Short characterization BULGARIA








WCH 2002






OG 2004



BRATOEV Valentin


NIKOLOV Vladimir  (C)

WCH 2006



YOSIFOV Viktor 5


SALPAROV Teodor  (L)

OG 2008






WCH 2010






OG 2012






The team of BUL has an average age of 25 year. Seven players are 20-25, two are 26-29 years old and two are 30-34 years. Six of its players have already played at last World Championship, three have already played at Olympic Games 2008.

The team of BUL has an average body height of 201 cm (without libero). The libero of BUL is Teodor Salparov and his height is 185 cm.  In general BUL has a young team with good perspectives for next World Championship and Olympic Games.

During the period before the Olympic Games 2012 there was a chaos around the team with coaches and key players coming and going. BUL showed in London however to be a team with a fighting style and courageous character. With all of the internal and personnel issues they have had to deal with, the team played very, very good in these Olympics.

The team has good players who are especially strong in different tasks. Opposite spiker Tsvetan Sokolov was second best scorer of the Olympics 2012 with a total score of 129 aces (111 spikes, 8 blocks and 10 serves). Sokolov also launched the fastest serve for BUL when he fired one off at 126 km/h. against ARG and one of 124 km/h. against POL.

The players of BUL captained by Vladimir beat in pool A one of the top contenders for the gold medal at the London Olympics, 2012 FIVB World League winners POL with 3-1 (25-22, 29-27, 13-25, and 25-23). For the majority of the match, POL was unable to get the ball past the Bulgarian diggers, particularly libero, Teodor Salparov, who finished the Olympics at 2.75 digs per set average, to lead all players.

For BUL it was since Moscow 1980, 32 years ago to go to the semifinals of the Olympic Games. Against RUS in the semifinal BUL was even not far away from a fifth set, when losing the fourth 23-25 (3-1: 25-21, 25-15, 25-23, 25-23).

BUL coach Nayden Naydenov and his assistant coach Camillo Placě were very happy about the results in London OG 2012, because the team was not thinking about the problems before coming, but only about volleyball on court.


Complex I – Attack (first ball side out)

The attacking combinations / tempo’s are primarily terminated from the outside positions (P4/2) and from the back-court (Sokolov P1). The combinations are based on a high level of service reception performance: 69.94% success (libero Salparov), while the average % of the teams was 62.77%. Covering sometimes nearly half of the field width (4 meters) he showed many individual technical reception variations. For a jumpfloat service reception is performed with 3 players, often by overhead passing and about 4-5 meters (13-16 feet) from the net. In case of a jumpspin the players stay deeper, about 7 meters or more from the net. Receivers are focused by having their hands on their thighs to rest, excepted the libero, who makes sometimes little jumps before reception (see video clip libero in reception).

In the different rotations in most cases only one version of attack combination is played. The setter Bratoev spreads the attack with quick sets to the antennas, so the blockers get in trouble especially if they start from a central position. Always taking the ball as high as possible by both hands or if necessary by one hand and sometimes a surprising tip-shot (“dink”).

The variable set distribution (good timing, precise and individually adapted) is a major source of success, which especially is demonstrated with the video clips showing the setter at P1/6/5.

When the setter is acting close to the net the integration of the 3-meter attacks from pos. 1 is impressive. In the side-out attacks (best spiker/opposite Sokolov) has played a central and successful role. His attacking performance -together with the quick attackers (offensive offer for 1st tempo!!) in almost all rotations- is a great example for attacking approach.


Complex II – Block

Best blockers of BUL are middle blocker Nikolay Nikolov (no. 8 in players ranking, 15 killblocks / 0.54 average by set), receiver-attacker Todor Skrimov and opposite Sokolov, each with 8 killblocks/ 0.29 average by set. To make additional service pressure BUL sometimes make a screen with the block just before the opponent is receiving the service. Some players then keep their hands on the head, so it seems as if no screen is made with hands, but in fact, the screen is just wider because the arms are bent and the elbows are placed sideways. The pos. 5 and pos. 6 player complete the screen behind the blockers. By applying scouting information (serve /blocking tactics) the team can successfully implement a highly organized strategy which is adapted to the opponent. In defensive situations (no touch and block touch) in most cases high and closed group blocks make a well arranged and successful action of the defensive formation possible. BUL successfully applies different options of block arrangement according to the needs of the match situation. Considering these actions the precise adaptation of the positions of the outer block player, the extreme fight to arrange closed group blocks to fight tempo attacks with quick leg actions (varying step sequences: especially running step - closing step, coordination of the bloc actions) are impressive. When observing BUL also the decision making behaviour (block or defense/covering?) of the outside attackers (P4) and special blocking tactics of the setter at the net (compare also ITA/BRA/RUS) are interesting to notice (see video clips Block). The video clips show that BUL played beautiful 2-synchronized block with cross-over technique and a standard most commonly used defense up to a 2-block pos. 2. BUL tries to organize a central 3-block against opposite’s pipe attack.


Complex II – Attack (transition)

Counter attacks are in the majority of the attacks terminated from outside positions. Transition-play was well organized and sometimes quick attack combinations are played.  BUL applies semi-high sets to backcourt attackers in complicated situations (without precise defense).

In free ball situations generally a quick combination is played with all attackers available to play. Completion with a 1st tempo attack in such a situation is favourite. In these situations backcourt attacks are integrated into attacking combinations.

In matches of BUL situations with a repeated counter attack following attack coverage are relatively rare. Obviously they are consciously avoided. In case it happens outside attacks dominate.

Block covering players are very observant and act with supreme effort (quick movements, deep defense). In case of a good quality of the defensive actions a quick transition to counter attacks at the net and from the backcourt is arranged.

Because of the quick settings and attack combinations the block is regular under pressure. The result is that different movement techniques are used to try to form a block in time. Of course, the time that the block needs to be influenced by self-service with a difficult to enforce a higher attack. This gives the own blockers more time for a well organized block.The used displacement technique is dependent on the position where the set-up is given. Also in cases of a less good pass, there is still the possibility of a relatively fast (jump) setup. In transition the defenders start from the positions used for the first tempo attack. At higher attack a closed 2- or 3- block can be placed are the defenders from the first tempo position slightly to the rear. The defense of first-tempo attacks is very difficult. Often the only option for a defender is to defend the ball with one hand.

If the ball is defended by an attacker he is often disabled for a fast attack and other solutions are chosen to complete the counterattack.Yet there were rallies to see where the attacker who had just defended a ball again was used for an attack. See for examples the video clips.