One often hears of the problems of modern volleyball due to the lack of technique of the current generation compared with their predecessors. The argument goes that players from previous generations had better technical level and the now the focus of the game is solely power. This whole argument is flawed for any number of reasons. For one, ironically, the speed and power of the game is so high that players could not do what they do without an extremely high technical level. The other main reason is that quite simply, our memories play tricks on us.
Watching matches from the 1980s and 1990s, one is not struck by the high technical level of those players, but rather how different they are from one’s memories of those at the time. Case in point, the legendary Karch Kiraly. Kiraly was such a good receiver that he famously once received only 23 from a possible 204 balls (his receiving partner received 173 balls!) in a three and a half hour match. It follows that he must have been an example of great technical quality. The following video is from a match against USSR in 1984. There are tactical reasons for some of what we see here, but the rest I will leave for you to watch.
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