Sport in Britain
The history of rugby union follows from various football games played long before the 19th century, but it was not until the middle of that century that rules were formulated and codified. The code of football later known as rugby union can be traced to three events: the first set of written rules in 1845, the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The code was originally known simply as "rugby football". It was not until a schism in 1895, over the payment of players, which resulted in the formation of the separate code of rugby league, that the name "rugby union" was used to differentiate the original rugby code. For most of its history, rugby was a strictly amateur football code, and the sport's administrators frequently imposed bans and restrictions on players who they viewed as professional. It was not until 1995 that rugby union was declared an "open" game, and thus professionalism was sanctioned by the code's governing body — the International Rugby Board.
The game of cricket has a known history spanning from the 16th century to the present day, with international matches played since 1844, although the official history of international Test cricket began in 1877. During this time, the game developed from its origins in England into a game which is now played professionally in most of the Commonwealth of Nations.
Most historians believe that tennis originated in the monastic cloisters in northern France in the 12th century, but the ball was then struck with the palm of the hand hence the name jeu de paume ("game of the palm"). It was not until the 16th century that rackets came into use, and the game began to be called "tennis." It was popular in England and France, although the game was only played indoors where the ball could be hit off the wall. Henry VIII of England was a big fan of this game, which historians now refer to as real tennis.
The Davis Cup, an annual competition between men's national teams, dates to 1900. The analogous competition for women's national teams, the Fed Cup, was founded as the Federation Cup in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the International Tennis Federation, also known as the ITF.
In 1926, promoter C.C. Pyle created the first professional tennis tour with a group of American and French tennis players playing exhibition matches to paying audiences. The most notable of these early professionals were the American Vinnie Richards and the Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen. Once a player turned pro he or she could not compete in the major (amateur) tournaments.
The history of basketball begins with its invention in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith as a less injury-prone sport than football. The game became established fairly quickly, becoming very popular as the 20th century progressed, first in America and then throughout the world. After basketball became established in American colleges, the professional game followed; the American National Basketball Association (NBA), established in 1949, grew to a multi-billion dollar enterprise by the end of the century, and basketball became an integral part of American culture.
In 1932 the FIBA (Federation International Basketball Association) was founded. In 1936 basketball became an Olympic sport, and non-American teams and players progressed to match and sometimes exceed American standards of play in the later 20th century and the 21st.
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964.
The complete rules are extensive. But simply, play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a 'rally' by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team's court. The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively. Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court.