Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

Using Simple Stats and Scouting

Scouting opponents is a valuable tool that coaches often overlook. Every coach, regardless of their level of play, wants to gather information about their players’ performance in practice and competition. Utilizing scouting reports can help with making necessary adjustments, but it’s important to be cautious as critical positioning can sometimes mislead players. Moreover, statistics can also play a significant role in practice planning and making adjustments between competitions.

The Benefits of Keeping Stats

As a volleyball coach with over 20 years of experience at various levels, I understand the advantages of using strategies that enable better match-ups against opponents. To achieve this, I incorporate statistics into my coaching approach. Each day, my team and I review passing, serving, and rotational efficiency goals to enhance our performance.

When the match begins, it’s crucial that we have set up the right match-ups and avoid feeling negatively if the opponent dominates the first part of the game. To make better decisions right from the start, we seek insightful information that helps us in those crucial moments.

Statistical Applications for Coaches

There are numerous statistical applications available for coaches, ranging from simple to complex. These applications offer basic packages that include team statistics such as serve, pass, dig, assist, kills, block, points per rotation, substitute, and errors. Some applications even provide real-time statistics and insights into an opponent’s characteristics, enabling coaches to apply effective tactics and strategies.

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However, it’s important to note that these tools should not distract coaches from watching the game. The human element remains crucial in statistics. Student-athletes should focus on understanding the game rather than treating statistics as negative reinforcement. While I prefer to keep stats and coach simultaneously, I also encourage players to keep their own stats. This allows them to have a different perspective on the game. However, it’s worth questioning the accuracy of player-kept statistics.

To simplify the process, I have developed a simple and user-friendly method for parents, players, and volunteer students to keep track of statistics. This involves tally scoring and a number system that provides a reasonable basis for making decisions. This approach allows coaches to focus on vital statistical attributes such as serving, passing, hitting, and blocking when forming strategies.

Statistics in Practice Planning

The information gained from statistics can also serve as a valuable tool for practice planning. Effective teams prioritize serving and serve receive, which can be improved by analyzing statistics. During tournaments, I often ask my assistants key questions such as: Who are our top passers? Is the setter distributing the ball effectively to keep the opponent’s defense off balance?

By thoroughly scouting the opposing teams, coaches can easily determine the most suitable lineup for their own team. Before setting the lineup, I consider factors like the strength of the service receiving team, the match-up between strong hitters and strong blockers, and the presence of effective defenders in all rotations. Minor adjustments can also be made through substitutions. General statistics can greatly simplify these decision-making processes.

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The Importance of Scouting

As a firm believer in team-scouting, I thoroughly analyze opponents’ lineups, court positioning, scoring patterns, serving techniques, setter commitments on defense, defensive positioning, and setting patterns. These elements heavily influence my team’s lineup and player training. Modern teams can be incredibly unpredictable and unorthodox in their play, making scouting even more essential.

This season, I have witnessed how basic statistics can accurately reflect a player’s performance and determine the outcome of a match when used properly. Coaches who know what to expect from opponents can surprise them with unexpected plays or strategies. The knowledge gained from efficient statistics can greatly enhance a player’s performance.

In conclusion, regardless of the statistical data used during competition or training, it is crucial to share this information with players. This allows them to make the necessary adjustments and improvements. Many teams are already utilizing statistical applications, but it’s important to find a system that works for you. There’s no need to invest hundreds of dollars in complicated applications that are not user-friendly.

Develop your own style of success and stick with it. Create a system that coaches, players, and even parents can understand and use to record game and practice statistics effectively.


Coming soon!


By incorporating statistics into coaching strategies and utilizing thorough scouting, coaches can make well-informed decisions and enhance their team’s performance. Statistics provide valuable insights into players’ strengths and weaknesses, enabling coaches to optimize match-ups and practice plans. Remember, finding a simple and user-friendly statistical method is more effective than investing in expensive, complicated applications. Use the knowledge gained from statistics to create your own path to success.

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