Understanding Setters – More Plus Liga Stats

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Statistics should be able to help us understand the game better so they we can make valid judgements about the value of particular skills and players. Most of the statistics we are familiar with don’t really help us to tell the story of the game in any meaningful way. We tend to measure things that are easy to see, or use scales that date back to the 70s and don’t have any real meaning. For example, there are no real statistics for setting. I have a couple of ideas using the current Plus Liga season as examples. Included are matches up to 11th October 2020. Names mentioned are the top 4 in each statistic with some other notable names included. Note that not every team has played the same number of matches. For example, Tuaniga would / could / should appear when he has a played a couple more matches.

Attack Kill Percentage – Cavanna 59.3%, Janusz 58.5%, Firlej 58%, Łomacz 57.3%
**Toniutti 5th
The better a setter is, the more chance the attacker has of scoring from one of their sets, right? And team attacking percentage includes sets from all setters and all situations. How about if we isoloate the attack percentage for each setter. That should be a show us something. That is an interesting list.

Point Win Rate – Toniutti 78.2%, Janusz 73.8%, Łomacz 72.8%, Cavanna 72.7%
**Firlej 5th
Of course since we are phasing out attack percentage and using point win rate instead, we should measure that. Somehow this list seems better. Any setting statistic that has Toniutti first seems like it is pretty accurate. Firlej is an interesting case that we will follow as we go further. He is high in all the lists that follow, except for one: high ball setting. The reason for that is that he has not set enough high balls to ‘qualify’. That is, he sets the least high balls because high balls are the least likely kind of attack to win a point. There seems like there is a lesson there somewhere.

Fast Ball Point Win Rate– Toniutti 79.6%, Cavanna 72.3%, Firlej 71.9%, Tavares 71.1%
**Łomacz 6th, Janusz 9th,
Nothing out of the ordinary here. It might be interesting to split up position 4, 2 and 1, but for now that isn’t possible. That is about the only thing in the Science Untangled app that isn’t. Interesting that Tavares is high here (and in first tempo). Toniutti is better (more successful) setting fast balls that most setters are at setting first tempo.

First Tempo Point Win RateJanusz 85.5%, Toniutti 83.7%, Łomacz 81.7%, Komenda 80%
**Firlej 5th, Tavares 7th, Cavanna not in top 10
Komenda makes his first appearance here. Is he good at setting first tempo because he plays with Lemanski, who is the best first tempo attacker? Or is Lemanski the best first tempo attacker because Komenda is his setter? Great question. I don’t have the answer to that.

High Ball Point Win RateCavanna 75.5%, Toniutti 71.4%, Łomacz 64.3%, Stępień 57.1%
**Tavares 9th, Komenda 11th
You might think that anyone can set a good high ball, and the list would reflect who are the best high ball attackers. Except that the first three are still basically the first three.

Non Setter Point Win Rate– Maslowski 69.2%, Schott 63.2%, Sliwka 61.9%, Watten 60%
If we record every set, then we can also record the success rate for non setters. This list is more interesting ‘behind the scenes’. Some teams have very specific rules for non setter setting. Some teams don’t allow the libero to set, or only set to position, or never allow a non setter to set fast. Fast balls are better than high balls. Anyway, there are no middles here. Because they are on the court for less time? Or because coaches don’t trust them enough to let them play?

Tagged Volleyball AnalyticsVolleyball StatisticsPlus LigaScience UntangledSetting Statistics


The total of 82 practical Coaching Tips can be found here and here.


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