Volleyball — like its cousin, basketball — was introduced in China just years after being created in Massachusetts. The reason is simple: both were the inspiration of physical education instructors at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), an international organization that had become established in a number of major Chinese cities.
William G. Morgan, the director of physical education at the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts, invented volleyball (which he called “Mintonette”) in 1895. His intention was to create a simple, enjoyable indoor winter game to supplement what was otherwise an austere round of -gymnastics–based physical conditioning exercises that were the lot of physical education students during the cold New England winter. Volleyball spread quickly because it featured clear and intuitively appealing goals.