This week, our sport of focus is Volleyball, one of the 30+ sports worldwide which are powered by PlaySight Smart sports AI technology.

Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan, an American educator who took inspiration from the sport of basketball. Morgan was an acquaintance of basketball inventor James Naismith, and wanted to invent an activity where running was mostly replaced by jumping and no direct contact was necessary.  He also wanted a sport that could easily be played indoors. So he took a badminton net and a soccer ball bladder and went to work, developing the initial concepts of “Mintonette.” Once the sport started gaining popularity and developing a style of its own, another educator called Alfred S. Halstead changed its name to volleyball, seeing that one of the most unique features of it was the fact that the ball was volleyed back and forth.

Plays like “set” and “spike”, which took the game to a whole other level, were invented in the Philippines. By having a player set the ball high and another hitting it hard to the opponent’s side, teams which did not catch up to the these techniques found themselves quickly outclassed. In 1920, once most players had caught up to the most efficient ways of playing the game, the 3-hit rule needed to be introduced, so that each side had a harder time setting up the perfect spike. This rule really helped add to the exciting and action-packed atmosphere we now enjoy watching.

Beach volleyball originated in Hawaii, with the two-player team format gaining popularity in the 1930’s in Santa Monica. Like many great ideas, it is believed to have started by accident due to other players having failed to show up for a game, and the four players who showed up deciding to play anyways. With sand being a great surface to encourage amazing dives and saves, the popular variation grew quickly, successfully proving its global potential in an exhibition event in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Four years later it was introduced as a new Olympic sport at the Atlanta games, where more than 1 billion people watched 24 teams compete.

PlaySight is proud to power several volleyball programs across the country, helping teams connect witg their fans through the hundreds of volleyball games streamed at PSSN every month, and also allowing coaches and players to breakdown video on and off court. Our clients include academies such as Lakepoint, Tennessee Performance Volleyball and AYSA, as well as school programs such as Suffield Academy, Ensworth School, Choate and many more.

Hope you enjoyed these fun facts. If you didn’t know, now you know!

If you are still curious about PlaySight technology for volleyball, check out our volleyball web page.