Blocking And Serving Effectiveness

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I have an observation that does not make sense to me, for which I can think of no explanation.  Perhaps you can help.

I have found over the years that reception from jump serves and reception from jump float serves is not the same.  I don’t mean that the quality of reception is different, I mean that given a particular quality of reception, the likelihood of winning a point is different.  In some cases vastly different.

For example, studying a team recently, I discovered that if the jump servers can force a negative reception, (i.e. only one possible attacker, basically a high ball attack) that team wins the point roughly 50% of the time.  However, if the jump float servers can the same negative reception, the team wins the point only 45% of the time.  The difference is even more stark with good reception without first tempo (i.e. both the outside can still attack a fast ball, a classic ‘2’ pass).  In that case the jump servers won 43% of the time, but the float servers only 26%.

In each case the definitions are the same, the scoutman/recorder is the same, the team is the same, the figures are based on a whole season’s worth of data.  The best I can come up with is that there is a difference somehow in blocking the two situations, but that is the best I can come up with.

To quote a popular figure from my childhood, “Why is it so?”




    1. After float serve, the receiving team is more likely to score than after a jump serve.
      For float serve, receivers stand closer to the net than for jump serve. So it is not that.


      1. Sorry. Misread the figures.
        But now turn it around. Maybe the jump serve is pushing/holding the front row attacker deeper. They certainly wouldn’t be able to transition as quickly because by the time they’d recognize the ball wasn’t going to them it would already be across the net.


  1. Could the difference be due to the height of the ball after reception? Normally the reception of a jump float would be flatter than that of a jump serve.


    1. This is the only thing I can think of.
      That would mean that the faster the reception the better for the sideout team. Which is kind of against what we have been talking about for a long time.


      1. No, Jump serve => higher reception, higher percentage, float serve=> lower reception, lower percentage


      2. Tino, I think you have misread the terms. Jump reception is better for the blocking team than float serve reception. So high reception is worse for the spiking team.


  2. Are you able to break down the stats a bit further? I know you’ve isolated out the MID/1st Tempo, but is there a significant difference in who gets set more (LS or RS) between the two different serves? Also, I’d be curious to see the general aggregate percentages of sets to LS, MID and RS for each type of serve. These may perhaps present more clues.

    In any case, what CoachingVB and Ian brought up is something I was thinking of as well — that of a difference in setting within those two situations.

    To touch more upon Ian’s thoughts, a jump spin does usually introduce a higher reception height, **as well as faster ball spin**, something which makes it “little” more difficult for a setter to (relative to a jump float) deliver a “more easily hittable” and/or consistent ball. That is to say that a setter may have a little more difficulty tracking his/her hitter having to look more upwards, and/or has to deal with taking off the spin and/or speed — ball coming down from a higher height is accelerating faster — which in turn affects location, hitters’ timing expectations, consistency, etc.. Yes, ever so slightly, but perhaps enough to reduce the opponent’s attacker scoring effectiveness, and conversely increase their team’s ability to win a point.


  3. You mentioned in your post that this is team specific not league specific. So maybe it is a specify team characteristic? The setter is bad at setting high receptions? 🙂
    A float serve is mostly served to 5, where a jump serve is mostly serve to 1 or 6 (from 1). Is the setter more predictable when pass is coming from 1? Following the logic, the float serve targets the front row outside and doesn’t take out a hitter. A serve to 1 can potentially take out the bic? Technically you can check that: same analysis just add where the pass came from. then you can weight your result by numbers of serve from the area. If you come to the same result in your than in your post, you know its not about jump vs float but area 5 vs area 6/1.


    1. It is not the setter. The figures are for defence, so it is about the blockers.
      I will have a look at other teams and positions, although I am thinking less about whether it is a league tendency than what is the technical reason it might happen.


  4. I find it hard to come up with a reasonable way to evaluate this suggestion properly, but my general impression is that to due the higher velocity, a jump serve is more likely to catch the receiving player of balance than a float serve. So maybe one attacker (front or back row) is taken out (or at least is in need for a little higher set) and blocking becomes slightly easier?


  5. A late reply but hey, better late than…
    My initial reaction was also about the height of the reception 5i did read the libero on field response). It would give the blockers (and defenders too) more time to organise after a very high received ball. Do you have any stats on block effectiveness (i.e. kill blocks) after those different serves?


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