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Volleyball Explained: What is “Moneyball”?


In his book “Moneyball”, published in 2003, Michael Lewis wrote: “For more than a decade, the people who run professional baseball have argued that the game was ceasing to be an athletic competition and becoming a financial one. The gap between rich and poor in baseball was far greater than in any other professional sport and widening rapidly.” The depth of the problem was pretty clear, but what’s its solution?

Actually the solution was not that complicated even though it required a lot of efforts and hard work. The key factor has to be to examine what players can actually do overall and not necessarily paying huge amount of money for the most popular actors on the sporting stage. All of this forms the basis of “Moneyball” – the statistical model which has been adapted in a lot of different variants in a handful of sports. This strategy allowed coaching staffs to find undervalued players who do not shine that much at first look. Sometimes they seem undistinguished and not particularly interesting for the general public.

But a second, detailed look gives a totally different perspective. Maybe these players are underrated due to a sequence of biased reasons (which mostly have nothing to do with the sporting results in substance), but their overall efficiency is even greater than the efficiency of the star players. If we take volleyball as an example – this kind of players are surely not the best spikers or servers (especially in terms of being spectacular when performing these elements). But then we consider also their abilities in reception and/or defense – and things change.

What are the further reflections of “Moneyball” in volleyball? What examples can be given for “Moneyball” type of players? Watch in the video below and for more videos and analysis – subscribe to “Volleyball Explained” YouTube Channel.

 



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Volleyball

Volleyball Explained: What happens in Rotation 6?


After having a unique trip along the volleyball rotations and explaining almost each one of them, only one has been left – rotation 6. What happens in Rotation 6 on a volleyball court?

Taking into account the position of the setter in this specific rotation (he is in back row), a team relies on three first row spikers plus a pipe attack if the reception is good enough. That’s quite a prerequisite for an efficient organization of the game, particularly in side-out phase. However, is this actually a proven fact? Is it possible that the initial perception will turn out totally wrong?

If we look at the stats from 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League we’ll be able to see that in terms of kill rate after a reception rotation 6 (0.524) is qualified as fourth best, the other two rotations with three spikers first row (5 and 1) divide second place with 0.528 and the first place goes to rotation 2 with 0.53. This revelation seems to be pretty surprising, but the reason for it could be that nowadays the athletic abilities of the players are so developed that the differences between first and second line spike are getting from tiny to missing. Regarding the attack efficiency (in this video you can figure out what is the distinction between kill rate (successfulness) and efficiency) the situation is just a bit different – rotation 6 is again on fourth place, but rotation 5 is leading instead of rotation 2.

What are the specifics of rotation 6 from a tactical point of view? What are the options both the receiving and the serving team are able to exploit? Watch in the video below and for more videos and analysis – subscribe to “Volleyball Explained” YouTube Channel.



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