Short characterization RUSSIA








WCH 2002



KHTEY Taras    (C)



OG 2004





SOKOLOV Alexander

WCH 2006





BUTKO Alexander

OG 2008






WCH 2010





VOLKOV Alexander

OG 2012






The team of RUS has an average age of 27,42 year. Eight players are 23/24 - 27/28 years old and four are 30-36 years. Six players have already played in the last World Championship 2010, five have already played in the Olympic Games 2008 and in general the players have played many international matches. That means a broad international competition experience.

With an average body height of 201,6 cm (without libero) the team of RUS has the “tallest” team among the TOP 4. The libero of RUS is the tallest of the top 4 men’s teams: 188 cm. Considering the tasks of the players in the matches (MB: 203 – 210- 218 cm, RA: 205 – 197 cm, O: 202 resp. 218 cm) the anthropometric presuppositions for attack are optimal. This also refers to the blocking actions because the setters have a body height of 195 resp. 198 cm.

RUS can be characterized as a team with a fighting style and courageous character. The team has excellent players who are especially strong in attack and block (rank 1 in team-rankings best scorers and best spikers and rank 5 in team-ranking best blockers). Russia’s opposite spiker Maxim Mikhaylov finished with 17 points, giving him 148 total points, most in these Olympic Games. Mikhaylov also launched the fastest serve of the Mikasa ball for RUS when he fired one off at 121 km/h. Dmitriy Muserskiy led all scorers in the match with 31 points, a record for an Olympic gold medal match. He had a score of 85 points during the whole OG. Taras Khtey is very important for the team as a captain and a personality.

RUS had in the pool matches 4 wins (among them the 3:2 against USA) and 1 lost against BRA (3-0). The total set result in the pool was 12-5. The team dominated its quarter- and semi-final, winning resp. 3:0 against POL and 3-1 against BUL. After this result RUS was not really the favorite in the Olympic final. RUS has earned 10 men’s volleyball Olympic medals and has earned a medal every year except Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 when they finished resp. seventh and fourth. Even though RUS won so many medals in volleyball the gold of London 2012 was the first Olympic gold again since 1980 in Moscow. RUS came back in the final against BRA from a 0-2 set deficit to win the last three sets for a 3-2 victory to capture the men’s volleyball gold medal in the presence of 14,500 fans at Earls Court on the final day of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The amazing comeback from two sets down to defeat Brazil 3-2 (19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9) was the first time RUS has beaten Brazil in 5 sets at the Olympic Games. Brazil had two match points in the third set but could not close the match out.

Coach Alekno changed the final completely after two sets lost by moving Dmitriy Muserskiy from the middleblocker position to the opposite position. Muserskiy realised in the last three sets a score of 24 points out of 35 attempts and made only 5 faults.


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 (P6/1). The combinations are based on a moderate level of serve reception performance: 54.64% success (libero Alexey Obmochaev), while the average % of the teams was 62.77%. RUS was no. 10 in team ranking of service reception.

Obmachaev makes regular fast short "triple actions" just before the service. Coverings sometimes half or more of the field width (4-5 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. By adjusting sometimes with 4 players every receiver has only a smaller area to take. 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.

In the different rotations in most cases only one version of attack combination is played. 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 is impressive (opposite Mikhaylov and of course Muserskiy in the last 2 sets in the final). In the side-out attacks Mikhaylov (best spiker) 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 (see the videoclips).

Like all teams during the OG 2012 RUS want to play quick attacks. By spreading the attack with quick sets to the antennas, the blockers get in trouble especially if they start from a central position. Besides the spreading strategy the "overload principle" is applied. Especially the back court attack -systematically integrated into the attack combinations - gives pressure on the block because a "supernumerary" situation of attackers is created with respect to the block.


Complex II – Block

With respect to this performance feature RUS is number 3 in team ranking, (23,73% kills / 3,18 average by set) behind resp. USA (3,4) and AUS (3,3), but these last two teams did not play in the (semi-)final. The two middle blockers No 13 Dmitry Muserskiy (rank 5: 0,55 average by set) and No. 18 Alexander Volkov (rank 13: 0,45 average by set) rank high in the individual ranking.

To make additional service pressure RUS sometimes make a screen with the block just before the opponent is receiving the service. 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. The libero often organizes these block arrangement. RUS 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 block actions) are impressive. When observing RUS 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/BUL) are interesting to notice. By systematically applying of serve /blocking tactics the team can successfully implement a highly organized strategy which is adapted to the opposing team’s way of playing.

RUS organizes a central 3-block against opposite’s pipe attack. 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.RUS play beautiful 2-synchronized block with cross-over technique and a standard most commonly used defense up to a 2-block pos. 2


Complex II – Attack (transition)

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. Based on this the resulting counter attacks are in the majority of the attacks terminated from outside positions. As other teams RUS applies semi-high sets to backcourt attackers in complicated situations (without precise defense).

The same applies to freeball situations and in these situations backcourt attacks are integrated into attacking combinations.

In match 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.

The defense of first-tempo attacks is very difficult. Often the only option for a defender is to defend the ball with one hand. Transition-play is well organized with regular quick attack combinations. 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.

If the ball is defended by an attacker he is often disabled for a fast attack. Yet there were rallies where the attacker who had just defended a ball again was used for an attack. See for examples the video clips.