With a little extra time on my hands I have taken started to look at what might be the differences and similarities between leagues, and with it whether there are any structural ‘rules’ in volleyball. Thanks to Michael Mattes and Manlio Puxeddu, who collected the files and Ben Raymond, who wrote the apps that let me crunch the numbers for the whole leagues. The leagues I will focus on are France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Russia. For these leagues, I have almost full data for the 2016-17 season and I also think these are probably the top 5 leagues right now.
I have previously looked a little bit at the sideout percentage of the Polish PlusLiga. There, the sideout percentage over the last three seasons has been 67% +/- 0.2% for each of the last three seasons, including the current one. For that reason, it was not a surprise to see that league totals for France (66.9%) and Italy (67%) also fall into this range. The first thought for the comparatively low result of the German Bundesliga (64.7%) could be an indication that the league is a little weaker than the others. However, the Russian result of 65.4% is also low. I will have to look a little bit deeper into reasons that may be, but at first glance, the difference may be in balance between serve and reception.
SIDEOUT BY ROTATION
In this graph we have the the sideout percentage split up by rotation. If there were some structural or global weaknesses in specific rotations, we could expect to see that across all the leagues. As it is, there is only one constant. P1, that is the rotation with the the setter in position 1 (and therefore the opposite in position 4 and the front row receiver in position 2) is worse than average in every league. But it is not, as expected, the worst rotation overall. Other than that, the variations seem quite random. We would normally expect that with the exception of P1, teams would be better in sideout when the setter is in the backrow. Only in Poland, is this clearly the case, and in Russia and Italy teams are better when the setter is in the front row. In Russia, the difference between the best and worst rotations is very small, ~1.3% compared with around >2% for the other leagues. In Russia, it seems that the starting rotation might not make difference.
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