Junior Women World Championship was held in Lima and Trujillo, Peru from the July, 22 to the July, 31 2011. The best four teams at this championship will be shortly described and evaluated. The gold medalist Italy, the 2nd placed Brazil, the 3rd placed China and the 4th placed USA, showed great performance and specially consistency through the whole tournament.
The tournament was played by the format where 16 teams were divided into the 4 groups per 4 teams. The best 2 teams from each pool, were qualified to play in the pools E and F for the final ranking 1-8. The teams ranked 3 and 4 in the basic groups continued playing in the pools G and H, for the ranking 9-16.
In comparison with the last World Championship, held in Mexico 2009, only Brazil succeeded to defeat their medal spot, reaching the final 2nd position (in Mexico Brazil was 3rd). This year’s champion Italy and bronze medal holder China were not qualified for the 2009 edition. Also, USA improved dramatically from 2009, reaching final 4th place (15th in Mexico).
Defending champion Germany and the 4th placed Bulgaria did not make it through the qua-lification phase. The silver medalist from 2009, Dominican Republic, reached the 5th place.
Local organizers showed unbelievable spirit and the willingness to organize this competition on the highest possible level. The accommodation, transport, food, training and the competition facilities were on disposal in their best edition. Some problems coming out on the daily basis were solved quickly and regularly. Also all the staff and journalists were having full support.
Sentence saying “Volleyball is played because and for the spectators”, was definitely confirmed in Peru. Both for Trujillo and Lima or if Peru team was playing, the number of spectators was amazing. Every evening the main hall in Lima was completely full with the 5000 fans cheering for all the participants. Also during the morning matches in Trujillo and Lima we could see 1000 spectators or more.
TECHNICAL AND TACTICAL POINT OF VIEW
Players in the teams reaching places 1-4 were in general technically good educated. Most important fact was that in the technical execution of the basic skills these teams showed top consistency of all participants. In this age group a low number of the unforced errors will be crucial for reaching the good results. Sufficient level of the technical knowledge of the game is the base for further development of each individual and the team in the technical and the tactical point of view.
SERVE AND RECEPTION
Maybe the biggest difference in the comparison with the senior teams and especially with men's volleyball was in the service reception and service. Only few times in the second part of the championship players used the overhand reception technique. Most of the time underhand technique was used. This is even more interesting if we connect this with the fact, that with the exception of 2 players (Van Hecke from Belgium and Bianchini from Italy), all other players were using the jump float service or the jump float from distance. Only the two mentioned players were using jump spin serve regularly, as their first choice. Even long float serves were almost always received with the underhand technique.
Tactically some interesting solutions were seen. All the best 4 teams were using 3 men reception formation. China was sometimes using the 2 men reception formation, but only in a few cases. China and USA were using the opposite player in the reception formation and did not use the player in the outside hitter’s position. The not receiving China outside hitter was player No. 2 Wang Qi, starting close to the setter. In case of the USA outside hitter No. 7 Eckerman was not receiving, her starting position was away from the setter. Nevertheless in both cases tactical idea was the same.
SET AND ATTACK
Generally setters were trying to use the quick sets to all the positions. In some cases we could even see setters forcing the speed too much causing some more errors. China and USA did not use the attack from position 1 so often, since their opposite players were involved in the reception. Attack from the position 6 was also used, but more as solution after a bad reception or dig and not so much as basic attack. Middle blockers were generally using slide attacks close and away from the setter. These attacks were usually efficient, which proves that a lot of correction has to be done in blocking technique against such attack. In the transition sometimes the quick front sets and shots were used, but not in the amount as the slide attacks. Outside hitters generally showed a lot of different hits, using diagonal and parallel, tips and block out hits. In some situation the attackers should use the block to get a chance for additional attack or for block out scoring. Italy and Brazil were using classical opposite players, not involved in reception formation. The Italian opposite No.13 Diouf, receives a high number of balls in the attack, especially in transition. She was used a lot also for back row attacks from position 1 and in one rotation also from position 6, but only in attack after reception.
BLOCK AND DEFENCE
The range of kill blocks between the four best teams was relatively big, as China had 3.52 kill blocks per set and reached 1st place, at same time 4th placed USA had 2.32 kill blocks per set and reached final 7th place in this skill among all participants. At the same time we have to mention, that USA libero No.3, Hagglund was 2nd best among diggers and she received individual “the best libero” award. We could see that in case the defense is working properly, lower number of kill blocks can be “covered”. Not a lot of triple blocks were seen, only in some cases after the bad reception. The outside hitters were helping blocking on the middle attacks, especially the players in the position 2 (setters and opposites).
For back court defense system the formation 2-0-4 was mostly used (without direct covering behind the block). Liberos in defense were, with exception of USA player Hagglund, in position 5. Hagglund was most of the time in position 6. Liberos were also used for setting in case setter had successfully defended the ball.
All 4 teams were using mostly up to 8th players in rotation and all teams were having 12 players ready to step into the game at any moment for tactical reason. 3 of the 4 best teams used the double substitution regularly as tactical means. After 20th point many changes were done on the serve. Some players were only used for serving at the crucial moments.
Technical evaluator: Radovan Gacic