As one wanders through life as, one often comes across those among us who find that what one does now is not authentic. Things used to be better. They are no longer done as they were ‘intended’.
I am reasonably comfortable in the belief that upon reading those last two sentences you will immediately be able to come up with some volleyball specific examples. But if not, I am talking about those who complain about the net touch rules, or the ball handling rules, or the scoring system, or the size of the court (in beach volleyball).
The argument goes something like, ‘in the old days, we could only underarm pass like volleyball was supposed to be’ or ‘the 9m x 9m court is the way beach volleyball was intended to be played’. I don’t really like those arguments for two reasons. Firstly, they are completely wrong. Okay, only one reason.
On February 9, 1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts (USA), William G. Morgan, a YMCA physical education director, created a new game called Mintonette as a pastime to be played (preferably) indoors and by any number of players. … Mintonette was designed to be an indoor sport, less rough than basketball, for older members of the YMCA, while still requiring a bit of athletic effort. from Wikipedia
Basketball, a sport that was beginning to develop, seemed to suit young people, but it was necessary to find a less violent and less intense alternative for the older members. from fivb.org
So there you have it. Volleyball was ‘intended’ to be a low level physical activity for middle aged businessmen. I will make the assumption that volleyball actually ceased to be ‘as it was intended’ about a month after it was invented or, at the latest, the first time two teams decided to keep the score. Anyone who makes a statement about how volleyball in ‘intended’ to be is just taking an arbitrary moment in history and choosing to apply a value judgement to that moment. Any historical moment chosen (including 2014 but not including 1895) is equally (in)valid.
My message for everyone who wants to see volleyball as it was intended … wait until you are about 45 and can’t get up and down a basketball court anymore. Then call any number of your friends (see above) and head on down to the Y. You’ll have fun the net is only 1.98m.
If you want to see all of the original volleyball rules, and how they changed over time (at least the USA versions of them) click here.
Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.