Let’s be honest. A true volleyball fan should know even the least popular facts about this sport. If you want to impress your friends with your broad knowledge, or you just want to know more about volleyball, read this article, in which you will find 33 facts about volleyball you didn’t know, but you definitely should.
Number 15 surprised me the most!
Let’s get started!
1. The tallest volleyball player in the world is Wuttichai Suksara
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Wuttichai Suksara- the tallest volleyball player in the world. This Thai player is 7’3” (224cm) tall. He’s playing as a middle blocker. Although he is tall, pretty young (25 years old), and talented, he’s still playing in Thai league. His shoe size is 56 (Europe) or 22 (USA). It’s not easy to find a company that makes such big shoes. Fortunately, there is one that produces shoes on demand for Wuttichai. He’s officially confirmed to have gigantism disease. Some people think Dmitrij Musersky is the tallest player, but he is 7’2 or (218 cm). In this article, you will also find the shortest player in the world.
Just take a look at how easily he is performing.
2. Wilfredo Leon’s serves are the fastest
Polish volleyball player Wilfredo Leon once served 134 km/h (83.3mph)! He did it during a match Perugia vs Modena (3-1) in the season 2018/2019. It’s the world record in the most powerful service. It’s an official record, but no one knows if someone didn’t beat this record during unofficial games where the ball speed isn’t measured. To be honest, I wouldn’t like to play against this guy. Also, it’s worth mentioning Bulgarian player Matej Kazijski who sometimes reaches 132km/h (82mph) when serving, and he’s one of the most powerful volleyball players in the world.
Just look how Wilfredo did it.
3. The longest set took a long time…
Who would’ve thought that the volleyball match in Korean league Jumbos – Rush&Cash will go down in history. Team Jumbos was leading 2-0 and everyone was thinking it’s probably the end of the game and the hosts are going to easily win. True, they won 3-0, but the last set was special. Rush&Cash team doesn’t give up, and they have shown it. The last set’s score was 56:54 which came out to be the world record in the longest set. 106 points in one set. All set scores: (25:22, 25:23, 56:54). Get to know
4. The longest action was really long
Usually, volleyball actions don’t take a long time. I think it takes maybe 10-15 seconds. But what if I told you that the longest action in volleyball took 7 times longer? It took place in Chinese league in the game TianJin-Army. It took 1 minute and 35 seconds. Apparently, Asian players like entertaining their fans, and they like playing long… I know 1 min 35 sec doesn’t sound impressive, but it takes lots of effort. Just imagine how happy the winners of this action were and how disappointed the losers felt. But losers, come on, you went down in history.
5. You can touch the volleyball net?!
As we know, volleyball players aren’t allowed to touch the net. If they do so, it’s considered an error, and their team loses one point. But there is an exception to this rule. I’m talking about the net outside the antenna. This little piece of the net we can touch with impunity. This part of the net is technically outside the court, and it lets us touch it as much as we want. I bet you probably didn’t know about this fact. You can read more about net rules in this article.
6. This is one of the shortest volleyball players in the world
We already know that Wuttichai Suksara is the tallest volleyball player. But who is the shortest player? There are no official data when it comes to short players, but one of the shortest, well-known player is Iranian Farhad Zarif. He’s barely 5’4 or 165cm. And you might think he’s playing as a libero, right? Well, that’s true and I think his height makes him one of the best players in this position. He’s a libero in his national team as well as in Paykan Tehran- his club. So, if you’re short and you think you can’t become a volleyball player, Farhad Zarif is living proof that even the shortest guys can be volleyball stars.
That’s how Farhad Zarif looks compared to the second tallest volleyball player Dmitrij Musersky.
7. The only player who can’t be a captain is…
I admit. As a long-time volleyball fan, I didn’t know about it. Did you know that a libero can’t be a captain of a team? It sounds a bit weird because a libero is a regular player. Why can’t he be a libero then? The explanation is simple. Libero is being substituted very often. Because of that, he wouldn’t be able to talk to the referee and motivate his teammates. Liberos have a hard life- they can’t attack nor be a captain… Get to know more about libero’s position (for example why he’s wearing different jersey color) here.
8. Do volleyball players make a lot of money?
Volleyball players don’t make lots of money compared to other sportsmen like boxers or football players. They, of course, make more than people working 9-5 job, but only the best players are considered super-wealthy. For example, French Earvin Ngapeth makes more than €1.000.000 per season in the Russian club Zenit Kazan. A couple of other players also make €750.000-€1.000.000, but according to unofficial news, the richest volleyball player is Pole- Wilfredo Leon who allegedly makes €1.200.000+ per season in Italian Perugia. Players who make significant money are for example Ivan Zaytsev (ITA), Matthew Anderson (USA), and Cwetan Sokolow (BUL). You can make the most in Italian and Russian leagues.
9. These sportsmen used to play volleyball
Life is full of surprises. Some professional sportsmen were starting out from volleyball before they switched their disciplines. For example, Thibaut Courtois- one of the best soccer goalkeepers in the world was about to be a volleyball player. All of his family was connected with volleyball. He admits that if he hadn’t become a footballer, he would have been a volleyball player. Vince Carter also started out as a volleyball player. He was the captain of his volleyball high school team, but also he was even awarded „Volleyball Conference Player of the Year”. Popular people who tried volleyball were Summer Altice, Dean Cain, and Tom Selleck.
10. 59 points scored in one match by one player!
How many points does spiker score per game? 10, 15? Sometimes even 20. But it’s nothing compared to Leonardo Leyva Martinez. This Cuban player in a game Daejeon Samsung Bluefangs- Osaka Blazers Sakai on April 21st, 2013 scored 59 points! It’s an unofficial record of the most points scored by one player in one game. What’s even more interesting is that Leonardo Leyva Martinez scored 57 out of 59 points attacking. The rest he scored blocking and serving. Was it enough to win? Unfortunately, his team lost 2:3. The previous best result in the world belonged to Gavin Schmitt, who scored 58 points.
11. When Russia meets Tunisia
Volleyball is often an exciting sport. But there are sometimes games between the strong and weak team. Of course, the favorite doesn’t always win easily, but we can’t tell it about clash Russia-Tunisia in World Men’s Championship 2018. Russian won 3:0, but it’s nothing extraordinary. What’s surprising is the second set result. Russia won 25:6… Let’s be honest, it wasn’t the most entertaining game in the world. That’s the beauty of the group stage. No one has ever won with such an advantage in The World Men’s Championship. The previous record belonged to the USA, which beat Puerto Rico 25:8.
12. The best volleyball jumper of all time?
Volleyball players are the masters at high jumping. The best of the best in that field is Cuban Maikel Cardona. He is able to attack 404 cm (13.2 ft) high! He’s not the tallest player, because he’s “only” 202 cm (6.6 ft). 404 cm in jump in an unofficial world record. It’s also worth mentioning Leon Marshall (389 cm), Matej Kazijski (380 cm), and Maciej Muzaj (389 cm). You probably think what’s the jump height of Dmitrij Musersky. He’s tall, but he’s not jumping that high. He is able to hit the ball on 375 cm.
13. The highest attendance on a volleyball match
Volleyball games aren’t that popular compared to other sports like soccer or baseball. If 5000 people see the game in the stands, it’s considered good. But the record when it comes to the number of fans during a volleyball match is way higher. It was in the World Championship in 2014 in Warsaw. The opening match Poland-Serbia was being watched by 63.000 fans in the stands of the National Stadium and millions in front of TVs. Poland won 3:0 and I think their supporters helped them a lot.
Just take a look how it looked like.
14. The tallest women’s volleyball player
It is common knowledge that women are shorter than men. We can see it well in volleyball. We know the tallest men in volleyball is 224 cm. How tall is the tallest volleyball woman player? 208 cm (6’8 ft). That’s how tall is Alba Hernandez. She comes from Puerto Rico, and she plays as a middle blocker. Her club is Rote Raben Vilsbiburg. Her attack height is 305 cm. Another tallest woman in volleyball is Anna Kajalina (205 cm), Dana Rettke (203 cm), and Gabriela Polanska (201 cm).
The photo of Alba Hernandez with her friends.
15. The most aces in one game
Some people say Earvin N’Gapeth holds the record when it comes to the number of aces in one game. Sure, 12 aces is impressive, but in that field the record belongs to a woman. It’s Stephanie Niemer- an American player who in the game Olympiacos- Markopolou on December 4, 2017, scored 17 aces! This record isn’t confirmed, but let’s be honest. It will be extremely hard to find someone who scored more aces in a professional volleyball match.
16. The most aces in a row
In volleyball every player is precious. But the one who serves well is priceless. When he’s going to serve, the opponent team is shivering. Australia’s Samuel Walker is without a doubt this kind of player. On June 1, 2019, Walker established the new record to go for in most aces in a single match. His seven aces break the previous VNL serving record of six. The same amount of points in the row also scored young Yuji Nishida. Also in June 2019, he scored 7 aces in a single game during a match against Bulgaria.
See here how he did it.
17. Who is the best volleyball player of all time?
It’s not easy to decide who is the best volleyball player of all time. Some will say it’s Giba, some will say Andrea Giani, and the other ones Lang Ping. But according to FIVB the best volleyball player of all time is Karch Kiraly. The American player is the only player to have won Olympic gold medals in both the indoor and beach versions of the sport. His achievements include best defensive player (1 time), the best offensive player (3 times), comeback player of the year, the most valuable player (6 times), sportsman of the year (3 times) as well as an FIVB the best player in the world in 1986 and 1988. It’s something that no other volleyball players have achieved before. That’s why many experts say that Karch Kiraly is the best player in the history of volleyball.
18. This is the best volleyball club of the last years
There are lots of volleyball teams that play on a really high level throughout the years. In the last time, there are clubs that perform well in every season in every competition. It’s safe to say that the best team of the last years is Russian Zenit Kazan that accomplishes great results in the Champions League, domestic league, and other competitions. Overall, they present even form for most of the time. We also have to mention other clubs like Trentino Volley, Perugia, and Lube Civitanova (all from Italy) that have great players and win important tournaments.
19. Volleyball isn’t as popular as you think
What do you think? How popular is volleyball? Some resources say it’s the second most popular sport in the world, some place it in the top 5, but is it true? I wouldn’t say so. According to many factors like viewership, a number of professional leagues, the money involved, most popular sportsmen, and a couple of other factors, volleyball is in the 10th position. I think it’s pretty accurate. Volleyball will never be as popular as soccer, basketball, tennis, or even boxing. Just ask a random person to name at least 3 volleyball players. There can be a problem. And ask the same person to name at least soccer players. That’s the difference.
20. The strongest country in women’s and men’s volleyball
There are countries that have a strong men’s volleyball team, but weak women’s team. And there are countries with the other way around. The best country in volleyball must have a strong women and volleyball team. Which one is the best in the world? The USA has the best team combined. Both women and men team won dozens of medals throughout the years and are in the top 3 of FIVB ranking. What’s interesting is none of them is number one, but combined they are a great power. Another great teams are Brazil, Russia, China, and Italy.
21. Mikasa hasn’t been always that popular
It’s hard to imagine a volleyball match without Mikasa ball. Or alternatively Molten brand. These companies are strongly associated with volleyball. But those brands haven’t been always that popular. The first company to create a volleyball ball was Spalding. You probably recognize it from basketball. It was designed before 1900. Mikasa was invented in 1917 and since that time they have started slowly capturing the volleyball market. Spalding still creates balls for volleyball players, but in most cases, matches are being played with Mikasa or Molten, because of better quality and endurance.
22. Snow volleyball?!
We all know there are regular volleyball and beach volleyball. But not everyone knows that there is even snow volleyball. It was invented in 2008 in Austrian city Wagrein. It has become quite popular since the beginning. The rules are almost the same as in beach volleyball, but the players have to wear warmer jerseys. Since 2011 snow volleyball is an official sport discipline. In 2012 took place the first Snow Volleyball Tour hosted by Austria, Czechia, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. This kind of volleyball is supposedly going to appear in the Winter Olympic Games.
23. Volleyball is perfect for losing weight
There are better and worse sports if you want to lose weight. Volleyball is definitely good if you want to burn lots of calories. When playing volleyball intensively, you can burn up to 500 calories in one hour. But it makes sense because volleyball involves running, jumping, walking, hitting and those activities combined can give you great results. So, if you don’t like cycling or long-distance running, volleyball can be beneficial for you. It’s not only enjoyable but above all healthy, you can socialize with others and have a great time.
24. Volleyball team of the decade
CEV (Confédération Européenne de Volleyball) has recently chosen the best men’s volleyball team of the last decade. The dream team contains setter- Benjamin Toniutii (France), spiker- Maxim Mikhaylov (Russia), receivers- Wilfredo Leon (Poland), Osmany Juantorena (Italy), middle blockers- Dmitrij Musersky (Russia), Piotr Nowakowski (Poland), libero- Jenia Grebennikov (France). Can we call them the best players in the world in their positions? Not exactly, because it’s the best team of the last decade, but not this decade, but some of them like Jenia Grebennikov or Wilfredo Leon are still in great form.
25. Libero is the newest volleyball position (and it’s really young)
Volleyball is still evolving. Some positions are completely new. I’m talking about libero. Did you know that this position was created in 1998? Its purpose was to make volleyball’s (especially men’s) game more attractive. Liberos appeared for the first time in the World Cup in Japan in 1998.
26. Taping fingers is popular in volleyball
When I was younger, I was thinking all the times why volleyball players tape their fingers. What’s the purpose of this? Now I know that taping fingers is popular in volleyball and every player does so. That’s because when a player hits a ball, it offers more strength. Another reason is to avoid finger injuries that are pretty common in volleyball.
27. Can you touch the ball only with your hands?
It’s common that players play volleyball only with their hands. Some people think it’s the only way of hitting the ball. But in reality, volleyball rules say that you can touch the ball with every part of your body. I can often see players hitting the ball with legs, or even with head. But all players hit the ball with hands because it’s the most comfortable and the most efficient.
28. Volleyball for the first time in the Olympic Games
Certain disciplines like football, long jump, or discus throw seem to be on the Olympic Games forever. Volleyball is relatively young and it debuted at the Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo. Japan came out to be the first women’s winner and the Soviet Union won the men’s tournament.
29. Volleyball was invented a long time ago
Volleyball isn’t considered the oldest sport in the world. It was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan. In the beginning, he called this game Mintonette, because it contained the elements of Tennis, Basketball, Handball, and Baseball. But the game quickly changed its name to volleyball, because the players mostly used volleys to earn points as they moved the ball back and forth. The first Volleyball World Championships were organized for men in 1949 and for women in 1952. Beach volleyball was invented 35 years earlier, probably in California.
30. The first volleyball game
The Historical day for volleyball happened on July 7, 1896 at Springfield College. That’s when the first game of volleyball was played.
31. The first volleyball World Champion
The 1949 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship was the first edition of the tournament, organized by the world’s governing body, the FIVB. It was held in Prague, Czechoslovakia from 10 to 18 September 1949. The winners of this tournament were the Soviet Union that won with Czechoslovakia in the final.
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