Ask Coach Houser: How to Evaluate Players

Ask Coach Houser: How to Evaluate Players

Volleyball and stats don't always mix. Here's a simple formula from Coach Houser on how to correctly judge a player's game performance.

Coach Houser: Curious. What is considered a good percentage for successful serve receive for high school ball? I have been looking through the various max prep web sites of teams we have played and there are the exceptions but most seem to be in the area of about 25 percent error rate. Just curious.

This is a very tough question because what is consider "successful"? I've never kept stats that way.

This is how many coaches do it. They use "passing quality". It's what I do. This is how it's done.

How Passing Quality Works

  • The passer receives a 3 if the setter can run a quick set. So most of your tosses to me at player training would be 3's.
  • The passer receives a 2 if the setter can set all other options BUT a quick.
  • The passer receives a 1 if ..... well.... she isn't aced. The ball may go over, the ball may have to be set by a hitter, the ball is saved by the setter, the ball has to be dumped by the setter, etc.
  • The passer receives a 0 if she is aced.

Then, to find a player's "PQ," you add up her passing points then divide by the attempts.

  • 1.0 is a weak high school passer. Serve to her.
  • 1.4 is an average high school passer here in Virginia. Serve at her if there's no one else.
  • 1.7 is a pretty good high school passer. Avoid her.
  • 2.0 is a GREAT high school passer. Maybe the conference player of the year can pass 2.0.

I would imagine the best passers in your state can. I coached high school varsity 16 years, and we had a girl at 1988! I hope that this helps. You can do your daughter's PQ tomorrow night.

You might now want her to know you're doing it. Sure, some nights she pass an amazing 2.5. Other nights she may pass at a weak 1.3.

But for a week, or a month or a season, 1.6 to 2.0 is a good high school passer. For college.......a woman may have to pass 2.5 regularly. Whoa!

Coach Houser: Thanks for the quick response. I have been sitting with the stat-keeper of the team to learn the stat keeping and he keeps it with the 3, 2, 1,0. But for successful versus error, technically anything that is not an ace (0) is considered a successful pass. He records it on the sheet with the numerical score though.

My daughter has been passing really good using the numerical score. It took her a few matches to settle down at the start of the year, but for the last thirteen matches she has 223 successful with 32 errors and the other main serve receiver has 113 successful with 14 errors. Our stat-keeper had said 2 was very good in high school.

That's good news! I do PQ for serve receive and for passing frees only. We are thrilled with a team free PQ above 2.5 and a team serve receive PQ at 1.7. I don't do PQ for digs.

It's a great dig if we can run a quick off of it; but, that's a pile of pressure on a 16 year-old digger when her setter is often coming from the back row and is thus way out of position.

It's a good dig anytime the setter gets to the ball with her hands. It's a successful dig if the other team can't celebrate. It's a digging error is she could dig with two arms and it's not playable.

And if she's lazy and just uses 1 arm, I will be the judge of whether she could have used 2 arms. So, for digs, my stats are a + for hand settable, 0 for successful, x for digging error.

Tom Houser
Head Coach, 2010 Roanoke Juniors 16's National
JOVC Qualified-2006, 2009
Director, STAR Volleyball Camps
Author, "I Can't Wait" Drill Collection and Ebooks

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