The Federation Internationale de Volleyball and the CEV-European Volleyball Confederation both use Mikasa balls (beach and indoor). Molten is the manufacturer of USA Volleyball's official ball.
All USA Volleyball events, including domestic competitions and international tournaments, are played on a Mikasa-brand volleyball. The ball is white with red and blue markings. It has a solid rubber core and a leather cover. On its surface are printed the names of all participating countries in block letters.
This official ball is used by men's and women's national teams during matches. It is also used within our own club system, as well as by university teams that want to represent their schools in competition play.
Each year, new balls are produced for use by elite professional volleyball players in training and pre-season games as well as at major events such as the Olympic Games and World Championships. These balls are called "matchballs" or "gameballs". There is no difference between match and gameballs except that matchballs are slightly larger than gameballs and are sometimes colored green or yellow to distinguish them from practice balls that are white.
Matchballs are made by hand in Japan by vulcanized rubber manufacturers who supply official balls for Japanese volleyball leagues and clubs. They produce approximately 250 balls per day during peak season.
They specialize on sports equipment in general, but have a particular fondness for volleyball balls. In fact, this is their most well-known characteristic. They are the official ball of the NAIA, or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, for women's volleyball, as well as the official volleyball of China, Oceania, Africa, Canada, and Europe.
A standard volleyball has six panels, with each panel being one-sixth of the whole ball. These panels are called stitches. The paneled surface of a volleyball is stitched together. The number 6 indicates the quantity of panels in a standard ball. A two-panel ball exists but it is uncommon. A three-panel ball also exists but it is even more common than the six-panel ball.
There are two types of seams that connect these panels: American seams are around the entire outer perimeter of the ball, while Chinese seams only go around the neckline (about an inch in from each edge). An English ball has no real definition for neck or shoulder, so it uses a mixed approach. As for material, standard balls are made of leather or synthetic materials, while rubber balls are used in break dance competitions due to their weight and ability to fly through the air.
Volleyballs come in all sizes and shapes. The only real requirement is that they must be symmetrical. This means that if you were to cut the ball in half lengthwise, it should still look like it could be assembled back into a sphere.
According to the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, USA Volleyball is accountable to the US Olympic Committee (USOC) and the FIVB for preparing and nominating teams to compete in the Olympic Games and other major volleyball contests across the globe. The USOC officially endorses candidates as coaches for the national team.
Additionally, under the direction of the USOC, USA Volleyball conducts an annual National Team Training Camp during which promising young players are identified for future participation in international competitions.
Players who have been selected in these camps then go on to become members of the national team that will compete at the Olympic Games each year. There are several positions on the national team roster and all involve individuals who can be credited with its success. Some of the most important positions are listed here:
Head Coach - This is the person who leads the team on court during games and practices. They make decisions about strategy and play calling. At the Olympics, there are usually only two head coaches, one for men and one for women. They are usually not members of the national team staff but instead are chosen by the USOC from the pool of available coaches.
Assistant Coaches - These are people who help the head coach lead practice sessions and games. They may have special expertise in certain areas such as defense or offense.