Introduction

The technical evaluation of the Men’s World Championship held in Poland 2014 follows the same formatting of the London 2012 volleyball Olympic Games competition. This analysis focus on best practices or positive performances of the top four group and team tactical assessments of critical fundaments of the game such as the attack, the serve, the defense and the block. Setting and passing were still major skills embraced by exceptional performances at specific stages such as the attack (Complex I) and the counter attack (Complex II). As in the London analyses our goal has been to highlight critical elements of the rallies during the final stage of the tournament. In this case, it was important to point out the combination of actions as well as well-designed concepts that we believed to be the determining factor for success during the Men’s World Championship. The matches during the finals in Katowice (POL, BRA, GER, and FRA) provide the foundations for our analyses.

The final rankings were:

 

1

  Poland

2

  Brazil

3

  Germany

4

  France

5

  Russia

6

  Iran

7

  Canada

7

  USA

9

  Finland

9

  Serbia

11

  Argentina

11

  Cuba

13

  Bulgaria

13

  Italy

15

  Australia

15

  China

17

  Belgium

17

  Korea

17

  Mexico

17

  Venezuela

21

  Cameroon

21

  Egypt

21

  Puerto   Rico

21

  Tunisia

 

The top four teams depicted a similar tactical disposition and technical execution. At situations of first ball side out (Complex I) video clips showed that most teams adopted a consistent fast offense with the pass in system (good pass at P2/P3). Out of serve receive most teams focused on using the middle hitter or the subsequent combinations of first-second tempos, in order to overcome the opponents blocking/ defensive systems. Considering the difficult level of serves the use of back row players was also noticeable across all four teams, primarily through P6 and P1. Attacks in Complex I from P6 were slightly faster that from P1. The receiver-attacker role was evidently critical among all teams and most teams adopted a three-man formation for serve receive composed essentially by outside hitters (OS) and by the libero. In fact, some teams adopted two others and one libero for a two-man passing system. The performance of the libero has received a special attention both in Complex I as well as in complex II situations.

During Complex II (blocking, defense and counter-attack) it was critical to highlight if the opponent team’s setter was in the front or back row. In some cases, video clips have shown that single, double and triple blocks resulted from the toughness of the serve as well as if the opponent team had two or three attackers in the front row. New Technical Evaluator software developed by FIVB, CCC software Leipzig and Dr. Berthold Fröhner was utilized to tag and capture the video clips. The software also provided graphic and video editing tools to analyze and trim video clips which can be uploaded to the FIVB website. Specific tagging panels show teams performances as they happened. Tags for Complex II included free ball, defense without block, with block touch, block coverage and attack coverage followed by rally finalization. 

General observations of a rally are shown intermittently within broken-down events in order to highlight the whole-part-whole aspects of players’ exceptional performances. In fact, attractive rallies are shown relying heavily on the notion that volleyball continues to grow as a result of its flexibility and appeal to players, coaches and spectators. The role of the setter continues to be the determining factor for top volleyball teams to be successful. Furthermore, there is no doubt that coaches have been focusing on practicing the combination of blocking/ defense as a way to win at the elite level. As in London 2012, we have divided the attack in Complex II (Transition) into five basic transition situations to illustrate the different aspects of the cooperation between block - defense/covering - set - counter attack. We reiterated the inclusion of attractive long rallies as they directly represented outstanding and impressive aspects of finesse, athletic prowess and creativity while depicting power, strength, speed and agility. The unmatched crowds from Poland watched amazing emotional episodes that epitomize excellence in technical-tactical performances during the 2014 Men’s competition.

In the “general impressions” we have summarized selected general results of our observations of the men’s world championship. The “short characterization” sessions present a general team characteristic as an outline of how that team bridged their tactical dispositions into technical performances. “This is volleyball” was the slogan of this championship, thus this was “how it happened” represents the intent of our video analyses. Therefore, the “short characterization” highlighted strong features and team specific characteristics of the actual playing mode seen in the clips. The major intention has been to simply show team performances in specific game situations in order to allow coaches of all levels how to best understand and instruct their athletes using as an example sample of performances from the best teams in the world. The language is simpler so young athletes, parents and also spectators can follow and also understand why volleyball is a great family spectacle and a fun sport to play for a lifetime. Selected personal and performance data (VIS) and thoroughly selected typical match situations characterizing the playing style have formed the basis for this part of our analyses. 

 

 

Dr. Gylton da Matta (Technical Evaluator,  The United States )

Abe Meininger (Technical Evaluator, The Netherlands)

Dr. Berthold Fröhner (External Technical Consultant, Germany)

Peter  Murphy (Technical Commission FIVB / Project Coordinator, The Netherlands)