Kind of sport
This very fast court sport has only been introduced into the Olympic Games for men and women since 1964. The women's and men's teams from the former Soviet Union have clearly dominated volleyball in its short Olympic history.
In this sport, both teams play on their own half of the court and are separated from each other by a net. In this way, physical contact between opposing players is impossible . The lightweight ball is played in an underhanded fashion with the underside of the arms or in an overhanded fashion with slightly bent fingers. Because it is not allowed for the ball to touch the ground, the game is played at a fast pace and makes an exciting spectacle. A team consists of 6 players (three offensive players and three defenders) and at most six reserve players. The total court is 18 by 9 metres. The height of the net is 2.20 metres for the women and 2.43 metres for the men. Points can only be scored by the team which is serving. A set is won when a team has earned 15 points, with at least 2 points difference, but never more than 17 points. Volleyball games are decided with three winning sets. In an eventual fifth set, the so-called rally-point system is used, where points are being scored regardless of which team is serving.
The modern volleyball game is a fast changing game with a lot of variation, change of position and exciting game situations. With more than 150 million active players in the entire world, volleyball is one of the most popular team sports.
In 1996 beach volleyball is admitted to the programme for both men and women.