Volleyball is already an old sport since it originated in the latter part of the 19th century. However, it is only since 1945 that we see a lot of competitions pop up. The main competitions are being played in Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Japan, China, South Korea, and the Czech Republic.
In these countries, professional players can make a good living so they attract the best talents. Let’s take a look at the best volleyball players of the past decades. You can often learn a lot from their techniques and use this in your own games.
Who is the no 1 volleyball player: Best men’s volleyball player: Karch Kiraly
Karch “king of the court” Kiraly is a living legend and the only player that has won an Olympic medal for both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. He started playing when he was only six years old. He studied at UCLA and moved to Italy to become a professional player. There he became national champion with his team. He is mainly active as a defender and has won multiple personal prizes for this role.
He played outside hitter and setter and this allowed him to score a lot of points and build up the attacks. His aggressive playing style and relentless will to win define him. Some people criticized his playing style but he made sure to answer on the court with results.
He has a real winning spirit and is sometimes compared with other greats such as Michael Jordan. This indicates how much respect he has gained in the volleyball community.
After his career as a player, he was able to become a coach and even there he became successful. He won the gold medal as coach of the female volleyball team in the last Olympics. This shows how well he understands the game. It can be hard for a great player to become a coach as they take a lot of things for granted and forget to explain a lot of details.
For these reasons, the International Volleyball Organization has voted him as the best volleyball player of the last 100 years. He played for 28 years on a high level and this is quite unique on its own. A lot of players lose their drive after winning one or two titles but Karch was very driven. Beach volleyball was still quite new on the Olympics when he started playing it and he was able to help shape the sport.
Who is the most famous female volleyball player: Regla Torres
This Cuban volleyball player has been introduced in the FIVB hall of fame as the ‘best volleyball player of the 20th century’. She started playing volleyball very early in life. She was only 19 when she played with her national team and won her first gold medal in the Olympics. Later on, she won two more medals during the Olympics. Not a lot of people would be able to deal with the requirements of a professional athlete at that age. Despite all the pressure that she was under to perform, she stayed calm and focussed on winning sets.
What makes her so unique is that she is able to play in a lot of positions. Most players are great at one role. Regla is able to play in defensive and offensive positions. She won personal prizes for being a blocker and spiker. This is a great asset for any team as it makes it possible to adjust the strategy on the fly. She had a great impact on the success of the Cuban national team.
Despite her great individual talent, she is also a formidable team player. When members of her team were struggling, she would motivate them to keep going. A lot of champions are great athletes but they don’t have the ability to work together with others. For me, this is what makes Regla so special. When she started out the national team of Cuba didn’t have a great volleyball tradition and she was able to lift the team to the highest levels.
It is great to see that she got that many recognitions for her career. Being named the best volleyball player of the century is a great honor and she was very happy when this happened.
Best volleyball club in the world
The Olympics are for national teams so each club is formed based on nationality.
The FIVB World Championship is for normal teams that participate in national competitions. These consist of players of multiple nationalities in one team. The goal is to let winners of the national competition play against each other to find out has is the best team.
The first time that it was organized was only in 1989 so it is a quite new concept and we can’t look back at older volleyball clubs. Most teams started in the fifties so we don’t know if any of these volleyball clubs were better than the winners of the World Championship.
If we look at the results for men we can see that the Italian club Trentino has won the most medals. Closely followed by the Brazilian club Sada Cruzeiro. The Italian club Gonzago Milano is a distant third.
A lot of other Italian teams are in the top 10 so we can say that they have the best teams in the world. It has been since 2015 that Trentino won the national competition in Italy. The last time that they won the World Championship was in 2018. This indicates that they have a very strong national volleyball competition in Italy. It will be interesting to see if they can retain their dominance in the coming years.
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If we look at the winners of the FIVB World Championships for women, we see that Turkish teams are doing very well. Once again, the Brazilian teams are winning a lot, followed by Italian teams. The teams are closer here in terms of the number of wins so it is harder to say which team is the best overall. Volleyball is very popular in these countries. In the USA there is no national volleyball league at the moment so no teams participate from that country.
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To conclude, we discussed some of the most successful volleyball players in this post. You can learn a lot from them and incorporate these playing styles and experiences into your own game. What I like about the two discussed players is that they remain humble and are contributing to the popularity of volleyball even after they have stopped playing it themselves.