What Just Happened? – The Anatomy of a 1 v 1 Attack

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With What Just Happened? posts I explain the steps that led to the play we think we saw. In many cases it is the ‘Hockey Error‘ play that doesn’t get noticed. This is one such play.

“Sergej Grankin! What a great setter! See how he turned a broken play into a 1 v 1”


That is the typical first reaction to this play. But as often happens, a three second analysis reveals that our first reaction isn’t the best, or even remotely correct. Let’s break it down.
– The receiver is out of the play virtually at the instant he touches the ball. At that moment, the pre planned tactics are no longer relevant.
– As the ball crosses the 3m line it is clear that the setter will not be able to use his hands. First tempo is highly unlikely and we already know position 4 is out of the play. Ergo… ball will go back. However, …
– The middle blocker continues to follow his pre programmed tactical plan. Indeed if you freeze frame he seems to be looking directly ahead, presumably trying to see both the setter and the opposing middle and oblivious to both the fate of the receiver and the reception.
– Just as he is about to commit block he looks at the setter and suddenly realises the first tempo isn’t in the play and wasn’t the whole time. Much too late.
– 1 v 1

Unquestionably, this all happens in not much more than the blink of eye. All the more reason to pay attention to the right things at the right time.

Sergej Grankin is indeed an excellent setter. But this action is not an example of it.


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