What Just Happened? – Part 6

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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. We have even seen smart plays that weren’t smart at all. Now we will look at defence.

In the above clip, we see a missed play. Can you spot it? The ‘obvious’ missed play here is the defender in position 5 who is late to the tip and doesn’t get the ball up well. But unless you are here for the first time, you know that the ‘obvious’ play is not the one I am talking about.

As soon as the position 1 defender sees the ball is not his, he stands up and takes two steps backwards, presumably getting ready to attack. The partially defended ball then lands well in front of him. As with our friend in part 4, if we look at the video closely we will see that if he had simply stood where he was without moving the ball would have bounced off his foot and stayed in play. The best case scenario is that the player stood his ground, paid attention to the action and set to an attacker, changing the entire rally. The missed play here is the set.

Volleyball is a game of interactions. How we see and interpret the game is decisive. In volleyball and other sports, it is often said that defence is about will. I agree, kind of. It is not the physical willingness to throw your body around (despite the hundreds of stupid videos on the internet that suggest it is), it is the willingness to be ready, to observe, to make good decisions and more importantly to avoid assumptions. That is the will that is important.


The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


Cover v2

Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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