Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Differences in the success of the attack between outside and opposite hitters in high level men’s volleyball

Antonio Millán-Sánchez, Juan Carlos Morante Rábago, Aurelio Ureña Espa



The objective was to determine the success of the three most frequent attackers in elite men’s volleyball, according to their location on-court when attacking. 2925 attacks (terminal actions) were registered from 23 matches of the 2010 Men’s World Championship, registering the player role (1st receiver, 2nd receiver and opposite), the location on the court when the attack took place (front and back court) and the result of the attack (positive (#) and negative (=)). The Chi-square test presented significant results (p<0.000) for the variables. The effect of the association showed a Cramer’s V = 0.152. The adjusted residual analysis showed higher values than expected for the opposite between the back-court location and the attack= and for the front-court location and the attack#. The decision tree analysis performed set the result of the attack as the dependent variable and the player role and the location on the court as independent variables. The model split the sample into two groups: opposite and 1st and 2nd receiver. The receivers presented a probability of success of 72.5% in their attacks, whereas for the opposite it was 55.1%. Additionally, the likelihood of success of the opposite when performing definitive attacks was 48.4% from the back court and 62% from the front court. The lack of significance regarding the location on the court for the receivers means there was no statistical difference in the attack# probability between the front and back court location for them. Hence, all tests performed indicate an increasing relevance of the outside hitters from the back court, contrasting with the use of the opposite in male volleyball as an specialist in back-court attack rather than any of the receivers.


Performance indicators; Volleyball; Player role; Location; Terminal actions


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