In many sports, men are the dominant gender because of how physically aggressive many games are. However, women are the dominant gender in volleyball, with the NCAA sponsoring more Women’s Division 1 teams than men.
Women’s volleyball is more popular because it is more about strategy than aggressiveness, as women tend to be more precise in their moves than men are. Also, diving for the ball might be less painful for women.
Let’s explore why women’s volleyball is more popular than men’s.
1. Volleyball Attracts More Girls Than Boys at Younger Ages.
Interest in volleyball for girls starts in middle school or younger, while men become more interested in it in high school. The reason for this is that it is one sport that allows girls to be girls— many girls (but not all) like being dainty, which volleyball will enable them to do while still staying active. Of course, later, when the girls are older, it’s not about the bows, but about being an athlete.
2. Women Volleyball Is More About Strategy.
While men play volleyball in much the same way they play other competitive sports, women play the game more strategically, making for a better spectator sport. Men’s volleyball games tend to be more aggressive and are more about offense than it is defense. They have the mentality to kill the ball and get the game over in record time, which might be boring for spectators.
Women’s games are played more strategically, giving spectators (as well as players) more to watch and get excited.
3. Volleyball Is Physically Less Aggressive Than Other Sports.
Men’s sports get aggressive, but volleyball is not as physically aggressive, in terms of contact between players. However, just because women are not in contact with each other, doesn’t mean that they are less competitive in volleyball. Instead, they take out their aggression on the ball.
But, in overall, men are hesitant to join volleyball teams because they are afraid that other men will tease them or claim they are sissies because it is seen as a feminine sport. Though there are professional men’s volleyball teams, this stereotype remains prevalent among many men around the world.
4. More Girls Choose Volleyball Over Basketball.
Many young women gravitate towards volleyball today instead of basketball because it is a no-contact sport with a net to separate them from the other team. In 2015, more girls played and joined volleyball than they did basketball, a trend that is catching on because it’s becoming more socially accepted as a competitive sport than it has in the past.
While women’s volleyball has always been more popular than men’s since the 1950s, girls were more likely to join basketball in the past because their parents played basketball and encouraged their daughters to do the same.
Now the trend for many girls is to join volleyball teams and stick with that sport throughout college.
5. More Than 80% Of High School Volleyball Players Are Females.
The United States, like many other countries, views volleyball as a sport for women rather than men. According to Statista, more than 80% of high school volleyball players are girls, and it is no different at the collegiate level.
6. NCAA Sponsors More Women’s Volleyball Team Than Men’s Teams.
Over 300 NCAA institutions sponsor women’s Division 1 volleyball, while less than 30 sponsor men’s Division 1. This shows that there is, indeed, more demand for women’s volleyball at the college level.
With that being said, as gender equality in sports keeps evolving, same time in the future, both men’s and women’s teams will hopefully be on equal footing.
7. In Volleyball, Women Tend to Be More Precise.
In terms of serves and blocks, women tend to be more precise than men when playing volleyball. According to a study done in four different Olympic tournaments, women outperformed men in the serve, but men outperformed women in receiving the serve. The difference might be explained by the height and strength between men and women, as men are slightly taller overall.
8. Volleyball Outfits Appeals More to Women.
One controversial argument of why women’s volleyball is more popular than men’s is because of the skimpy outfits that women wear while playing. Some people might claim that women enjoy “prancing around” in these outfits because it makes them feel sexy.
Several parents have spoken out about the skimpy outfits their daughters wear, and for a time in the 1990s, women wore basketball-length shorts and loose t-shirts for games. However, when jumping for the ball or diving, the clothes get in the way, or they bunch up in areas that are not so comfortable for women.
Spandex made for volleyball games came along and revolutionized the games for women. Instead of having the shorts ride up or bunch up while playing, women are now free to move the way they need to without worrying about their clothes.
9. Women Are More Flexible Than Men.
Biologically speaking, women are made to be more flexible than men. Their bone and muscle structure evolved to accommodate childbirth, while men evolved to be stronger for the hunt and defense of home and hearth. On the volleyball court, this feature proves to be invaluable because women can stretch and block, and complete moves that would not end well for men. Women can also stretch further for a spike or pass.
Men, on the other hand, can provide more power into blocking and serving. What they lack in flexibility, they make up for in strength.
10. Diving for the Ball Creates Less Pain for Women.
One of the hidden benefits of playing volleyball as a woman is that their reproductive organs are on the inside of their bodies—men, when diving in a play, risk falling on their genitals and doing some damage. So men are less likely to go for that power-dive that women can do well.
11. Women Can Get Lower to the Ground for More Intense Plays.
Because women are more flexible than men and can power-dive more easily, they can also get lower to the ground easier for dives and digs. Men may be able to do this as well, but they might have a more difficult time getting back up. Women can get up from a power-dive quicker than men in most situations, creating a more intensive game. That difference in time may make a difference between missing another block or hitting a spike.
Women’s volleyball is more popular than men’s because of the strategic moves and the intensive plays they can make. While men’s (and boy’s) volleyball competitions are getting more popular, more girls still prefer to play the game.
Many sports are dominated by men, even though women can and do compete in male-dominated sports. Advocates for men and boys to play volleyball are as intense as advocates are for women to be recognized in male-dominated sports. Their position is that both genders can play all sports equally and fairly without barriers. But until that happens, women have a sport that is mostly all theirs for the time being.