Sometimes everyone on the court makes a great play at the same time and it ends up looking mundane to the casual observer. In reality it is everything but mundane. It is the highest level of the game. This is one of those plays.
To set the scene, it is the final match of the Olympic Preliminary round. Brazil is playing against France. It is a big match to decide final placings in the round and influence quarter final matchups. It has been a cracking game. The players have been on the court for 2 hours and 51 minutes. The score is 17-16 for France. Match point. The Brazilian rotation is P1, the setter is in position 1. It is the most dangerous rotation to sideout for Brazil. France have a few different tactical options depending on where they think the main danger lies. They opt for a short serve to the receiver in position 1. The goal is to take him out of the attack and they will focus their block on the middle blocker and position 4 attacker.
The serve is perfectly executed. The receiver ends up on the ground. The block moves across perfectly to take advantage of the created opportunity. The setter knows what France is trying to do, knows his spiker is on the ground, but still trusts that he will find a way. He does and scores against a desperately late block. Brazil also win the next point, and very shortly afterwards the match, proving that a smart play is worth more than its face value.
It all looks mundane, but it is not. It is what volleyball looks like when everybody on both teams is on the same page.
About Mark Lebedew:
Mark Lebedew authors the At Home on the Court Blog. He coaches professionally in Poland, from january 2021 with eWinner Gwardia Wrocław, in season 2019/20 with Aluron Virtu CMC Warta Zawiercie and in the period 2015-2018 with KS Jastrzębski Węgiel. That follows five seasons Germany where his Berlin Recycling Volleys won three straight league titles and a CEV Champions League bronze medal. He has prior professional experience in Belgium and Italy. Mark was also Head Coach for the Australian Men’s National Team. From this season he returns to Germany, where he will lead VfB Friedrichshafen.
Mark partnered with his brother and father to translate and publish “My Profession: The Game“, the last book by legendary Russian coach, Vyacheslav Platonov.
With John Forman, he is behind the Volleyball Coaching Wizards project (link http://volleyballcoachingwizards.com/) which identifies great coaches from all levels, making their experience, insights, and expertise available to people all over the world. The project has produced multiple books, a in e-book format available here ( link to http://bit.ly/34yakou ) or in print at Amazon here (link https://amzn.to/2JRqTE6)
In 2021, he launched project Webinars and Presentations on Demand. If you are intersested for coaching presentations and webinars available on demand, click here.