Sotirios Drikos, Ioannis Ntzoufras and Nikolaos Apostolidis
In volleyball, due to the sequential structure of the game, each outcome results from events that follow consistent consecutive patterns: pass–set–attack–outcome, serve–outcome and block–dig–set–counter attack–outcome. There are three possible outcomes: point won, point lost, and rally continuation. With the aim of quantifying the importance of volleyball skills, data of world champions of the male International Volleyball Federation tournaments for three age categories (Youth, Juniors and Men) were used to construct a transition matrix between subsequent moves and skills within the game. A Dirichlet-Multinomial Bayesian model was used to estimate the transition probabilities between the subsequent moves along with the marginal probability of success of each skill in the complex. The prior distribution of each transition probabilities between moves/skills was elicited to incorporate experts' opinion. For the final evaluation of the skills a simple Monte Carlo scheme was applied to obtain a random sample from the posterior distribution. The findings of the study indicate that the relative importance of volleyball skills is robust across world champions of different age categories. Slight variations are observed on specific skills. A new index (Quantile Mid-range Ratio) is proposed for highlighting skills that are valuable for team’s gameplay.
Athanasios Tsoukos, Sotirios Drikos, Lee E. Brown, Konstantinos Sotiropoulos, Panagiotis Veligekas and Gregory C. Bogdanis
This study examined whether anthropometric and fitness tests might successfully predict selection of young female volleyball players for a junior national team. Sixty four female players (age: 14.4 ± 0.5 y, body height: 1.76 ± 0.05 m, body mass: 63.9 ± 6.4 kg) underwent a selection procedure for the junior national team. Anthropometric data and speed and power test results were obtained and players were graded for their performance in a volleyball tournament. Selected players differed from the non-qualified in body height (3.4%; p = 0.001), standing reach height (2.6%; p = 0.001), the sum of skinfolds (15.4%; p = 0.035), body mass index (BMI; 7.1%; p = 0.005) and spike jump and reach (SJR) (2.5%; p = 0.001). Selected players were classified in the 99.2 ± 1.6 percentile in body height and in the 51.4 ± 20.6 percentile in the BMI, which were significantly different from those of the non-qualified players (95.4 ± 7.0 and 66.7 ± 18.6, p = 0.02 and p = 0.004, respectively). Stepwise discriminant analysis yielded a discriminant function (p < 0.001, η2 = 0.78) that was highly loaded by height, SJR and the BMI (r = 0.79, r = 0.74 and r = -0.53, respectively). Cross validation results showed that selection was correctly predicted in 15 out of the 20 selected players (predictive accuracy: 75.0%) and in 35 out of the 44 non-qualified players (predictive accuracy: 79.5%). In conclusion, body height, the BMI and SJR height successfully discriminated between selected and non-qualified elite young female junior national team volleyball players. The equal vertical jump, sprint and agility of selected and non-qualified players, highlight the importance of body height and the BMI for selection of elite junior female volleyball players.