The Art of the Volley
When team sports are spoken about, the first words that seem to come to mind are baseball and, of course, football. But volleyball is not just a ‘game on the beach for recreation’. It is actually a very difficult game that involves ability, agility, strength and power.
Six players (a team) are separated by that net, and the rules and regulations of volleyball on how to score those points by grounding the ball on the other team’s court, are extensive. Not to mention, the tricks that one can view from the true professionals who know exactly how to spike a ball with fervor, are a thrill to watch.
It is also wise to note that although there are many sports that have not rated high enough to be Olympic material, volleyball has been an integral part of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964.
For those who are not as familiar with the sport as others, the simplest way to explain the art of volleyball is this… A rally is begun by the serve of a master. Think about the amazing backhand of Serena Williams in tennis, or even the mighty TD toss of Tom Brady down the field. A volleyball serve is just as magnetic. The serve comes from behind the back boundary line of the court, and must soar over the net in order for the other team to begin. That ball must never touch the ground, and even though the team can touch the ball up to three times before hitting it back over the net, an individual player can not touch the ball two consecutive times.
The really amazing teams – the teams that have gone the farthest and are the ones to thrill viewers at the Olympic Games – are the teams that know exactly how to use the first two hits to set up a true attack, before using the third smack to send it over the net with a velocity so fierce that the other team has no way to volley the ball back over. That well-known spike is called a true kill; grounding the ball on the competitor’s side and gathering up the point for a successful rally.
But, as with life, faults can be made in a volleyball competition, and the team that commits any fault loses the rally. Some of the most common errors (faults) that are made in the heat of competition include; letting the ball touch the ground outside the opponents’ court, and sometimes, when the mind wavers, players end up catching the ball and throwing, which also counts as a fault. A double hit by an individual player can also occur in their need to keep that ball off the ground; and the entire team can sometimes mess up a bit by hitting the ball four times instead of three to get it back over the net.
Remembering the faults and intricacies of the game is one thing, but the main thrill comes from those professional players who can spike and block, because they are actually taller than the top of the net. If they do not own that height, a truly magnificent jump and spike combo is something you never forget.
So as you sit there enthralled by the game, whether indoor or actually on a beach loving every minute of it, remember to thank William G. Morgan, a YMCA P.E. director, who made the evolution of volleyball come true.