What Makes Volleyball Special?

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | April 15, 2020, 11:22 a.m. (ET)

Misty May-Treanor passing during the Olympics
Misty May-Treanor said volleyball is special because it pushes you past your limit to show what one is capable of accomplishing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 15, 2020) - While we are all awaiting the opportunity to get back on the court and play volleyball, here are some reasons that make volleyball special as told by members of USA Volleyball's Hall of Fame. What makes volleyball special to you?

Misty May-Treanor - 2019 All-Time Great Female Beach Player

"You learn about communication, team work, dedication and organization/prioritizing your time. I miss the volleyball training because you get pushed past your limit and find out what you are capable of accomplishing."

Mark Pavlik - 2016 Donald S. Shondell All-Time Great Coach

"Volleyball is a sport where your skills are not interfered with by the opponent. They cannot come across the net and set a pick on you; they cannot tackle you and prevent you from playing the ball. They can only perform on their side of the net to the highest level at which they are capable. You are challenged by being personally accountable for your level of play and, in my opinion, your major responsibility is making those around you better. It is a self-less sport and when a team mindfully understands what it takes to be successful as a team, it becomes a very beautiful sport and a great example of how to live one’s life."

Danielle Scott - 2020 Flo Hyman All-Time Great Female Player

"For me, volleyball is more than a sport. It is a vehicle that not only obviously promotes physical activity but communication, teamwork, friendship and community. When I first started playing, I was a quiet kid. But not for long after joining Brian Gimmallaro at Long Beach State! We had to not only communicate before plays and after plays, but also if you were the hitter you had to scream. Yes, literally make a noise or you and the team would have to run. My team would yell for me until eventually if you heard me yell when I attacked the ball, you knew it was pretty much a kill and a point for the good guys. Now I just yell at everyone. If you know me, you know that is not true. The level of hard work, discipline and accountability developed when playing on a volleyblal team. The teamwork and especially friendships and sense of community has directly affected my life. Many of you may be aware of the tragic day, Nov. 18, 2018, when I lost my late sister Stefanie Scott Vallery during a domestic violence attack. That was the day when I was wounded with injuries that required me to undergo surgery. After the news was reported of this senseless violence, family, friends and fans from all over the world prayed for me and donated to a fund to help during a time that I most needed encouragement, love and support. I believe that we are here to do life together. I hope that I can encourage and inspire the masses beyound what I was able to do while competing in volleyball. That when anyone sees me smiling through a difficult time, i can be an example of resilenence and a testimony of hope for anyone who continues to have faith and find a way to be positive in the midst of adversity."

Brent Rasmussen - 2017 All-Time Great Male Sitting Player

"The sport of volleyball, especially in representing the U.S. team, has taught me two major life lessons. One is that we all are raised differently and are different, but yet we need to work together to find common ground to gain one goal. As individuals, we are small but together we are great. Also internationally, I have learned how important the U.S. is to the rest of world and how we are looked upon as the leaders of this free world. We have a duty to all humanity and we must carry that forward."

Peter Hanson - 2019 Donald S. Shondell All-Time Great Coach

"The special value that I found in men’s volleyball is that opposing coaches and competitors always put the betterment of the sport ahead of the betterment of the opponent’s team. In other words, my peers were always willing to help me and my team achieve more and support our game not at the expense of others, but in support of others."

Katie Holloway - 2017 All-Time Great Female Sitting Player

"Volleyball is a community sport. You need others to play with you in order to have fun with it. I’ve built a lot of self-confidence and character by going out and exposing people to the sport of sitting volleyball. I love to teach people how to play, but it takes a lot of guts and spunk to run around a convention center full of indoor standing girls and rope them into playing sitting down. But once they do, they love it. It’s that immediate laughter they have when they first butt-lift that makes me love this sport."

Patricia Salvatore - 2016 George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball

"Life lessons - learning them for myself, and teaching others, along the way. Volleyball can better anyone individually, and collectively with others, through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth, on and off the court. And its effects continue to be life-changing."

Donna Friesen Wigton - 2020 Nancy S. Sharpless Scorekeeper Emeritus

"The concept of 'bettering the ball' – volleyball is a team sport. Each person’s touch affects and is affected by the others. No one wins alone. Even your opponents can make you better. Achieving success in playing and officiating gave me confidence, wonderful opportunities and lifelong friends."

Holly McPeak - 2020 All-Time Great Female Beach Player

"Being a part of sport, not only do you learn the skills, but learn how to manage challenges, and work with teammates towards a goal."

Terry Lawton - 2015 George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball

"Because I never really had the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to play the game at a high level, I realized that I could enjoy the sport and be with people of a like interest by becoming a referee and scorer. I appreciate the skills needed to succeed, and while I am a pretty good side arm server, I would never be able to play and enjoy the game beyond my backyard. However, I could be involved in the administration of the game/competition as a referee or scorer and on our regional board of directors. The years since my first rating in 1980 passed quickly and before I knew it, volleyball became a way of life. I lived with officiating and the concept of fairness and equality. I served in leadership positions locally for our officiating association as a board member, rater and trainer. While I did not have the opportunity to play the sport scholastically, I wanted to make certain that those playing our sport after Title IX did."

Kathy DeBoer - 2015 George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball

"The sport ‘breathes’ like no other: we exhale when playing a point, each in our various roles, we inhale when coming together, regardless of the result of the previous point. It is a unique rhythm in sport, yet a universal rhythm in life."

Eric Sato - 2016 Tom Haine All-Time Great Male Player

"I played a variety of sports growing up. Volleyball was something I did after I got out of the ocean surfing or swimming. It was fun and great exercise. I think, not just volleyball, but sports in general can teach valuable life lessons."