Spiking Is Not Important

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I know that this contradicts about a hundred things I have said and written over the years (here, here and here for starters) but bear with me, it will make sense in the end.

The stats sheet uses the word attack as it includes the myriad of attack types of a wide variety of speeds, with closed and open hand. Spiking is but one of those although the historically most important and effective one. Ultimately this means that the terms spike and attack are for all intents and purposes understood as being equivalent and the terms used interchangeably.

It follows that most, but not all, coaches will focus their practices around teaching and improving spiking. Spiking has the advantage that among all volleyball spikes it is the most objective. How to jump high and impart maximum velocity on the ball are questions that biomechanics provides unequivocal answers.

Some coaches have evolved an understanding of the game that raises the importance of other forms of attack and adjust their training appropriately. These coaches understand, at least implicitly that spiking is not important by itself. What is important is the attack. This makes a huge difference to the game. Creating opportunities to attack is fundamentally different from creating opportunities to spike. This change in understanding is in large part what has led to the faster transition offences that we see now.

So attack is more important than spiking. But is that the final story?

When we do the statistical analyses that show the importance of attack we interpret attack as an isolated event, or at most an combination of set and attack. But when we interpret the attack measurements (in whatever way) we ignore a significant component of the equation: the opponent. The measurements we make of attack are not isolated or even independent. We are measuring neither aestetics nor mechanics. We are measuring scoring.

As coaches, we know that words are important and by changing a word when providing instruction or feedback we can significantly affect a player or team’s performance. The same applies to how we as coaches think about the game.

When we say ‘volleyball is spiking’, we focus on mechanics. When we say ‘volleyball is attacking’ we open up new possibilities and tactics. When we say ‘volleyball is scoring’ we combine all elements and possibilities and most importantly embrace the reality that attack does not exist without block and defence and structure our training accordingly.

Volleyball is not spiking. Volleyball is scoring.

Tagged Volleyball Coaching Philosophy, Volleyball Philosophy


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3 comments

  1. Absloutly agree mark…volleyball is scoring new orientation and vision hopely my athletes can understanding new mind set of this

    Pada tanggal Sab, 15 Agt 2020 21:04, At Home On The Court menulis:

    > markleb posted: ” I know that this contradicts about a hundred things I > have said and written over the years (here, here and here for starters) but > bear with me, it will make sense in the end. The stats sheet uses the word > attack as it includes the myriad of attack typ” >

    Like

    1. Hola Mark!
      totally agree. I would like to limit further. On one hand: volleyball is trying to get the ball on the ground. And the other is: keeping the ball off the ground. Oh, it’s that simple:) If practice build around the philosophy of these two principles; nothing can go wrong. Somewhere I read that you say: In my opinion, and in my experiences I think that………Mark: stop saying that! Don’t be humble and give coaches not the feeling that the truth (when it’s scientifically proven) could also be on their side! It was an article about gamelike and recognizable practice. Just say what you know. Say what science shows .Love you articles, love your side, keep up the good work. Hope to see speak you soon.

      Like

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