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.
There is nothing earth shattering here. The break point percentage is obviously the inverse of the sideout percentage and is included here for the sake of completeness. To summarise, jump serving is more effective to winning break points in every league except Poland, where the difference is less than 1%. Presented as break point percentage however, the relative ineffectiveness of the float serve in the French league is even starker. Perhaps the Molten ball really does reduce the effectiveness of the float serve.
BREAKPOINT BY ROTATION
In the rotational analysis for sideout, we discovered that except for a general weakness when the setter is in position 1, there were no real similarities in effectiveness that might suggest some structural similarities across leagues. In the breakpoint phase however, there do seem to be some pretty clear trends. In all leagues (except Poland), there is a clear dip in the breakpoint percentage with the setter in 5 and the setter in 2. This corresponds with the middle blockers serving. The two main characteristics of these rotations are firstly that middle blockers are more likely to float serve than other players. We know that float serving in less effective in creating breakpoint opportunities. The second characteristic is that these are the two rotations in which the libero is not on the court. That could be an indication of the importance of the libero on team defence. Which raises an interesting question…
Float serving is less effective than jump serving in scoring breakpoints. Middle blockers serve most float serves. Liberos are not on the court when middles serve. Could it be that float serving by itself is effective in creating chances that are then missed because the libero is not there to take advantage of them?
I will leave you with that thought for today.
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