October 3, 2012

Volleyball Statistics and Recruiting

Hi Coach,
Thanks for all your great advice and information, both in your book and in this blog! My daughter is a Freshman in high school, so we are involved in the Freshman Free year, but as we anticipate beginning her recruiting outreach next year, I have questions for you about player statistics.
Neither her high school nor her club gather or track player statistics. Whenever I look at Prep Volleyball, Max Preps, or other recruiting-context player information (heck, even the newspaper's "Volleyball Atlete of the Week" column!), stats like number of kills, number of digs, etc., are always reported. My questions: 1. How important are the stats to the recruiting process/CCCs; and 2. Should I educate myself on how to record stats and plan on collecting that information myself? I don't foresee the high school volleyball program being allocated the necessary resources to do this, and I doubt the Club will start doing something it has never done before....
Thanks in advance for your insight on this! 

Thank you for the compliments on the site and Inside College Volleyball (the number one college volleyball book in the history of the world!) - So glad they are of help for your VolleyFamily.  Enjoy the Freshman Free year; the Triple C's are lurking out in the distant mist!

Statistics don't matter to college coaches, until you get to college!!!  We realize that there is no statistical consistency with high school and club matches; too many matches with too many players taking statistics (my favorite is when the stat keeper player on the bench, gets called into the match and drops the clipboard so fast it bounces three or four times before coming to a rest!).  Beyond that, we trust what we see a thousand percent more than what we read.  Better to have the family filming the player to send out current video to coaches.

I think for the PSA, it would be good for a hitter to know what statistical percentage they are hitting for their own skill development.  Too often, a hitter may think they are doing well when they get a kill or two late in the game at a critical time, forgetting about multiple errors they made early in the game.  What all college volleyball coaches want (other than more salary, more staff, more budget, more marketing support, better referees, perfect off court SA behavior and good coffee) is hitters that attack zeros and pluses, with no negatives.  As simple as that sounds, we would rather have a hitter get 3 kills and dug 7 times on 10 swings, rather than 5 errors and 5 kills.  Zeros are a good swing because it allows for the opportunity to win the point in a rally.

As the club/school won't be able to do this, you can easily teach yourself to take hitting and passing stats, which are the two keys stats an outside hitter would need to self evaluate - Hitting percentage is generated by Kills minus Errors (hit out or blocked straight down), divided by the total number of attacks (zero attacks - balls that are dug or covered when blocked are just counted in total number of attacks).  This equation will tell you the hitting percentage; anything over .300 is good, .200 to .300 is solid, under .200 is marginal and negative hitting is a bad, bad thing (look away, look away, don't look at the stats, look away).

Passing statistics are generated by assigning a value to each pass; a perfect pass to the setting area is a 3, a pass in which the setter can only set high front or back is a 2, a pass where the setter can only set high outside or back row is a 1, and any overpass, shank or ball passed so bad the team cannot even set a hitter is a zero.  Rate/number each pass, then add up the total and divide by the number of attempted passes.  Anything above a 2 is good, 1 to 2 is marginal and below a 1 is mucho not good!

Hopefully this gives you a quick education on taking some stats for your VolleyPSA to use for self evaluation.  As for college volleyball coaches, we are not smart enough to read anyways; we just want to see the PSA play!

Coach Matt


  1. As a parent, I have always felt that there were 3 types of errors. 'Good', 'Bad', and "Bonehead'. Good errors are hits that are going line and may be out by 1-2 inches. The difference between 'Bad' and 'Bonehead' is 'Bad' errors may be a hit made into the net and 'Bonehead' is where you may hit a ball into the antenna when the player struck the ball 5-6 feet out of bounds on first contact.

    My point is that I have been told coaches don't mind errors in cases where players are pushing the envelope and giving maximum effort.

  2. Agreed - Most coaches understand physical mistakes happen; it is the mental mistakes of making just silly/lazy plays which bleed points that drives us bonkers!


Please stay positive or at the minimum present constructive criticism - Negative comments or attacks upon other reader's opinions will not be posted.