How to Watch a Volleyball Match Like a Coach

1. While many volleyball fans like to sit at mid-court, coaches prefer sitting behind the endline. Why? The view behind the endline gives a coach a much better site-lines on whether or not the block is closing. That can be a very difficult thing to do from a seat on the bench, which is why some head coaches stand near the rear of the team bench

2. Watch how many times each team tries to make the opposing setter play the volleyball. It’s not because setters are weak defensive players, but rather if the setter plays the first ball she is not in position to set the second ball. Many teams kill percentage will fall significantly when someone other than setter is forced to set the ball.

3. When the setter digs the ball, watch which player sets the next ball and whether or not she is comfortable taking the ball with her hands or whether or not she bump sets the ball. The majority of college teams today have the libero set the ball when the setter digs the ball. Because the libero is usually coming from the left back position the easiest set for the libero to make is to the right front attacker. This works well if theright side attacker is left-handed, but if she is right-handed and the set isn’t perfect it can put her in an awkward position to make a dynamic attack.

4. Watch to see if the slide attack is effective early in the match for either team, particularly in transition. (The slide is a one-foot take off, usually by the middle blocker, behind the setter.) For the last thirty-two years, the slide has been the most effective attack in women’s volleyball. It is effective because the attacker is moving laterally faster than the block can set up and because the attacker is quicker off the floor than the block. In recent years teams have tried to reduce the effectiveness of the slide by recruiting taller and more athletic left-side players who have been trained release to the antenna early and penetrate across the net before the slide attacker hits the ball.

5. Watch where each team’s setter is taking theball when siding out and in transition. There is a “golden rectangle” that is about three steps off the net, just to the right of center. When the ball is passed into that triangle a team is said to be “in system,” A team is out of system when the setter has to back up to the far sideline, comes off the feet more than the 10’ line or when her teammates mishandle “free balls” with an inconsistent tempo. Dogs that chase cars and setters who have to run down errant passes and digs, do not perform well over time.

Leave a Reply