Typical Volleyball Stats: How Useful Are They To A Coach?

Subject: Re: Training your players to play their position correctly
To: “Coach Tom Houser” <coachhouser@yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, November 21, 2011, 3:36 PM

Coach Houser:

It’s great timing that you sent that article out to your members.  I just talked to my team about this.  They are going to be required to keep stats just as you stated (watching for mental positives, not physical actions).   We will also keep normal box score stats, but those stats do not tell the whole picture.

Thanks man!

Hello Coach:

Normal box score stats will tell some things.  But, they are woefully lacking in some areas.  For example:

  • serve receive stats.  All they tell me is the number of times a player was aced?  OF COURSE my main receivers are going to get aced some.  And OF COURSE no one else is going to get aced.  I want to know passing quality (3,2,1,0).  Who is passing 1.5, 2.0, 2.3?
  • setting stats.  One setter has 15 assists, and the other has 14.  But, what % of those sets were 3-step-spikable-and-ripable?  That’s what I want to know.
  • serving stats.  One girl served 4 aces, one had 3.  But, did one of them serve 20 times, the other one 5?  Did one of them create a shank pass 60% of the time, while the others were 30%?  20%?  I have to know that.

NCAA stats are only a little better than meaningless to an experienced coach.  You will read that Cindy had 17 kills; but, she was 65 times, so sure she’s going to get more kills that her teammates.  Sure Jenny had 22 digs; but, she’s the libero and she played nearly every point.  Of course she will have more.

We call these stats “heart-beating stats”.  In other words, as long as a player’s heart is beating, she will accumulate stats.

Experienced coaches need to know more.

p.s.  I learned early on that if a coach wants to help his team bond, then allowing every team member to weekly study the team’s individual stats can be counterproductive.  Making everyone aware as Janice goes past 100 kills, then 200 kills, then 300 kills, etc. will usually not conducive to bringing the girls closer.  Hey, there are some girls who don’t even have that many touches for the entire season!  As coaches, we have to be more empathetic, or we become one of the reasons our team isn’t bonded as tightly as it could be.

Tom Houser
Head Coach, 2012 Next Revolution In Volleyball 15 Nationals Coach
2006 and 2009 Junior Nationals Participant
Director, STAR Volleyball Camps
Author, “I Can’t Wait” Drill Collection and Ebooks.
The 2nd volumes of “I Can’t Wait To Coach” and “I Can’t Wait To Coach Volleyball” hopefully coming out soon.


About coachhouser

I started coaching volleyball in 1985, and it's taken me all over the USA. I've in my 21st year coaching club ball, and have coached 18 varsity teams and 10 JV teams. My staff and I have directed 27 camps the past 3 summers; and, it appears that 2012 will be most active summer yet! We also give lessons nearly every Saturday and Sunday night. Please visit us at www.coachhouser.com.
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