I’ve started working on a research project where I look at what volleyball statistics correlate to success. In this case, when I say success I mean conference Win %. The data I’m using comes from all levels of men’s and women’s NCAA volleyball. I haven’t finished my data collection, but I can share some initial results.
The following table shows statistical correlations between Match and Set Win % and the standard reported stats we see in college box scores and statistical reports. Everything is comes only from conference matches.
There are a lot of numbers in the table, but you can really just focus on the first row. It tells us that Kills/Set correlated 71% to Match Win%. Hitting Efficiency [(Kills – Errors)/Total Attacks]* is even higher at 77%. After that, things drops off rather sharply.
Aces/Set is next at 42%, with Blocks/Set not far behind at 38%. Bringing up the rear is Digs/Set at 26%. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as digs are not points either for or against, as in the case of the other metrics.
People are often heard referring to Gold Medal Squared talking about blocking as the skill least correlated to success, particularly in women’s volleyball (I talk a bit about that here). This analysis doesn’t back that up, but keep in mind it includes both men’s and women’s data.
There’s a LONG way to go with my analysis. Just thought to share this tidbit as something to think about.
*In the NCAA stats blocked balls are counted among hitting errors
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