So I was totally going to write about a different topic today, but I just came back from a 4 on 4 game that inspired me to talk instead about smart volleyball teams and their ability to put down teams that have nothing but power.
Here’s how the game went:
Team A: three huge guys (6′ 4″ or taller) with marginal overall skills but deadly hitting and one girl who was marginal all around.
Team B: two guys on the short to average size and two short girls, but all with a good solid skill set.
In warm up Team A looked genuinely frightening. Off good sets they were pounding the ball like crazy, and they got off quite a few blistering jump serves as well. It was very clear, however, that their setting at least didn’t have a good foundation behind it. To be honest I’m afraid I would have had to call them for double hits on nearly every set if I was the ref.
But Team B (that was my team) decided that our best bet was to keep them off their offense by serving aggressively and not letting them run their big guns every time. Our smart serving, scrappy defense and well-placed hits did their jobs, and we ended up winning the first game 21-10. I won’t lie, I served right at their weakest passer about seven times in a row and they weren’t happy, but it did keep us from taking any crazy hits to the face.
Team A was unable to adjust to the bad passes and the mediocre sets that resulted. They swung as hard as they could at every single ball no matter where it was, and at least 70% went out and 15% went into the net. The same thing happened with their serves: they went for the crazy hard jump serves and ended up hitting them into the back wall.
The second game started off with Team A serving less effectively, and being forced to try and dig some monster attacks as a result. Team B took full advantage of a few missed serves to get their first lead of the match, but by chasing down errant balls, hitting into the deep corners and generally playing solid volleyball Team A managed to regain the momentum and win the match in two games.
Why Smart Volleyball Wins
These kinds of games make me very happy, because they prove that in volleyball it’s not about who can hit the ball the hardest. It’s about who can use teamwork to set up plays and intelligently place the ball on the other team’s court.
A solid foundation of volleyball skills will serve you better than extreme height or strength nine times out of ten, and that’s great news for those of us who didn’t win the genetic lottery. Six tall players with amazing attacks don’t have a chance if none of them can pass or set, and the best jump serve in the world won’t do you any good if you miss two out of three.
So spend time in the gym improving your skills, and be confident that your time won’t be wasted!
Photo courtesy of Flickr.