Short characterization USA

 

PLAYERS

STARTING SIX - SUBSTITUTES

Ranking

2002-2012

2

SCOTT-ARRUDA, Danielle

WCH 2002

2

3

HANEEF-PARK, Tayyiba

4

BERG, Lindsey  (C)

OG 2004

5-8

5

MIYASHIRO, Tamari

6

DAVIS, Nicole  (L)

WCH 2006

9

10

LARSON, Jordan

11

HODGE, Megan

OG 2008

2

13

HARMOTTO, Christa

15

TOM, Logan

WCH 2010

4

16

AKINRADEWO, Foluke

17

THOMPSON, Courtney

OG 2012

2

19

HOOKER, Destinee

 

General

Together with RUS and ITA the team of the USA has had the highest average age (28,7 years). Seven players are 23/24 - 27/28 years old, while five are 30 years or older. Nine of its players have already played at least two World Championships, five have already played an Olympic tournament and in general the players have played many international matches, which lead to an extraordinarily comprehensive international  competition experience.

With an average body height of 185 cm (without libero) the USA had the “tallest” team among the TOP 4. Considering the tasks of the players in the matches (MB: 188 - 191cm, RA: 185 - 188 cm, O: 191 resp. 201cm) the anthropometric presuppositions for attacks are optimal. This also refers to the blocking actions where a smaller bodyheight of the setters (173 resp. 170cm) often is compensated by certain tactical measures.

The US team is also characterized by a rational and efficient playing style with excellent players on all positions resp. for all tasks. It is especially strong in its attacks and in the block (rank 1 in both team-rankings). The implementation of the match resp. playing concept is supported by modern, very detailed scouting information. For many years it has been a striking example of teamwork and fighting spirit. It is especially worth mentioning that the coaching has been very differentiated and task directed (contact with individual players, group communication, substitutions of players).

The 2008 Olympic silver medal winner had no problem in the round-robin pool matches with five wins (among them the 3:1 against BRA, and with a total set result of 15:2). The team also dominated its quarter- and semi-final, winning 3:0 each. Summarizing the matches the superiority in the block is striking (55:25 kills resp. 22:7 kills in comparison to the opponents). After this performance the team was the favorite in the Olympic final and could keep this dominant performance in the first set (25:11). Then Brazil could take over the initiative starting in the 2nd set and the US team lost the match – without regaining the initiative in the match at any time again. We experienced – with this line-up for the last time – a great and fair US team which, unfortunately, was denied to win an Olympic or World title.

 

Complex I – Attack (first ball side out)

The successful attacking combinations / tempo’s are primarily terminated from the outside positions (P4/2) and from the back-court (P6/1). They are based on a respectable serve reception performance. In this performance feature the USA team ranks in the midfield of team ranking (70% success, libero: 74%). In the different rotations in most cases only one version 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 in front the integration of the back court attacks is impressive and perfect. (opposite No 19 Hooker). In the side-out attacks Hooker (best spiker) has played a central and successful role. You can study her spatial-time oriented attacking behavior together with the quick attackers (offensive approach for 1st tempo!!) in almost all rotations – which is a great example for that attacking style. Beside the signaled attacking combination the setters, and depending on the real match situation all the other players too, try to prepare optimum conditions for attacks (inclusion of the libero, underhand set).

 

Complex II – Block

With respect to this performance feature the USA is first in team ranking (19% kills / 3,2 average by set; WCh 2010: 17% kills / 3,0 average by set). The two middle blockers No 16 Akinradewo (rank 2: 21% kills / 0,9 average by set) and No 19 Hooker (rank 4: 32% kills / average by set 0,8) rank in the top of individual ranking. The USA team successfully applies all options of block arrangement according to the needs of the match situation. Considering these actions the precise adaptation of the positions of the outside blockplayer, the hard work to arrange closed groupblocks to handle tempo attacks with quick leg actions (varying step sequences: especially running step - closing step, coordination of the blockactions) are impressive. When observing the USA team 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 JPN/BRA) are interesting to notice. By systematically applying of scouting information (serve tactics/blocking behavior) the team can successfully implement a highly organized play which is adapted to the opposing team’s way of playing.

 

Complex II – Attack (transition)

In defensive situations (no touch and blocktouch) 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 executed from outside positions. As other teams too. the USA applies semi-high sets to backcourt attackers in complicated situations (without precise defense).

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

In matches of the USA team 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.