There is always room for improvement in every aspect of our lives, including the sports we love to play. When it comes to volleyball, there have been countless changes ranging from equipment and uniforms to the rules of how to play.

The evolution of volleyball began back in 1895 when invented by William G. Morgan. The sport was originally named “mintonette,” and was intended to be a combination of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball. Up until 1947, the game was played recreationally with very few competitions globally. As years passed, volleyball quickly gained popularity and was even welcomed into the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.

Over the years, nearly every piece of volleyball equipment has been altered. Some of these changes were made for the sake of logistics, while others were made solely to adapt new trends and attain a new, fresh look.

A Change in Style

From when the game of volleyball was invented up until 1916, there were no jerseys. Players were wearing loose and conservative jumpsuits- which is drastically different from the tight spandex uniforms we see now. Jerseys were not always designed like they are today, however. In fact, they use to be baggy like basketball jerseys, then became short sleeve, and finally made their way to long sleeve spandex. Aside from the aesthetics of long sleeves, a player’s performance can be improved through long sleeves because the ball tends to bounce faster when hitting the sleeve, rather than bare skin. Not to mention, it hurts a lot less when you dig.

Shoes and kneepads are also drastically different today than when the sport was born. It was not until 1930 that there were shoes made and intended to be used for the sport. Before the upgrade to shoes made with a rubber sole that gives traction on the floor to prevent sliding, shoes were made from cotton canvas. Kneepads use to be very large and heavy, where today they are smaller and designed to be much more flexible.

Although we will probably continue to see changes in the sport of volleyball, it has come a long way and is now loved and played by over 800 million people worldwide.

“If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good”

 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Deion Sanders

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