A few weeks ago, for the first time in a long time, I was watching some Italian league matches. In the first ten minutes I was watching, I saw three separate occasions in which a player could have attacked a non perfect set, but instead chose to stand on the ground and set the ball over the net. On all occasions, the opposing team absolutely crushed the the free ball.
It got me thinking about how NOT attacking affects attack statistics. In the first instance, I remembered some study I did that showed attack percentage and efficiency is higher in Italy than in other leagues. I had always thought that the higher attack percentages were simply a consequence of having better players in the league. Could it be that in Italian league, by focusing on the reduction of risk, attack percentages are higher because they attack less?
Later it got me thinking about ‘not attacking’ in a broader sense. As it stands, setting errors and sets that are unhittable are not included in basic volleyball statistics (the ‘box score’, if you will). It seems to me that they probably should be. And I think there is an argument that they should be included in team attack statistics, given that they are an opportunity to attack that is ineffective. Including poor sets somewhere, would certainly give a more total summary of the match.
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