Monday, 22 Apr 2024

To Sit or Stand During Matches?


This article explores the question of whether players should sit or stand during matches. It stems from a conversation between Bill Lee, a coach in GEVA, and John Kessel, a renowned volleyball expert. They have kindly allowed us to share their discussion in today’s blog.

The Benefits of Sitting or Standing

The debate among coaches centers around the benefits of having players off the court either sitting or standing. Traditionally, it was believed that sitting would make players stiff. However, some coaches have noted that basketball players, including the Stanford Women’s team, sit during games and are able to contribute immediately upon entering.

Insights from Recess

John Kessel brings up an interesting point by drawing a parallel between playing sports and recess. He observes that children at recess go from sitting to playing at full speed without any warm-up. They don’t jog or stretch beforehand, yet they rarely experience injuries. This suggests that sitting or standing may not have a significant impact on performance.

The Role of Mental Engagement

John further emphasizes that whatever option players choose, the key is to keep them mentally engaged. Standing or sitting are both acceptable as long as players remain focused on the game. However, he jokingly adds that having beds in the gym for players to sleep on might take up too much space.

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Peter Vint’s Perspective

Peter Vint, a USOC Sports Whiz and volleyball player, offers his professional opinion on the matter. While there are no systematic studies comparing sitting to “inactive standing” in terms of performance, he believes that occasional activity during timeouts or game breaks can help reduce muscle stiffness. Peter also highlights the importance of match awareness and suggests that it may be influenced more by who athletes are sitting or standing next to rather than their actual position.

Considerations for Muscle Stiffness

Peter further explains the potential impact of sitting versus standing on muscle stiffness. Standing may lead to slight stiffening of the quadriceps and hamstrings, while sitting may have the opposite effect. However, the duration of sitting or standing during a match is unlikely to significantly affect neuromuscular performance.


In conclusion, the choice between sitting or standing during matches may not be as crucial as previously believed. Both options have their merits, and the key is to keep players mentally engaged. Whether players sit or stand, occasional activity and maintaining match awareness are important factors to consider.


  • Q: What are the benefits of sitting or standing during matches?

    • A: The benefits of sitting or standing depend on the individual player and their preferences. Some players find that sitting helps them stay focused, while others believe that standing keeps them more engaged in the game.
  • Q: Is there any scientific evidence supporting sitting or standing during matches?

    • A: There are no systematic studies directly comparing sitting to standing during matches. However, research suggests that occasional activity during breaks can help reduce muscle stiffness.
  • Q: What should coaches consider when deciding whether players should sit or stand?

    • A: Coaches should prioritize keeping players mentally engaged and maintaining match awareness. The choice between sitting or standing should align with the individual needs and preferences of the players.
  • Q: Can sitting or standing during matches affect performance?

    • A: The impact of sitting or standing on performance is likely minimal. It is more important for players to focus on the game and stay mentally engaged, regardless of their physical position.
  • Q: Are there any potential risks or drawbacks to sitting or standing during matches?

    • A: As long as players remain mentally engaged and occasionally engage in activity during breaks, there are no significant risks or drawbacks associated with sitting or standing during matches. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.
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