The three things Hugh McCutcheon would change in volleyball

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In a recent interview Hugh was asked the three things he would change in volleyball.  You can read the whole article here, but in short the three things are:

1. Make overhead reception illegal, to encourage coaches to float serve, therefore reducing service errors which “is a real issue”.

2. Make open hand tipping illegal.  All attacks would have to be made beach volleyball style. This would not allow players to ‘bail’ themselves out by tipping over the block and force athletes to make better decisions.

3. Make all double contacts (but not carried balls) legal.

I have some thoughts…

1. The ‘issue’ of service errors is predicated on the view that a service error is a missed rally.  I am on record as not agreeing with this view.  Service errors are not missed rallies. They are complete rallies with emotional ups and downs, and crowd interaction that happen to last for only one contact.  Every single time Zaytsev / Atanasejevic / Williams goes back to serve, every person in the crowd edges forward in their seat and is fully present in the moment.  If it is a ace, the crowd goes wild.  If it is an error, there is a groan and / or an audible sense of relief.  The crowed does not react in the same way when Volvich goes back to serve, even if Volvich actually scores more points for his team.  Anything that reduces the risk involved with the serve, will also make reception easier / better, which will in turn make rallies more predictable.  If people think that service errors are missed rallies, then instead of changing the rules, perhaps we should educate fans.  Although many fans, if you sit in the crowd, already understand this.
That having been said, changing the overhead reception rules would encourage coaches to use more float serves, but not exclusively.  So I might not agree there is ‘illness’, but the ‘cure’ could be useful.

2. The number of solutions that attackers have is one of the attractions of men’s volleyball.  To reduce the number of options for the spiker makes might actually make rallies longer.  If spikers suddenly had 4 or 5 less options on each play, the block and defence would be working in a simpler environment.  More predictable attack will make defence easier, but it will also reduce the number of unexpected plays and spectacular actions.  The imagination of spikers in solving problems is one of the most attractive parts of the game, and the game within the game of block and defence in response with it. This is not always visible to the casual observer, which is where education comes into the picture again.

3. I completely agree.

So if we are scoring at home, I agree with Hugh and 1.5 out 3.  That’s not bad 🙂

Tagged – Hugh McCutcheon, Volleyball Rules


A collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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