William G. Morgan invented volleyball, which he originally called mintonette, when he combined elements of basketball, baseball, handball and tennis. The YMCA, of which Morgan was a graduate and instructor, is largely responsible for taking the sport international, and Volleyball.org reports that today there are nearly 800 million players worldwide who play volleyball at least once a week. Wearing spandex is one of the sport's latest advances.
In a high-energy sport such as volleyball, where the actions have names like "attack," "spike" and "joust," ensuring that players are ready to execute aggressive moves is essential. Players are required to jump, stretch and dive during a game, and making sure clothing does not hinder any of these processes is key. Wearing spandex allows volleyball players to concentrate solely on the game instead of worrying about adjusting clothing, hindrances in movement and a more complete range of motion.
According to Chemical and Engineering News, DuPont scientist Joseph C. Shivers invented spandex in 1959. While it remains uncertain when exactly volleyball players began to integrate the fiber into their uniforms, it is known that by the 1970s cyclists had discarded their old uniforms for the innovative new material.
Benefits of Spandex
The chemical makeup of spandex allows it to be soft but durable at the same time. Chemical and Engineering News further reports that spandex fibers allow it to stretch up to 600 percent and return to its original shape. This is ideal for volleyball players who are constantly reaching, jumping and diving during games. The form-fitting quality not only provides privacy for athletes, but also does not break down from exposure to body oils, perspiration or sunscreen.
Beyond the feel and durability of spandex garments, wearing them during sport keeps you comfortable. Spandex clothing is light and can wick away the sweat from your skin, which keeps you relatively dry and limits the risk of chafing, which can be distracting during your game of volleyball.