won the point served in the previous point, the same player serves again. If the team that won the point did not serve the previous point, the players of the team rotate their position on the court in a clockwise manner. The game continues, with the first team to score 25 points (and be two points ahead) awarded the set. Matches are best-of-five sets and the fifth set (if necessary) is usually played to 15 points.

The Libero: In 1998 the libero player was introduced internationally, the term meaning free in Italian is pronounced LEE-bah-ro. The libero is a player specialised in defensive skills. Libero must wear a contrasting jersey color from his or her teammates and cannot block or attack the ball when it is entirely above net height. When the ball is not in play, the libero can replace any back-row player, without prior notice to the officials. This replacement does not count against the substitution limit each team is allowed per set, although the libero may be replaced only by the player whom they replaced. The libero may function as a setter only under certain restrictions. If she/he makes an overhand set, she/he must be standing behind (and not stepping on) the 3-meter line; otherwise, the ball cannot be attacked above the net in front of the 3-meter line. An underhand pass is allowed from any part of the court. The libero is, generally, the most skilled defensive player on the team. Furthermore, a libero is not allowed to serve.

Recent rule changes:

Other rule changes enacted in 2000 include allowing serves in which the ball touches the net, as long as it goes over the net into the opponents' court. Also, the service area was expanded to allow players to serve from anywhere behind the end line but still within the theoretical extension of the sidelines.

Skills: Competitive teams master six basic skills: serve, pass, set, attack, block and dig. Each of these skills comprises a number of specific techniques that have been introduced over the years and are now considered standard practice in high-level volleyball.

Serve: A player stands behind the endline and serves the ball, in an attempt to drive it into the opponent's court. His or her main objective is to make it land inside the court; it is also desirable to set the ball's direction, speed and acceleration so that it becomes difficult for the receiver to handle it properly. A serve is called an "ace" when the ball lands directly onto the court or travels outside the court after being touched by an opponent.

In contemporary volleyball, many types of serves are employed. These include underhand and overhand serve, sky ball serve, line and cross-court serve, top spin serve, floater serve, jump serve, jump float serve, round-house serve, hybrid serve.

Pass: Also called reception, the pass is the attempt by a team to properly handle the opponent's serve, or any form of attack. Proper handling includes not only preventing the ball from touching the court, but also making it reach the position where the setter is standing quickly and precisely.

The skill of passing involves fundamentally two specific techniques: underarm pass, or bump, where the ball touches the inside part of the joined forearms or platform, at waist line; and overhand pass, where it is handled with the fingertips, like a set, above the head.
Set: The set is usually the second contact that a team makes with the ball. The main goal of setting is to put the ball in the air in such a way that it can be driven by an attack into the opponent's court. The setter coordinates the offensive movements of a team, and is the player who ultimately decides which player will actually attack the ball.

Attack: The attack (or spike, the slang term) is usually the third contact a team makes with the ball. The object of attacking is to handle the ball so that it lands on the opponent's court and cannot be defended. A player makes a series of steps (the "approach"), jumps, and swings at the ball. Contemporary volleyball comprises a number of attacking techniques.

Block: Blocking refers to the actions taken by players standing at the net to stop or alter an opponent's attack. Block that is aimed at completely stopping an attack, thus making the ball remain in the opponent's court, is called offensive. A well-executed offensive block is performed by jumping and reaching to penetrate with one's arms and hands over the net and into the opponent's area.

By contrast, it is called a defensive, or "soft" block if the goal is to control and deflect the hard-driven ball up so that it slows down and becomes more easy to be defended. A well-executed soft-block is performed by jumping and placing one's hands above the net with no penetration into the opponent's court and with the palms up and fingers pointing backward.

Blocking is also classified according to the number of players involved. Thus, one may speak of single (or solo), double, or triple block.

Dig: Digging is the ability to prevent the ball from touching one's court after a spike, particularly a ball that is nearly touching the ground. In many aspects, this skill is similar to passing, or bumping: overhand dig and bump are also used to distinguish between defensive actions taken with fingertips or with joined arms.

Coaching: Coaching for volleyball can be classified under two main categories: match coaching and developmental coaching. The objective of match coaching is to win a match by managing a team's strategy. Developmental coaching emphasizes player development through the reinforcement of basic skills during exercises known as "drills."

 
 

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