Volleyball action at Elder is always high-flying and exciting.
Volleyball action at Elder is always high-flying and exciting.
Will Summers ’23

The best sport

Why volleyball deserves more attention in the world of sports

For as long as anyone can remember, most popular sports have been the same.

The classics like basketball, baseball, soccer, and football have reigned superior over the others in total viewership and fans since their invention, due to their quick pace, competition, and skill. It is in only those sports that one can become a true professional, competing for the big bucks, leaving other athletes in less notable sports with nothing comparable.

In most scenarios, this difference in opportunities is easily explained, for obviously more people appreciate the talents of a professional football player over, perhaps, a long jumper. Nevertheless, some sports are deserving of more attention, especially volleyball, specifically male volleyball.

It is true, of course, that volleyball is a non-contact sport created by William G. Morgan to give people a less strenuous alternative to basketball, so how could it be a good, and even possibly better, option? Seemingly, the sport of volleyball looks like a sport for weaker, slower, less skilled people, especially considering it’s popularity with women.

Nevertheless, these assumptions could not be more wrong, for, while opposing players may never physically touch one another, the competitiveness is not diminished; in fact, the lack of contact creates more of a focus on skill, creating a skill versus skill competition rather than strength versus strength.

Similarly, arguing that volleyball is a less athletic, quick paced, competitive game will prove fruitless upon one viewing of a decent match between two skilled teams. The power, speed, and tension of volleyball are incomparable to any other sport, as players are continuously jumping high into the air to swing at quickly set balls in order to cause the speed of the ball to overwhelm the defense.

Watching as the players soar in the air, hearing the thud of the ball on the players hand and the bang as it hits the floor, volleyball, when played correctly, is a sport of power and speed. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, volleyball is noncontact, meaning that viewers and athletes can experience the intensity with less risk of injury.

Moreover, volleyball deserves more notoriety for its easy viewing experience. To explain, volleyball games are often played to the best of five sets on the varsity and collegiate levels, and each of these sets normally last only about twenty to thirty minutes. Consequently, games that only go to three sets last about an hour to ninety minutes while close five set matches last only two hours.

These shorter game lengths allow the sport to be much more easily digested and enjoyed, especially by new potential fans. In comparison, the NFL, NBA, and MLB average game times of two and a half hours, if not more. These long games can take up most of the time and energy of the fans, especially when the game is not very competitive. With volleyball, if a game is not close, it will end early, and if it’s a nailbiter, the game will be longer; therefore, the length of the game is directly related to the level of competition.

Another reason, possibly of more importance, that volleyball deserves more attention is for the safety it provides athletes. As I previously mentioned, volleyball is a non-contact sport, and while things like ankle, knee, and back injuries can occur over time after strenuous work, athletes are overall more protected.

To explain, the injuries common to volleyball are natural from overwork and can be absolved and prevented quite easily. Compared to contact sports like football, soccer, and basketball, injuries like concussions, broken bones, and torn ACL’s aren’t just common but routine. Thus, a volleyball athlete can enjoy their sport for potentially a longer, healthier time.

Finally, another reason that volleyball deserves more attention is the fact that volleyball in an internationally popular sport. The FIVB, the International Volleyball Federation, has professional teams for men and women in 200 countries. These teams, like soccer and football, have die-hard fans and nice arenas.

The athletes are also truly professional grade, with the average player being over 6 feet tall, showing that there is no lack of talented players. This proves that volleyball can be a successful business venture that can bring in a following of fans as it has already been done all over the world.

To be sure, volleyball deserves our attention and our favor as it is an almost perfect sport. It’s entertaining, safe, and internationally popular, so here in the United States we should give it the appreciation it deserves. Fortunately, volleyball has been growing in popularity in recent years, but still my research shows that only thirty-six states have male high school volleyball programs.

Therefore, there must be more opportunities for athletes to choose volleyball in high school in order to grow the sport in our country. Eventually, as more and more athletes begin playing and more and more people begin watching, I hope that a professional volleyball league can emerge that is as successful as the NFL, NBA, and MLB.



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    Richard JonesMar 15, 2024 at 3:54 pm

    Well said. I could not agree more with your analysis of the sport & its truly competitive nature. Most of my kids & grandkids have played it; I even played it, recreationally, as a college student back in the ’60s. Gals & guys really enjoyed the court camaraderie as they played together; met my wife there.