Statistics in volleyball have come a long way, especially with the advancement of technology and the myriad of statistical softwares. After attending the AVCA Convention in Seattle and sitting-in on a few educational sessions, I’ve come to the realization that the statistical pendulum has swung too far. Coaches and players have become inundated with statistics to the point where it is overwhelming, time consuming and a resource hog. We are over-analyzing every movement to the point of paralysis. “Paralysis by analysis”.
Complex statistics has it’s place, for some coaches, but I believe statistics today are ultimately separating coaches and players. There are a few players that can grasp statistics, but a vast majority do not understand the true benefits. In addition, most players do not know how to correlate statistics and effectively apply them to improve a specific movement or skill (for that matter, many coaches do not know how to explain statistics in simplistic terms to better a player). Coaches are speaking Chinese to the Twitter-Americans.
We need to simplify – Keep It Simple Stupid. I have been chewing on what I call “Perfect 10 Statistics” for awhile, but have yet to implement it. Maybe Coaches will find value in an easier form of statistical information that coaches and players can not only understand, but apply in the practice environment. I also believe that current statistical software can easily adapt to utilize this form of keeping stats. Ultimately, it is a Team stat, that puts together all the skills during a rally.
Perfect 10 Statistics records the pass, set, and hit and based off of all three of these skills, the team has an opportunity to earn 10 points. The maximum number of points each skill can earn (pass, set, or hit) is 3 points. Therefore, a passer can earn 3 points, a setter can earn 3 points, and a hitter can earn 3 points. 3 + 3 + 3 = 9 points. If the team earns 9 points, I give them a bonus point to make it a “Perfect 10”.
This statistical system is based off the 3 point passing scale. If you are not already familiar with the 3 point passing scale, the scale works like this:
3 points – a passer receives for a perfect pass to the setter (based on the coaches parameters of a perfect pass) that allows 3 setting options (outside, middle, and opposite)
2 points – a pass that pulls the setter off the net and allows only 2 setting options
1 point – a pass that only allows for 1 setting option
0 points – an errant (shanked) pass
This same stat is used for a dig rating.
For setters, the 3 point setting scale works like this:
3 points – a setter receives for a perfect set. A perfect set allows 3 hitting options (line, angle, roll/tip)
2 points – a set that only allows 2 hitting options. For example, an inside set typically only allows the hitter angle or roll/tip
1 point – a set that only allows 1 hitting option. Typically, this would be a tight set that only allows the hitter to tip over the block
0 point – a setting error (such as a double contact)
For hitters, a 4 point scale is as follows:
4 points – a hitter receives 4 points for a kill
3 points – a hit that takes the opposing team Out of System (the opposing team’s dig has only 1 setting option)
2 points – a hit in which the opposing team’s dig has 2 setting options
1 point – a hit that is dug perfectly with 3 setting options
0 point – a hitting error
In addition, we can now track digs with this system using the passing 3 point scale (after the initial pass received from serve, all digs are kept with this same passing scale). I believe this is one of the least kept statistics, but one of the most important.
Obviously, I believe there are great benefits to this simplistic system and of course it does not keep into account every contact (such as the block or serve – although serve is the inverse of the pass), but I believe teams can benefit greatly by everyone understanding the importance of each contact and how it affects the whole. Typically, passers do not receive the same “celebratory” attention as hitters, but this system stresses the importance of the pass. Obviously, if the pass doesn’t get to the net, the next two skills are not performed.
Something to chew on. Your opinions are greatly appreciated.