In blog three of our six-part series, we dive into one of the most useful stats and how it can encourage your offense to take advantage of every opportunity to score.

Some coaches put a high emphasis on stats like hitting percentage, serving percentage or pass quality rating. While those are key, we all know the outcome of the match is dependent on your team’s ability to side out—and taking that opportunity away from your opponent. In the third part of our series with The Art of Coaching Volleyball, we’re focusing on first ball kills and scoring in transition.

The Problem

Ever notice you grip your clipboard just a bit tighter when it comes time for serve receive in a specific rotation? If your team consistently struggles to side out in rotation one, it’ll start costing you key sets and matches. Is it because of passing? Were there tough match-ups in the front row? Use our attack tendencies report to get to the bottom of it quickly.

The Diagnosis

You select your last five matches and filter to show only attacks in rotation one. Then, you scroll down and choose first ball as the phase. You notice most of the swings are just zero attacks (attacks that didn’t end the play)—your front row isn’t being aggressive enough. 

It might be ideal to side out on the first ball every time, but it’s not realistic. When it doesn’t happen, you want your team to score in transition. So you filter by transition balls. You notice similar things—a lot of red lines (errors) and grey lines (zero attacks) but very few kills.

So you select attempts in the player stats table, which takes you to the video clips associated with those swings. Right away, you notice that your outside is late almost every time and your middle is rarely up and calling for the ball.

The Solution

Luckily, there are a lot of drills out there that’ll help your team improve in these two areas. The first one from The Art of Coaching Volleyball mimics a high-pressure, game-like situation that’ll push your team to get the first ball kill.

Be sure to also check out this tempo drill that focuses on quick transitions and siding out under pressure. Once a side wins three free balls in transition, they need to side out to get a “big point”. This encourages aggressive serves and defense from the side that’s serving, and great passing and attacking under pressure from the opposing team. 

Want to see more drills and coaching tips? Head over to The Art of Coaching Volleyball to start learning. And stay tuned for blog four in this series, Defense Behind a Block.