Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Opponent Analysis and Scouting Reports

As the club season comes to an end, it’s essential to reflect on areas of improvement. While scouting opportunities during the club season are limited, we can make the most of them to enhance our performance. By studying and learning from our rivals’ tendencies, we can gain a significant advantage over teams that do not prepare. In this article, we will explore the importance of opponent analysis and how to create effective scouting reports.

The Significance of Scouting

Whether you coach at the high school, club, or college level, scouting your opponents and designing a solid game plan is crucial for your team’s success. As a coach, it is your responsibility to provide your team with the best opportunity to win, just as they owe you their best efforts on the court. Scouting helps you gather information about your opponents, enabling you to make strategic decisions and develop effective tactics.

Pre-Game Analysis

Before playing against an opponent, it is vital to gather information through various means, such as watching videos of their previous matches or being a spectator at their games. Videos offer the advantage of repetitive viewing, allowing you to pick up on tendencies and weaknesses that may not be apparent at first glance. It is essential to focus on the following aspects when analyzing your opponents:

  1. Starting Rotations: Determine whether you need to match their starting rotation or go with your best point-scoring rotation first. Consider the matchups between your players and theirs.
  2. Passer Tendencies: Observe how the opponents’ passers behave. Do they bail early? Are they better at passing in certain directions? Analyze their recovery after errors and their proficiency with different pass types.
  3. Offensive Tendencies: Identify the tempo and sets they prefer in both system and out-of-system play. Pay attention to the hitters’ tendencies and how the middles transition. Recognize any offensive patterns or favorite plays they use.
  4. Defensive Formations and Abilities: Understand their defensive formations and vulnerabilities. Evaluate their transition from free/down balls and their ability to read and set up blocks. Analyze their base defense and determine what offensive strategies you can employ to exploit it.
  5. Setter Tendencies: Study the setter’s habits, such as who they set when in trouble, how they handle errors/blocks, and their preferred sets in different situations. Make note of any offensive threats they pose and adjust your blocking schemes accordingly.
  6. Serving Tendencies: Determine the zones they target with their serves and where each player’s serves finish. Plan your serve receive formation accordingly and identify passers who excel against certain types of serves.
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Presenting the Data

Now that you have gathered the necessary information, it’s crucial to present it effectively to your team. Avoid overwhelming them with excessive information. Instead, involve your team in the process of building the scouting report. This can include watching videos, creating shot charts, and discussing weaknesses in the opponent’s defense or serve receive. Keep the scouting report concise, ideally fitting on a one-page sheet, front and back.

To present the data, consider the following methods:

  1. Player Breakdown: Identify the main players and provide a strengths and weaknesses breakdown. Suggest ways to defend or attack each player effectively.
  2. Rotation Wheel: Use a rotation wheel to determine set percentages for each front-row player. This will help you decide on blocking schemes and set directions.
  3. Court Diagrams: Utilize court diagrams to explain serve receive formations, transition attack patterns, defensive formations, and players to attack in serve receive. Encourage your players to contribute by drawing in attack patterns during video sessions.

Remember to keep the scouting report thorough yet effortless for your team to comprehend. By involving your players in the process, they will have a better understanding of the upcoming opponent and be able to make mid-game adjustments more effectively.


Q: How can opponent analysis benefit my team?
A: Opponent analysis provides valuable insights into your opponents’ tendencies and weaknesses, allowing you to develop a game plan and make strategic decisions. This gives your team a competitive advantage and increases their chances of success.

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Q: How much information should be included in a scouting report?
A: It is crucial to strike a balance between providing enough information and overwhelming your team. Keep the scouting report concise and focus on key points that can be easily digested and implemented.

Q: Should my team be involved in creating the scouting report?
A: Yes, involving your team in the creation of the scouting report helps them understand the game plan quicker and take ownership of the information. It also encourages open communication and collaboration within the team.


Scouting your opponents and creating effective scouting reports are essential aspects of achieving success in volleyball. By gathering and analyzing information about your opponents’ tendencies, weaknesses, and strengths, you can develop a solid game plan that maximizes your team’s chances of victory. Remember to involve your team in the process and present the information in a concise and comprehensible manner. With thorough preparation and strategic analysis, you can gain a competitive edge and lead your team to success on the court.

For more information on opponent analysis and scouting reports, visit Alpinetgheep.