Get Inspired: How to get into Volleyball

Volleyball was designed as an alternative to basketball in the 19th Century, but is now one of the fastest and most energetic sports at the Olympics in its own right.

Why is it good for you?

The energy expended playing volleyball for an hour burns approximately 780 calories. This helps lower the body fat percentage of those that take up the game.

Striking the ball strengthens the upper body, arms and shoulders, while the movement around the court builds the thigh and lower leg muscles.

As players have to strike the ball while it moves at speed through the air, volleyball improves hand-eye coordination and develops faster reflexes.

As a team game, it is an excellent way to develop communication skills and learn to work effectively with other people.

Volleyball clubs also offer a variety of social events beyond simply playing the sport.

Get involved

Volleyball is an exciting, competitive team game that forces you to think tactically. It is played regularly by more than 50,000 people in gyms, leisure centres, schools, colleges and universities throughout the United Kingdom.

You can get a casual game going almost anywhere, be it the park, the beach, your back garden, university or even a swimming pool; all that is needed is a net and a ball.

For more regulated play, clubs throughout the UK run training sessions and leagues for players of all abilities.

There are no specific pieces of kit required to play volleyball, with most people choosing to wear a t-shirt, shorts and trainers.

Some players choose to use knee pads and elbow pads to provide protection from falls when playing on an indoor court.

Volleyball England's  Go Spike campaign is currently putting on taster sessions for the sport which anyone from complete beginners to experienced players can take part in. Visit the Go Spike website  to find out when events are being run close to you.

For people outside of England, visit the Northern Ireland Volleyball,  Scottish Volleyball Association  and Volleyball Wales  websites to find out what schemes are available in your country.

More on the British Volleyball website 


Volleyball was created in 1895 by William G. Morgan, athletics director of the YMCA training school in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Did you know?

The sport's popularity soared in Europe after the US military sent 16,000 volleyballs to its troops and allies in France to boost morale during the First World War

He invented the sport, which he called 'mintonette', for older members of the YMCA club. It took the name volleyball the following year.

It has been part of the Olympics since 1964 and the International Volleyball Federation is currently the largest international sporting federation in the world, with 220 members.

Cuba won gold in the women's volleyball at three consecutive Olympic Games from 1992 to 2000

Are you inspired to try Volleyball? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the game by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired  or email us on

See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.

More on the IOC website