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On The Sideline: Volleyball

Volleyball is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in the world. However, many people misunderstand the game, primarily because it appears to be complicated to play. In reality, the game is deceptively simple and relatively easy once one becomes familiar with the rules.

Volleyball was invented at the YMCA in Holyoke, Mass., in 1895. Originally called Mintonette, the sport was spread to Europe by American GIs after the First World War, where it gained enormous popularity. Volleyball became an official Olympic event in the 1964 Games in Tokyo, Japan. There are nearly two dozen variations of volleyball. For simplicity’s sake, this article will only cover indoor volleyball, which is the original variant.

The game is played with two teams of six players each. Play occurs on a rectangular court 60 feet long by 30 feet wide. The net, which is approximately 8 feet for men and 7.5 feet for women, splits the court into two 30 by 30 f00t squares.

To play, teams hit the ball over the net into the opposing team’s side without letting it touch the ground on their side. Typically, players only hit or push the ball with their hands or arms, but they are allowed to use any part of their body to hit the ball.

Each team can only hit the ball three times before sending it over the net, and the same person cannot hit the ball two times in a row.

The three hits are often used strategically to put the other team at a disadvantage. The first contact is usually defensive, used to gain control of the ball and pass it to the setter. A setter typically takes the second contact, pushing the ball high into the air to give hitters, the third contact, the opportunity to hit the ball in the opposite court.

Points are scored mainly when the ball hits the floor on the opposing team’s court. Points are also scored if the opposing team hits the ball out of bounds or if they do not hit it over the net after three contacts. A ball is considered “in” if any part of it hits the boundary lines.

Volleyball is played in either best-of-three or best-of-five game matches. Each game ends when one a team earns 25 points.

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