BAM! Body and Mind. Classroom Resources for Teachers


Parts of the Body Worked

Upper and Lower Legs

Upper & Lower Legs

Shoulder and neck

Shoulder & Neck



Knees and Ankles

Knees & Ankles

Hips and butt

Hips & Butt



volleyball gear

Want to be a volleyball player all-star?

Gear Up

A ball. Volleyballs are about 26 inches around and weigh a bit more than half a pound.

A net. The net is stretched across the middle of the court and adjusts to different heights — 7 1/2 feet for girls and 8 feet for guys.

Elbow and knee pads. When you’re playing volleyball, you’re probably going to hit the ground a few times. Protect yourself with pads.

Volleyball shoes. The bottoms of volleyball shoes are made of special rubber to keep you from slipping as you move around the court. Your shoes should also give you good ankle support and have lots of cushioning to protect your feet while you’re jumping.

Play it Safe

Be sure to wear knee and elbow pads when you’re playing on a hard court to protect you when you dive for the ball. When you go up for the ball, try landing on the balls of your feet with your knees bent and your hips lowered a little. Also, warm up and stretch before you play, and take off any jewelry.

Communicate with your teammates while you’re playing to keep from running into each other. Make sure everyone on the team knows to “call” the ball by saying “got it” or “mine” if they plan to go for it.

If you’re playing outside, find a soft court made of sand or grass, and clean up any sharp objects that you see. Be sure that there aren’t any trees or basketball hoops in your way. And, wear sunscreen and always drink plenty of water. If you’re playing inside, the court should be made of wood.

If your volleyball net is held up by wires, make sure they are covered with soft materials. That way you won’t get hurt if you accidentally jump or run into the net.

How to Play

Volleyball is fun to play because everybody gets involved! The game is unique because the same player isn’t allowed to hit the ball twice in a row, so everyone takes turns serving, passing, and setting the ball. A team can hit the ball up to three times before they get it over the net. Before you play, check out these moves!

Serving the ball. Stand at the back of the court and face the net. Hold the ball in the palm of your non-dominant hand (for example, left if you’re right-handed) and stretch out your arm at waist level. Lean forward and swing your dominant hand (the one you write with) up toward the bottom of the ball. Now, drop the ball and hit it with your fist or the bottom of your hitting hand. Follow through, pointing your hitting arm toward your target. Finally, get ready to score. Only the team that’s serving can score points! After you have practiced this underhand for a while, you can try a powerful overhead serve!

Passing the ball. Move to the place where you think the ball will land and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and put your arms straight out in front of you. Lock your hands together with your thumbs pointed forward. Watch the ball make contact with your arms and then push it forward with your forearms. Aim with your shoulders and straighten your legs, using the force from your legs to move the ball where you want it to go.

Setting the ball. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing your target. Bend your knees and raise your hands above your head with your elbows bent. Put your hands together about six inches above and in front of your forehead, and make a diamond shape with your thumbs and pointer fingers. When the ball comes to you, use only your thumbs and the tops of your fingers to push the ball up in the direction you want it to go. Your palms should not touch the ball.

Fun Facts

Volleyball is all about physics! The force of the volleyball hitting your arms is the action, and the force of you hitting the ball is the reaction. If these forces were equal, you wouldn’t be able to move the ball off your arms. But since the force of you pushing the ball is stronger than the force of the ball pushing into you, you’re able to change the ball’s direction and pass it to your teammate. If the ball’s force ever became stronger than your own, it would knock you to the ground.

Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in 1895. He blended ideas from basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create the game, which he originally called “mintonette.”

Volleyball became an Olympic sport at the Tokyo games in 1964.

Beach volleyball was added to the Olympics in 1993.