Sports Science

The history of the volleyball ball

By: Bella

In the early days

William G. Morgan of Massachusetts created volleyball in 1895, combining elements of basketball, baseball, handball and tennis into one sport. None of the existing balls at the time were suitable for keeping aloft over a high net. A new ball had to be developed specifically for this new sport.

Materials and Downsides

The first volleyballs were made of materials very similar to today's volleyballs. The inner-most layer is the rubber bladder, which is then covered in a cloth material. Then there is the outer layer, which can be made of various padded materials. Originally the game was played with a bladder from a basketball but this was too slow as it was not heavy enough. Early players attempted to use basketballs but they were too heavy.

Current Tecnology

Indoor volleyballs may be solid white or a combination of two or three different easily distinguishable colors. They are made in two versions: the youth version is slightly smaller and weighs much less than an adult volleyball and than the standard version to accommodate youth's use.

Beach volleyballs are slightly larger than standard indoor balls, have a rougher external texture, and a lower internal pressure. They can be brightly colored or solid white. The very first volleyballs were made from leather paneling over a rubber carcass.

For decades the volleyball was stitched with an 18-panel construction like the one seen above. For the Olympic indoor volleyball competition in 2008 the company Mikasa developed and manufactured a new design. This new ball has an eight-panel design to allow more hand contact on the ball for improved accuracy. The ball has dimples which are meant to create a truer flight pattern. This was the first major design change in over 100 years.


Modern volleyballs have a circumference of between 25 and 27 inches, and weigh from 9 to 12 ounces. A volleyball consists of three primary levels of construction. The first level is a rubber bladder. Usually the bladder is then either floating, partially attached or totally attached to a cloth layer. The out most layer is made of synthetic or genuine leather panels.


Some of the benefits of the modern volleyball ball include being able to hit the ball higher due to the weight and flexibility. It also allows you to aim better and become more consistent.

Technological advances

Advanced Volleyball Technology

Super soft composite leather with micro-soft layer

Micro-fiber ensures that the synthetic ball is as soft as a genuine leather ball. It absorbs perspiration as well as genuine leather, while keeping the surface dry (in fact, better than genuine leather).

Rubber layer

Molten's rubber cover layer is fused with a thread-woven lower layer to create better feel and durability.

Nylon wound

A unique Molten idea, With this unique technology, the thread-woven construction achieves an ideal soft touch.

Dual-layer laminated butyl bladder

Our butyl bladder has extremely low air-permeability to prevent leakage.


There are a few similarities that I've noticed between the volleyball ball before and now. i have noticed that they place the materials of the ball in the similar positions, and the size of the balls are almost the same. I have also seen some of the volleyball balls now have the original '18 panels' on them. The pictures above demonstrates one of the similarities. As you can see, these volleyball balls look very similar.