Short characterization: ITALY

I Team formation

·       Only 5 players of the Olympic 2004 team in the WGP 2005 formation.

·       Italy tested successful new and young players (especially No. 3 Cella, No. 6 Fiorin, No. 11 Ortolani).

·       Six players born in 1982 or later; average age of the team 23 years.

·       Average body height 182.4 cm (setter 172 cm, regular middle blocker 188/192 cm).

II General impression

·       While some regular players are taking a break (Togut, Rinieri, etc.) young and internationally inexperienced talents played very well over all. So Italy could maintain its position in the world’s top. 2nd place - level on points with CHN/CUB - was more than one expected with this formation. New outside hitters played very well, that is one of huge reasons.

·       When the experienced players will return to the national team, the coach will have many choices to construct a strong team for the year of the world championships 2006.

III Team composition and characteristic of play

·       Within the efficiently organised game formation the individual strength in attack is successfully used thanks to the excellent setter Lo Bianco (technique, distribution of sets, situational adjustment, continuity, stability).

·       The experienced players (e.g. No. 14 Lo Bianco, No. 5 Anzanello,), with their performance and their personality, provide security and confidence for the successful and quick integration of young players (efficiency of follow-up training!).

·       The strength in the basic skills serve, block and attack is documented by the respective 2nd places in the team ranking.

·       It seems that the coach was evaluating players to identify which outside attacker and middle player can help the team most. The coach contribution is very high in every respect and it is based upon the systematic work with modern information technologies (link between statistical analysis of game / video analysis online). Extremely consistent realization of tactical steps adjusted to the opponent.

IV Technical Impression

Complex I

Passing:

·       Reception of float service mostly with 3-player formation, sometimes 2-player pattern (float distance) or, if possible, support of the passing outside attackers  (2+1 with float distance and jump floats) against jump power / controlled always 3 –player pattern.

·       Good reception performance of outside hitters (player No. 3 and player No. 6)

·       Solid libero for two middle blockers.

Setting:

·       Perfect distribution of sets (very quick set outside to P4/2; good „distribution“ of attacking play); optimum preparation of each opportunity to attack, also when restricted)  .

·       Very precise teamwork with first tempo attack (especially with player No. 5 Anzanello), also after imprecise pass.

·       When jump set with almost stretched arms direction of set hardly to detect

·       Outside the organised system (OSO) mostly clear high sets to P4.

Attacking side out:

·       Typical attacking pattern with typical 5-1 system.

·       Simply structured combination play; conclusion mostly over outside positions, efficient first tempo attack over middle; with setter at the net often and efficient back row attack P1 (P6) over opposite hitter No. 9 Centoni (obviously go-to player for ITA).

·       Aggressive attack from high set with good timing and varied technique (height of action, longline/diagonal, touch the block).

Complex II

Serving:

·       Serving by coach’s instruction.

·       Use of good tactical serve excellent tactical adaptation (float backline and distance from different positions) completed by jump float and aggressive jump power (with spin).

·       Over all very efficient serving (less error and enough aces).

Blocking:

·       Use of tactical adjustment (switch block - setter blocks at left front or middle, drop block - setter does not block against opponent’s high ball attack).

·       Good reaction and good positioning, tactical adaptation (a side blocker gives a sign which position she is going to take either line or angle).

·       Situational use of 3-player block (P2, P3 against high attacks and).

·       Active and compact block formation (good work of outside block players)

Digging:

·       Good reaction and tactical adaptation (basic system “6 back”: strengthening of defence in main hitting direction; free front row player and back row player often secure in half distance and react depending on the situation).

·       Block P2: With setter at the net the short-distance covering by setter or back row player P1; the same with back row setter; 3-player block without distance or in half distance).

·       Block P4: covering mostly from half distance by back row player P5 (libero) and setter at the net; back row setter: defence in „short” diagonal.

·       Block P3: 3-player defence formation moves far forward; covering by the back row players (P5/1).

·       Efficient work of libero in special position 5 with good positional play and great radius of action.

Attacking transition:

·       Mixture of outside attack P4/P2, attack behind the setter (one meter balls) and back court attack P1/6; quick attack over P4 after „easy” defence, first tempo P3 or behind the setter (variations of one-leg take off behind the setter).

·       Good back row attack by player No 9 during the rally (as counter attack).