Why is volleyball (un)popular? This will surprise you

Volleyball is quite popular in some states such as California but a lot less popular in other states such as New York. Overall, we can say that volleyball is more popular in other countries such as Italy and Brazil. Volleyball is in the top 5 most popular sports worldwide.

There are 46 million volleyball players in the USA. Worldwide there are more than 800 million people who play volleyball at least once a week. Let’s explore why volleyball is unpopular in the USA and also why it is popular in other countries. We have also taken a look at the states where volleyball is the most popular.

Is volleyball underrated? Why volleyball is unpopular

NFHS has data on the most popular high school sports per state. For girls this is the case in the following states: WA, OR, CA, ID, NV, AZ, MT, WY, CO, NM, TX, NE, KS, SD, ND, MN, IA, WO, IL, AL, MO, FL, WV, KI, IN, MI For boys this is the case in no state at all. There is a clear difference between girls and boys in the USA. It seems that not a lot of boys pick up this sport.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

A lot of people talk down about volleyball or don’t take it seriously. The problem is that there are not a lot of professional clubs in the USA that pay decent money. If you want to play professional volleyball, you will have to go to Europe or Asia as the players are paid better there.

There is good news in the sense that new organizations are being formed in the USA that will allow players to become professionals and earn a good living. NBA wasn’t always as big as it is nowadays and volleyball can follow the same trajectory where players can earn a lot of money.

This will take time but as volleyball is getting more popular, we should see more professional teams and players in the USA in the coming years. This will attract more players and make the sport more popular overall. Since a lot of people get joy from playing volleyball, I think it has a lot of potential to grow in the coming years and get more recognition. We can conclude that volleyball is underrated as the numbers show that this sport is getting more popular overall. It might take quite a lot of time before it can become as popular as basketball but with the recent efforts, it might get there over time. 

Other sports did a better job at attracting new players and professionalizing. This is quite surprising given that volleyball was actually invented in the USA. Beach volleyball was invented there as well. It is mainly popular in California and Hawaii. Since a lot of people are moving from California to other states, we could see the sport become more popular nationwide.

Volleyball is also not featured in a lot of TV broadcasts and this makes the sport less well-known amongst a general audience. A lot of people want to mimic famous players and basketball and football have a lot of them whereas volleyball players are less well known.

Hopefully, the Olympic results of Team USA can inspire more people to pick up this sport as well. It can take a lot of time to start more clubs and professionalize the whole circuit but it is possible that it will happen over time.

Volleyball is not a contact sport and some people might miss this aspect of playing the sport. In basketball or football, you can push your opponent away and you can talk to each other. In volleyball, both teams are standing on another side of the net so there is less direct contact. It can be a lot of fun to tease an opponent or to give them small nudges.

Recently more training aids are being developed for volleyball players. This indicates that the demand to improve their skills is there. Once there are more companies in this industry, they will start to sponsor more players and this will attract more players as well. One of the main hindrances for volleyball in the past decades has been the lack of a professional circuit. If there is no way to earn a living from it, people will be discouraged and stop playing after a while. This is why I am very excited to see that more players are starting to join a volleyball club and also that there is interest in sponsoring players and making them go pro as well. There is an exciting time ahead for volleyball in the USA! If you are still unsure, you can go to a few training sessions and see if it works for you. 

Is volleyball worth playing? Why volleyball is popular

As you can see above, volleyball is becoming more popular over time. It is a very intense sport that requires a lot of patience and practice to learn. Overall I would say that it is worth playing if you are dedicated to it. If you don’t want to deal with challenges and adversities, there are easier sports out there (such as running) that don’t require a lot of tactical insights.

Volleyball requires a lot of focus and detail to attention to play. The good news is that there are several ways to play it. Some players prefer to run around a lot whereas other players focus on jumping or setting up. You can try several playing styles and see what works for you.

Volleyball is a very technical sport and controlling the ball is essential. Learning how to do this can be a lot of fun as small nuances can have a big impact on the outcome. Therefore players specialize in a specific role on the court. This allows them to work together as a team and find unique ways to attack and defend. This makes the sport very unpredictable and challenging.

The scoring system in volleyball is also interesting. It allows teams that lost the first two sets to come back anyway. You can have a terrible start to the match but in the end, you can still win if the team works hard. This can lead to spectacular rallies. In other sports, such as basketball, it can be over if you have a weak period during the game as the other team can score a lot of points and it is impossible to come back from this.

 It is also a team sport so you will have to deal with people that you might not like. If these things don’t bother you, I would really recommend volleyball as a sport as you will grow a lot as a person as well. You will form great bonds with other players as you have to go through challenging situations.  This will teach you a lot about life and how people think. It is useful knowledge that can be used in business and family life as well.

You also have a coach in volleyball and this person will be able to help you a lot and grow faster than you expected. Sometimes you might not want to do the exercises that are proposed by your coach as they are hard but it can be very satisfying if you complete them anyway. Coaches have a lot of experience and can help you to see where you can improve.

In some countries such as Italy, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China, Brazil, and Russia volleyball is very popular. There are a lot of clubs and people start playing it from an early age.

There are also new variations of the game popping up. From beach volleyball to pool volleyball. All these variations attract new players and can lead to new views on the game. Volleyball has evolved over time as well (for example the new scoring system and the introduction of the libero). This keeps the sport engaging as people can switch to beach volleyball if they are tired of playing indoor volleyball and vice versa. While there is some overlap between these variations, they differ enough to keep it exciting.

Volleyball will become more professional over the coming years so you might become a professional player in the USA if you stick with it! How nice would it be to make your passion your work?