I have broken down quite a few plays and game situations here and here. A couple of weeks ago, I looked specifically at how 1 v 1 came to pass. As we learned there, a 1 v 1 is not always the result of a genius setter, but sometimes it is a bad blocking play. In this case, it is not so much bad blocking as a series of unconscious movements that leads to an unnecessary 1 v 1.
The question we have to ask is why did position 4 move when there was no reason to move. His starting position is still the optimal position to block against the opposite, that is why it is the starting position. If he had stood his ground he could actually also better block against the opposing middle, so would be involved in two plays. But instead he unconsciously maintained his position relative to the setter, despite the fact that it makes his actual blocking position worse.
The next question is why did the middle move. Simply, he moved because there was a space next to him and he unconsciously filled it even though it made his actual blocking position worse**. Indeed he was so far out of position by the end that he didn’t even bother moving to try to block. The first unconscious move by position 4, led to another unconscious move by the middle that led to a complete breakdown of the play.
These are typical actions you will see over and over again in different game situations. Players unconsciously move around the court although they have nothing to gain by doing so, wasting energy, and more importantly often ending up out of position and thus reducing their chances of success. As Uncle Earvin says, “Play better. Stand still”.
**In volleyball, as in life, nature fills vacuums. This also explains why players always move forwards to cover space that is actually covered by the block.