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Azərbaycan voleybol federasiyasının CEV və FİVB yarışlarına ev sahibliyi etməsi

Voleybol Azerbaycan: The History and Development of Volleyball in Azerbaijan

Volleyball is a team sport that has been popular in Azerbaijan for decades. It is played by two teams of six players each, who try to score points by hitting a ball over a net and making it land on the opponent's side of the court. Volleyball requires skill, speed, strength, and teamwork, as well as a passion for the game.

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In this article, we will explore the history and development of volleyball in Azerbaijan, from its origins as part of the Soviet Union to its current state as an independent country. We will also look at the achievements and challenges of the national teams and clubs, as well as the efforts and initiatives of the Azerbaijan Volleyball Federation (AVF) and other stakeholders to promote and improve the sport. Finally, we will offer some recommendations and suggestions for further research or action to support the growth and success of volleyball in Azerbaijan.


What is volleyball and how is it played?

Volleyball is a team sport that was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan, a physical education director at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He designed it as an indoor sport for businessmen who found basketball too vigorous. He called it "mintonette", until a professor from Springfield College suggested the name "volleyball", because of the volleying nature of the game.

The original rules were written by Morgan and published in 1897. They have been modified and standardized over time by various organizations, such as the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), which is the global governing body for volleyball since 1947.

The basic rules of volleyball are as follows:

  • A match consists of five sets, each played to 25 points (except for the fifth set, which is played to 15 points). A team must win by two points to win a set.

  • A team scores a point when they successfully land the ball on the opponent's side of the court, or when the opponent commits a fault (such as hitting the ball out of bounds, touching the net, or making more than three contacts with the ball).

  • A team can touch the ball up to three times before sending it back over the net. Usually, these touches are used to set up an attack, which is an attempt to direct the ball with force and accuracy to an unguarded area on the opponent's side.

  • A team rotates one position clockwise after winning a point when they are serving. The player in the back right position serves the ball from behind the end line, over the net, and into the opponent's court.

  • The ball can be played with any part of the body above the waist, but usually with the hands or arms. Players can strike or push the ball with one or both hands, or use a forearm pass, which is a contact with the forearms. Players can also use a soft touch, which is a contact with the fingertips to direct the ball.

  • The court is divided into two equal halves by a net that is 2.43 meters high for men and 2.24 meters high for women. The court measures 18 meters long and 9 meters wide, and is marked by boundary lines. The court is also divided into six zones, numbered from 1 to 6, starting from the right back position and moving clockwise.

Volleyball can be played indoors or outdoors, on various surfaces, such as wood, sand, grass, or concrete. There are also different variations of volleyball, such as beach volleyball, which is played by two teams of two players each on a sand court; sitting volleyball, which is played by disabled athletes who must remain seated on the floor; and snow volleyball, which is played on snow-covered courts.

Why is volleyball popular in Azerbaijan?

Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in Azerbaijan, especially among women and girls. According to a survey conducted by the AVF in 2019, volleyball ranked second among the most preferred sports in Azerbaijan, after football.

There are several reasons why volleyball is popular in Azerbaijan, such as:

  • The historical and cultural ties with Turkey, where volleyball is also very popular and successful. Azerbaijan and Turkey share a common language, religion, and ethnicity, and have strong political and economic relations. Many Azerbaijani volleyball players and coaches have played or worked in Turkey, and vice versa.

  • The availability and accessibility of volleyball facilities and equipment in schools, universities, clubs, and communities. The AVF has invested in building and renovating volleyball courts and gyms across the country, as well as providing balls, nets, uniforms, and other materials. The AVF has also organized various programs and events to introduce and promote volleyball to children and youth.

  • The achievements and recognition of the national teams and clubs in regional and international competitions. The Azerbaijani women's national team has won several medals at the European Championships, the European Games, the Islamic Solidarity Games, and the World Grand Prix. The Azerbaijani men's national team has also qualified for the European Championships and the World League. The Azerbaijani clubs have participated and performed well in the CEV Champions League, the CEV Cup, and the CEV Challenge Cup.

  • The role models and inspiration of the notable players and coaches who have represented Azerbaijan in volleyball. Some of them are Inna Ryskal, Polina Rahimova, Natalya Mammadova, Oksana Parkhomenko, Faig Garayev, Famil Aghayev, Emin Agayev, and others. They have shown their talent, dedication, leadership, and passion for the sport, and have received awards and honors from the AVF, the FIVB, the CEV, and other organizations.

The Origins and Evolution of Volleyball in Azerbaijan

The early years of volleyball in Azerbaijan as part of the Soviet Union

Volleyball was introduced to Azerbaijan in the late 1920s by Turkish teachers who came to Baku to work at the newly established Baku Turkish Pedagogical Institute. They taught volleyball to their students as part of the physical education curriculum.

In 1936, volleyball was officially recognized as a sport by the Soviet authorities, and the first Soviet Volleyball Championship was held in Moscow. Azerbaijan was represented by a team from Baku State University (BSU), which finished fourth among 12 teams.

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In 1949, the first Azerbaijani Volleyball Championship was held in Baku, with eight men's teams and four women's teams participating. The winners were Neftçi (men) and BSU (women).

The influence of Inna Ryskal, the first and four-time Olympic volleyball player in the world

Inna Ryskal was born in Baku in 1934 to a Russian father and an Azerbaijani mother. She started playing volleyball at age 14 at her school team. She soon joined Neftçi club, where she played for 10 years. She was noticed by Nikolai Karpol, the legendary coach of the Soviet women's national team, who invited her to join the national team in 1962. She made her debut at the 1962 FIVB Women's World Championship, where the Soviet team won the bronze medal.

Ryskal became one of the best players in the world, playing as a setter and a spiker. She had excellent technique, vision, and leadership skills. She was known for her powerful and accurate serves, which earned her the nickname "The Rocket".

Ryskal participated in four Olympic Games, winning two gold medals (1968 and 1972) and two silver medals (1964 and 1976). She also won three European Championships (1963, 1967, and 1971) and one World Championship (1970). She was named the best player of the 1970 World Championship and the 1971 European Championship. She was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1972.

Ryskal retired from the national team in 1976, after playing 345 matches and scoring 1,372 points. She continued to play for Neftçi until 1980, when she became a coach.

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