1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Volleyball help, please.

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by wickedwritah, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I just covered my third match of the season, and I'm still clueless on all this stuff.

    Can someone please share with me some tips for covering volleyball? You know a way to properly word something other than saying, "Podunk won when the other team failed to get the ball over the net in the requisite three hits." (No, I didn't use that line, but you get the point.)
  2. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    One thing that can help is checking with the person keeping statistics. Kills are most useful and can be used to illustrate a player's performance as an attacker.

    Also, don't be afraid to ask the dumb questions and let the coaches and players explain things. That's how I learned it when I first covered the sport. They tend to be used to reporters who don't really understand the game, at least in northeastern states where the level of play is fairly weak.

    If you see a lot of shots blocked at the net, that's something to ask about, especially if one team has a size advantage. Serving is another easy thing to watch. Keep track of aces and service errors. Those two are pretty easy.

    Do NOT use service points as a statistic. I know some coaches use it, but unless the kid is doing something spectacular on their serve, the stat is pretty much meaningless.

    PM me or post here if you've got any specific questions. I used to cover the sport quite a bit at a couple of my previous stops.
  3. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    How about "Podunk won when Lindsey Limpswing's dink on match point never made it back across the net." (or "was unreturnable," if you don't need to meet an inch quota).
  4. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Is unreturnable actually a term used?

    oop, I always check with coaches for kills, assists, blocks and digs.

    One question: If a serve deflects off just one player and then goes out of bounds, is it still an ace? I've seen it scored as an ace and not as an ace, depending on who does the scoring.
  5. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Hopefully, you'll be able to get the stats from the coach or scorer because they are too hard to keep yourself.
    The key stats are kills (that's when somebody spikes the ball and it's not returned), blocks (when the defense at the net blocks a ball down for a point), digs (when the defense prevents a spike from hitting the floor and keeps the ball in play) and services aces (same as tennis, when a serve is not returned). Sometimes they include assists, that's when the setter sets to a hitter who spikes for a point. I don't think assists as stats are that important.
    Watch for scoring runs, like if a team scores 5 or 6 points in a row, that's important.
    As far as strategy, teams usually set their middle hitter (tallest player in the middle of the front row) until the other team shows they can stop that player. If they can't, they're in trouble. If they do, then the setter sets the outside hitter (left front), or the opposite hitter (right front). The whole idea of offense is being quick enough to beat the blockers into position.
    Those are basics. Hope this is helpful.
  6. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Be sure to keep an eye on passing and serve receive. It's the key to any success.
  7. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I get a lot of this. I have covered volleyball before, but it has been a few years since I did it regularly.

    I guess my problem is writing it in a way that doesn't bore the reader. The signals really cross me up. I had a cheat sheet for official's signals in the past, but I misplaced it... should try digging it up again.

    A lot of my volleyball stories are quote driven... I want to be able to tell the reader something more of substance, instead of just relying on "Suzy James had six kills" and four quotes to pad it.
  8. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    It's no different than any other sport on any level. Less X's and O's. Try to featurize it, especially if it's preps.
  9. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Yeah, that's as basic as it gets and I neglected to mention it above. Serve and receive is critical. Do the receiving players pass the ball to their setter without making him/her run all over the place? That is usually what coaches will say in their postgame analysis. "We passed really well." "We didn't pass very well." I've sat through 2-hour practices where they spent 90 minutes on receiving serve.
  10. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Thanks for the heads-up, folks, especially Doc and SoCal.
  11. HackyMcHack

    HackyMcHack Member

    Let the coaches give you the stats. But, for your own PBP purposes, a serve counts as an ace and an attack counts as a kill if the person receiving the serve/digging the attack doesn't get the ball back to the setter. That should make what you write more palatable to momma's eyes.

    Also, I second the thought on service points. Not a real volleyball stat. Keep them out of your copy.

    As for the serving and passing angle, someone who is now a head coach in the Big Ten once told me that the sport of volleyball boils down to those two things. When totally stumped, ask about that.
  12. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    Agreed. If you worry too much about being technical, the audience for your story becomes very small.

    And to answer your question about aces, it tends to be a judgement call.

    SoCalDude has a great point about the setter. The less the setter has to move, the more options he or she has in terms of setting hitters. If the sets are too predictable, the hitters are going to struggle against good teams.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page