What Just Happened? – Part 5

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Tagged What Just Happened?

In this series of posts, I have been looking at things we see in a volleyball match that are not what we might think they are at first glance. We have seen non efforts that are really miscommunications. We have seen efforts that are really lack of readiness. We have seen what happens when the setter plays the first ball. We have seen what happens when two players defend the same space. This time we will look at a play that looks like smart play, but is, in fact, not.

So in the above clip, the attacker plays a shot into the block on a difficult high ball, but is unfortunately blocked. When watching this, we could think that it was a smart play that he tried for the tool off the outside hand of the blocker. The blocker will often move his hands on this play and the ball will drop out of court for a point. We could also think this is a smart play because he tried for the recycle but his cover players couldn’t retrieve the ball.

In the first case, it is true that blockers do often move their hands at the last second and that this kind of shot is often a point. UNLESS the attacker is 3m from the sideline. This kind of block out shot has zero chance of winning the point from this position.

In the second case, the still shot clearly shows that all of the cover players are ready for a cross court action, except for the player who set the ball and who is effectively out of the play anyway. Almost anything played cross court would be within reach of those players, but nothing played line. This attack has almost no chance of being recycling.

So we can see that this choice of attack has essentially a zero percent chance of ending up positively. To go off the block would require a full swing. To recycle would require a cross court attack. The play looks like a smart play, but is not.

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

Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.


  1. Mark,

    In my mere opinion this isnt the fault of the attacker although he might had more chance to keep the ball in play when he was hitting crosscourt. But then again, look at the speed and position of the libero at the moment the attacker hit the ball. This ball could be picked up by him. Wont you agree?


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