Short characterization: Cuba

I Team formation

·         Further new formation of the pool of 12 players - four new players; not well-established and inexperienced; if the team will stay together they will have a great future for 2008!

·         8 players are 23 years old or younger; 3 players under 20 years; with Simon No.13 (18 years) they have the youngest player, and with Diaz No.18 the youngest and best setter (20 years)!

·         Compared with the qualification for the 2004 Olympic Games change at 3 regular positions (set, diagonal and libero);

·         Youngest team with an average age of 23.2 years; with a height of 197.9 cm within average range.

II  General impression

·         Reach the final round for the first time since 2001 – finish with a respectable 3rd place!

·         Unsteady performances during the game (lost and won series of points) – very good performances in final hit of attack (48 % efficiency).

·         Represent athletic power volleyball with strength in basic skills; all younger players having improved technical training.

·         With young players clear progress in actions preceding offence is discernible (reception, freeball situations, set, and court defence)!     

·         Outstanding physical abilities (jumping and hitting power) of almost all players; improved tactical behaviour and increased understanding of game.

·         Rank among the first (individually and as team) in all categories – 3 distinctions as Best Spiker (Bell No.12), Best Setter (Diaz No.18) and Best Receiver (Juantorena No.5).

III Team composition and characteristic of play

·         Hardly any equal substitution options at the positions (except for diagonal).

·         With Dominico No.17 and Pimienta No.8, they have two experienced and above average good quick attackers, and with Pimienta No.8 the most effective middle blocker (0.86 points per set).   

·         Partly lack of coordination in defence and in setting (secondary setter); not enough quality of individual players in the actions preceding attack yet!

·         Restricted concept of play by limited action profiles (reception – outside attacker) – seldom back row attacks P6 by Portuondo No.4 and Juantorena No.5.

·         No use of modern information technologies (on-line scouting, data transfer, video analyses) - they use only written analyses.

IV Technical impression

Complex I

Passing:

·         Best passing team of the tournament with 63 % excellent passing and 3 % error – with Juantorena No.5, they also have the best individual player.

·         Passing of jump services in 3-player formation with starting position at 8-9 metres – move 1-2 steps forward in the moment of first toss of the ball.

·         At jump-float serves, they stand very far in front (3-5 m) and pass a good deal of them without any problems with overhead (also quick attackers).

·         At jump-float serves, Bell No.12 often leaves the 3-player formation – integration into back row attack P6 and integration of quick and powerful sets over P4! 

Setting:

·         Diaz No.18 is excellent as best setter of the tournament and he is convincing with high quality of sets (carefree and self-confident) in a clearly structured game. 

·         He prefers classical basic combinations and is able to vary the positions of place-bound sets (P 4/2) in height and speed (relative to player).

·         From good reception he puts his quick attackers very well into the limelight; prefers by some 80% first tempo attack immediately in front and mainly in the rotations P3 and P6! 

·         Varies set to P4/2 with long and short distances; in rotation P1 he prefers sets to P2 with Juantorena No.5 (appr. 50 %!)

·         He is able to play sets above the head quickly and low, too – direction of set can easily be concluded from his body posture (still easy to understand)!   

Attacking side out:

·         With Bell No.12 they have the most effective spiker, and with Romero No.1 and Juantorena No.5 another two out of the six best spikers in the individual statistics of the whole attack.

·         Above average physical abilities and good quality of sets make possible big hitting height and striking force in attack in the basic combinations. 

·         Wide range of variations in final hit of attack from the outside positions in diagonal hitting direction -  restricted repertoire in the work with the block and hitting techniques opposite the running direction (except for Romero No.1)!   

·         Are convincing in first tempo attack with sets near to setter and big hitting height – vary hitting direction (angle and depth of court)!

Complex II

Serving:

·         Team with average effectiveness and effect of serve (6 % plus and 15 % errors); good variability of power, spin and direction with Juantorena No.5 and Camejo No.15!

·         Range of variations of individuals and team not enough developed yet – both middle blockers without points and with little effect.

·         Are able to reveal reserves by change of serving tactics (type of serve, power, spin and hitting zone) during the game!

·         Camejo No.15 as serving specialist and Juantorena No.5 vary cleverly when performing jump serve in the use of spin (right and left sided) both in power and direction! 

Blocking:

·         Good tactical behaviour with average blocking values; successful in situations without time pressure (P4/2) as well as in 1:1 situations middle of the net (Pimienta No.8).

·         Close starting position when opponent’s setter at the net – outside blocker tries to help during attacks beyond the middle of the net.

·         Problems of middle blockers, above all Dominico No.17, with quick sets to outside positions (often jumps with and comes too late).

·         Try to form triple block with high/medium-high sets (uneven area of block, partly jump too early, tilting of outer hand to avoid touch the block)!   

Digging:

·         Clearly structured defensive behaviour with distinct responsibilities – with Mendez No.16 (Libero) and Juantorena No.5 they have two extraordinary defensive players.

·         In starting position, Mendez stands far at right (at 3-4 m) pretending presence against first attack of setter; he moves late, but quickly to P 4/5.

·         He is technically well trained and defends successfully balls close to the body; nearly always defends at P5!

·         Practice double and triple defence against outside attacks; player not being in the block joins the formation – no short-distance covering!

·         With triple block defence first tempo and against back row P6 attacks mostly position defence with adjustments to left and right of the player at P6!  

Attacking transition:

·         Clear responsibilities in attacking transition mainly from P4 and from back court P1 – very seldom first tempo and/or back row P6!

·         Attacking transition via outside positions with quick powerful sets only in clear situations and after free ball, mostly with Juantorena No.5,

·         Romero No.1 very effective spiker with variable and situational solution options in offence from high sets and from back row P1!