There’s an academic paper worth having a look at titled Skill Importance in Women’s Volleyball. Based on analysis of data from the 2006 BYU Women’s team, it looks at most of volleyball’s primary skills. I got hold of it as part of the discussion surrounding the It’s best to set the ball tight post. It also came up in the discussion of defense around the What’s the objective of defense in volleyball? post. This analysis is apparently the basis for the USA teams favoring sets off the net, and passes as well.

Be warned, the paper is academic, so it’s quite technical in many ways. One of the more interesting aspects of it is the list of references. It includes several evaluations of skills from different competitions.

It is important to understand that academic analysis of this nature can be quite reliant on the involved methodologies. Further, how the researcher collects and prepares the data is important. I should know. After all, I worked on just that sort of thing for my PhD. Also, this study includes only one team in one season. As such, it may be picking up things which are specific to that squad (idiosyncratic).

Short-coming aside, it is always good to understand the parts of the game which are the most important in your team’s success. That’s part of what motivated studies like this one and this one.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently Technical Director for Charleston Academy. His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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