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Showing posts from July, 2010

Alexis Lebedew on Evaluating Setters

I recently received an e-mail from Alexis Lebedew of the Australian Institute of Sport, bringing to my attention some of his writings. Lebedew's focus is the evaluation of setting, a skill that has gone relatively unanalyzed over the years. The statistic of a setting "assist" exists, but because it represents the number of balls leading to kills, it overlaps considerably with hitting statistics.

In a piece entitled, "A Reconceptualisation of Traditional Volleyball Statistics to Provide a Coaching Tool for Setting" (link), Lebedew proposes a way to rate the quality of sets by taking into account not just the spike attempt following the set, but also the pass preceding the set. In short, setters are most rewarded for making "lemonade" from a "lemon" pass. As Lebedew states more technically, "...the combination of a [high-quality] spike and a [poor] pass has the top Rating... within the ‘Excellent’ outcome."

In fact, sets can be grad…

JQAS Article on Quality of Skill Performance and Winning Points

A recent issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports(Volume 6, Issue 2) contained an article by Michelle Miskin, Gilbert Fellingham, and Lindsay Florence entitled "Skill Importance in Women’s Volleyball." Access to articles is by subscription, but the journal has guest-visitor privileges for single articles.

Miskin and colleagues analyzed data for a particular women's Division I team (not identified by name) during the 2006 season. When the team played at home, play on its side of the net was videotaped and later coded. Serves, passes, and digs were rated by judges on quantitative scales (e.g., 0-to-5), sets were evaluated in terms of their distance from the net, and spike attempts were coded by area of the court from where they were hit.

Essentially, the authors appear to be looking at correlations (or associations) between characteristics and quality of skill performance, and likelihood of winning the point. As they state on page 2:

The importance score inc…