My recent post on timeouts caused quite some very interesting discussion both in the comments on the post and on the facebook page. The discussion was certainly thought provoking and I found myself thinking about it just a few days later when my team was down 0-3. Do I really need to take a timeout now, ‘knowing’ that we are just as likely to win a sideout without one and I might ‘need’ one later on. Of course, if I follow the same logic all the way through I don’t ‘need’ one at the end of a set either, but we’ll just ignore that for the moment.
Today by accident, I came across another study that replicated the findings of the one I quoted in my post. Someone by the name of Paul Arrington studied men’s and women’s NCAA volleyball, and U-18 and U-13 club volleyball in the USA. He found that for the first three levels, sideout percentages were virtually identical after a timeout and on average. Only at the U-13 did he see any difference in the the sideout percentage, with a jump of 8% after a timeout.
As I wrote originally, it is entirely possible that timeouts have no actually effect and we coaches are just trying to create a narrative that makes us more important than we are. While I don’t (completely) agree with that premise, this is a little more evidence to support it.
On a side note, it occurs to me that every post / article / comment makes the assumptions that timeouts are only made by the receiving team. Perhaps timeouts by the serving team is where we can make a greater difference.
By the way, I didn’t take that timeout at 0-3 either time. But the second time, I did take one at 0-4. We won both sets so I must have been right.