Long-time readers of the blog will probably know I don’t like simple serve & pass (e.g. one mentioned here) for development. The incentives for the servers tend to work against them challenging the passers. I want my passers challenged. At the same time, I want my servers working on challenging servers. So how do we make that happen?

One way is to score both servers and passers somehow. I’ve talked about that elsewhere, though, and no doubt will do so again in the future. Here I’m just going to focus on scoring the servers.

The thought process is this. If you get your servers competing with each other, you will inherently up the challenge level for the passers. So you set up a scoring system that makes sense for your situation, give the servers a certain number of serves each, and tally the points.

Here’s a basic scoring system.

Ace = 5 points
Overpass = 4 points
1-pass (on the 3-point scale) = 3 points
2-pass = 2 points
3-pass = 1 points
Error = -5 points

I’m not saying this is the best system. For example, -5 for an error may be too punitive. Or, it might not be punitive enough if you’re really looking for more “just get it in” serves. Also, you probably want a scoring system that reflects actual expected outcomes, as discussed in this post.

A variation you might consider is to allow a server to keep serving each time they get a certain result, for example and ace or overpass. Maybe even on a 1-pass. That would make things more like match conditions. So in this set-up each server would have some set number of serving series rather than just a fixed number of serves.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.