All teams used conventional formations for execution of teamplay. Setters and Diagonal player played defense in 2 & 1, Powers played in 4 & 6, Middles played in 3 & 5. Liberos were used for Middle players and played defense in position 5. BRA, BUL, DOM, GER and NED used 3 blockers from time to time vs high balls in 4 position. All teams used the 5-1 offensive system with dependence upon one main setter. The ‘double sub’ was the main tactical weapon used by teams to try and gain an advantage during coach interventions. Most teams had a starting six and stayed with those players throughout, except in situations where players had lost composure.
When setter’s had to take the first ball defensively either the libero or middle player set the 2nd ball, unless it was in broken play. Mostly it was intentionally the middle player setting high outside to 4 or 2, occasionally using a “pipe’ or “3m Right”. In the backcourt the libero usually took charge to initiate the set. The Dominican libero thought that she was the 2nd setter in most situations.
Defensively the 6 back system was the main mode of team coverage with some variation for the off side blocker (under the block sometimes) and the same for position #1 who was closer to the net and behind the block. 6 position held neutral unless the block was solid and then when it was there could be some movement to the long side of the court i.e. BUL, BRA.
Emotions were very high and each team had their moments when they were strong and then when they had to recover from serve, receive and attack errors. Definitely, teams used emotion to disguise their moments of unsteadiness. Matches lasted long, even if there were only 3 sets played.
Liberos were an intricate part of all teams but most did not have high levels of both reception and defense. Usually, they were better in one of those skills rather than both. For example, the Dominican libero was the skill and emotional leader on her team. In most other cases the liberos were not as emotional but still contributed to overall team play. Setting the 2nd ball, either by design when the setter dug the first ball or during broken plays, was an important skill.
· Offense was generally simple with shoot, ‘quick’, ‘one foot slide’, ‘pipe’ and ‘3 m right attack’ in most team’s repertoires.
· Not much combination play, a few ‘crossing’ movements by Brazil and Dominican, except for Chinese Taipei who ran much combination play.
· Chinese Taipei was the only team that ran combination play from defensive tran-sitions. Freeballs were generally the time for the use of quicker or long distance sets to create one vs one situations.
· Team were dependent upon the high set in most off-net situations
· The error level in attack was quite high as teams either made a ‘kill’ or went for a ‘kill. Off speed play was evident in situations when attackers were not in perfect balance. VIS statistics for the tournament show that there was a 35.4% kill level along with a 15.2 error level in attack for all 16 teams. The top 6 teams had a slightly better kill and error level with 37.2% and 15.1%, respectively.
· All teams used a 6 back defense with movement of players dependent upon their blocking strengths.
· There was outstanding individual defense, at times, by all teams with Germany showing the best team composure and structure vs opponent attacks.
· Strong with the ‘jump float’ variety of service being the ‘taste of the day’.
· Not many players served a long way from the end line.
· There was only a few spin servers (Bulgaria, Netherlands, Taipei).
· The error level was quite high with many serving mistakes being made by both sides in sequence.
· VIS statistics for top 16 teams show that there was an 8.1% Service Ace level and a 10.8% Error level. The top 6 teams were almost the same with 8.4% Ace level and 10.8% Error level.
· Generally all setters could deliver the high ball with ‘front quick’ and ‘slide’ and pipe options. However, except for Taipei, teams did not use many quick combinations.
· Setters used 3 m attack ball in their offensive combinations but many were more like release sets and not in a lower arc for timing purposes.
Libero and Defense
· Perhaps the key to each team’s performance
· Teams that achieved in the top 3 had a libero who had control of reception and defensive skills.
Works out of:
Dr. Sawula, Lorne; Gacic, Radovan
FIVB Technical evaluator
Dr. Berthold Fröhner
FIVB external consultant