Texas Tech professor Alan Reifman uses statistics and graphic arts to illuminate developments in U.S. collegiate and Olympic volleyball. [For archives of this blog and extensive links to other volleyball sites, please click the three-line icon in upper-right corner.]
Once again this year, Vinnie Lopes, operator of the " Off the Block " men's college-volleyball blog, invited me to be a judge for his site's Blocker of the Year award, as well as another award, new this year , for best server. As seen in this previous posting , I created an elaborate system for determining my vote for 2011 Blocker of the Year. The NCAA compiles the statistic of blocks per set (or game), but I had a few quibbles with that. First, players can commit blocking errors (e.g., touching the net) in addition to successful blocks, so I thought errors should be subtracted from successes (akin to how hitting percentage subtracts hitting errors from kills). Also, a set is not a very fine-grained unit, as a game that goes 25-23, for example, provides greater opportunity to amass blocks (and other statistics) than one that goes 25-13. Therefore, I use total points in a given match as the denominator for my statistic. This year, to save some time, I revised my pro
The latest issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports includes an article entitled "Importance of attack speed in volleyball" by Gilbert Fellingham, Lee Hinkle, and Iain Hunter of Brigham Young University. The abstract (brief summary) of the article can be found here . According to this summary, the authors used high-speed photography to measure the time a set was in the air (to .01 of a second) in a number of men's collegiate matches. Set speed was then examined for correlation with kill probability. Quoting from the abstract: ...sets that traveled a further distance had significant increases in the probability of success with a faster set. No trends were seen with sets that were delivered to hitters that were closer to the setter. A video on Dr. Fellingham's work with BYU's volleyball programs, this time with the women's team, is available here .