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Showing posts from November, 2010

2010 NCAA Women's Preview: Seeded Teams' Hitting Percentages Against Other Seeded Teams

For pretty much the entire four years that I've maintained this blog, I've extolled the importance of hitting percentage as a measure of a team's overall ability. To win games (sets) and matches, teams need points. Hitting percentage is based heavily on teams' productivity in winning points via kills, but penalizes teams for hitting errors, which of necessity give points to the opponent. Dividing (kills - errors) by total attempts further weakens teams' hitting percentages if a lot of their attempts are kept in play by the other team. If a team compiles a high hitting percentage and limits its opponents' hitting percentage, it will probably win a lot of matches. Last year in previewing the start of the NCAA women's tournament, I showed that there was a strong correlation where the highest seeded teams also had the highest hitting percentages. I used teams' overall regular-season hitting percentages, however, which don't take into account degree o

JQAS Article Examines Relationship Between Opponent's Blocking Strategy and Allocation of Sets to Different Hitters

The latest issue of the online Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports  includes the article "Relationship between the Opponent Block and the Hitter in Elite Male Volleyball," by Rui Manuel Araújo, José Castro, Rui Marcelino, and Isabel R. Mesquita. A brief summary (abstract) is available here . Full-text access is by subscription, but the journal has guest viewing privileges for individual articles. This study is based on observations from the 2007 World Cup of men's volleyball. The authors studied setters' allocation decisions in relation to two features of the opposing block:  the spacing of the blockers along the front row at the start of the point, and the type of block being faced (none, single, double, triple; the latter two also categorized as "compact" or with open spaces between the blockers). Analyses (via chi-square) were entirely two-way (allocation vs. spacing; and allocation vs. type of block), with no three-way analyses. Because the ar

Side-Out Success Based on Whether Teams Stay "In System" on Serve-Receipt

Increasingly, it seems, one hears of volleyball teams getting "out of system" or having to recover from same. According to Bonnie Kenny and Cindy Gregory's book Volleyball: Steps to Success , "Out-of-system play occurs during a rally when something happens to take the team away from the preferred pass, set, hit or dig, set, hit sequence" (p. 141). I decided several weeks ago that, while watching several upcoming matches on television, I would keep some statistics on women's college teams' ability to stay in-system on their serve receipt, and how this would relate to their likelihood of ultimately winning the rally (i.e., siding-out). I coded one game (set) each from the following matches: Illinois at Minnesota ( box score , ESPN 3 video ); South Carolina at Florida ( box score ); Nebraska at Texas ( box score ); Oklahoma at Texas A&M ( box score ); and Penn State at Michigan ( box score ). As teams attempted to run their offense in immediate resp