Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Some Volleyball 101 1

It's weird that I love playing and watching volleyball, but I've never really written much about it in my blog, save for this post. Someone asked me a few days ago to explain the game in an in-depth manner, so I thought, why not write about it instead?

I'm assuming most of us have played volleyball in our elementary and h.s. P.E. classes at least once, right? Some may even have been part of the varsity team. So I guess most are familiar with the basic mechanics of the game - serve, receive, 3 touches on the ball, counterclockwise-rotation, etc. But most casual volleyball enthusiasts aren't aware that there are specialized positions in the game. That's probably a good jumping point (pun intended) for this post ;)

2 Outside Hitters - also know as openers. They are the ones who usually hit from the left side of the court. The flashiest of them all, since a lot of times, they get the set, especially if the reception of the serve if particularly bad. Also the most pressured of hitting positions, since they are expected to put the ball down, no matter how bad the set is, or how many blockers are in front of them. In most 3-person reception pattern, they are the ones expected to receive the serve along with the libero.

On the left is the Cuban Mireya Luis, one (if not the MOST) of the most spectacular women outside hitters I've ever seen. I was star struck when I came up to her to chat briefly in Spanish and have my Grand Prix ticket autographed when she was here in Manila as Cuban team manager. She can't be more than 5'8-5'9, but her spike reach was about 10 ft.! Her arm swing was huge and untiring, and every ball was as good as a point. Whether it was a down the line or a cross court kill, she was always magnificent to watch!

On the right is Brazilian outside hitter Giba. Relatively small compared to his Brazilian team mates (relative meaning he's around 6'3-6
'4, so you could just imagine the others!). He's the heart and soul of the Brazilian squad, pumping them with his incredible spikes from the left, right, and middle back. Of course, it doesn't help that he's hot, hot, hot, in a dirty-i'm-such-a-bad-boy way wahahahahaha

2 Middle Blockers - they patrol the center of the net, and move side to side to seal the blocks on the right or the left side. Probably the most tiring position for the legs since they have to constantly jump to block. In the hitting department, they are the ones who are mostly given the low and quick sets, and they always have to go in to feign an attack whether they're really given the ball or not. This is to ensure that the opposing blockers are fooled, thus, one less blocker for either the left, right, or back row attackers to worry about.

Andre Heller, on the left, is the smaller middle blocker of Brazil. Even if the taller Gustavo may be the better blocker, I love seeing Andre attacking from the middle because he's relatively faster to swing at the ball. Did I also mention he's hot? lolz

On the right is Simona Gioli, t
he bad, kick-ass hot mama middle blocker of Italy. The attitude, swagger, and stare-downs on court is really cute to watch. Just like the Russian Tistchencko, she may not be that tall for a middle blocker, but her running (slide) attack is deadly, and almost always converts into a kill.

1 setter - the general inside the court. Just like a point guard or a quarter back, the setter is responsible for calling out and delivering a play in a given sequence. A setter needs to be smart, creative, and devious, accurately giving the balls to the attackers facing the weakest blocks, and making sure that the balls are distributed well to confuse the opposing blockers.

On the left is is the Feng Kuhn, China's setter. The Japanese setter Takeshita may be more creative and accurate, but her height is simply a liability when she rotates upfront. Feng is a more complete setter in the sense that she's both great at setting and and blocking, plus she can also spike a ball in the rare times it's set to her.

Ricardo, on the right, is my personal favorite guy setter. He was the brains that lead the Brazilian squad through it's very successful phase from 2003-2007. With the amazing hitters he had in his disposal, it was amazing to w
atch his unerring sense of whom to give the ball to when the team needed a kill. Too bad he was kicked out of the team before the 2008 Olympics supposedly because of attitude problems.

1 opposite - also known as the utility. They are diagonal to the setter and mostly hits from the right side of the court. In international standards, this is purely the hitting position. Most of the time, they are not expected to receive, but just attack, and attack, and attack. Used a lot in combination with the middle blocker decoy, and also for back row attacking. Should be a good blocker, since they are the main block facing the opposing outside hitter. They should also be ready to be the back-up setter on court if the setter digs the ball.

On the right is Lioubov Sokolova/Sashkova/Kilic, the most complete players to have come out of the old-school Russian volleyball. Though she also plays as an outside hitter, by function, she does what an opposite is expected to do. For a relatively tall (6'3) player like her, she digs and plays defense really well, plus she's one of the main service receivers of her squad. Her jump serves have also created a lot of problems for opposing teams. She, along with Godina, and Gamova, propelled Russia to a gold medal in the 2006 World Championships.

Just like Sokolova, the Cuban-Italian Taismarys Ague
ro (on the right) is another complete player in every sense of the word. What she can do is amazing: spike hard, block intelligently, and serve accurately, to dig and receive well, and thanks to her Cuban background, even set! Along with Mireya Luis, she was part of the Cuban squad that dominated the whole of the 90's but to the Sydney Olympics. Her defection from Cuba is Italy's gain, as she elevated the Italian team's level to greater heights as they got the gold medal in the 2007 World Cup.

1 libero - the player with the different jersey. A purely back row defensive and receiving player. Cannot serve, attack, and rotate upfront, and can only set with restrictions (overhead from behind the 3-meter line, underhand if in front of the 3 meter line). Replaces the player with the weakest defense and receiving skills (usually the middle blocker since they are tall and slow to dig the ball) without having to ask permission from the second referee.

Brazil's Sergio is very small compared to his team mates, but he's almost 6 ft! Here, he's seen receiving the ball along with Giba at the Athens Olympics. Does it shoe that I love the Men's Brazilian team? teehee

The Ja
panese team is known for their spectacular floor defense, and they would do anything just to keep the ball in play. Here is their libero Yuko Sano diving on the floor to dig a hard driven ball. Libero = floor's best friend.


  1. Damn, I just remembered how stupid server I was.

    So you're into Kyolibash pala?

  2. Deepa has left a new comment on your post "Some Volleyball 101, Part 1":

    EW! i knew you were into volleyball, but i never knew you were _THIS_ into volleyball!

    great post. highly educational for the sports eejits like myself :)

  3. Knox: lolz@kyolibash

    not as adik-adikan as before, pero yeah :D

    Deeps: oo naman! glad you liked the post. more comming up soon. :)

  4. teaachah, teach mwe keng fooh! :)

  5. This is my first PE in college. My first time to be shouted and cursed by a professor too.

    What can i do? This shit is just not my sport.

    But i still like playing it once in a while, though.

  6. Ash: leche! ano ako, si cynthia luster?! lolz

    Nhil: don't worry, sanay akong sigawan at murahin ng coach namin dati ehehehe

    thanks for passing by! do feel free to take a look around at my other entries. hope you find them enjoyable :)

  7. i never had a sport... although when they were playing here in the Phils about 10 years ago, I saw a couple of games... that was intense.

    btw, thanks for the visit.

  8. I used to be school varsity all the way from elemtary to college hahaha. oh that sexy short shorts hahaha.

  9. i deeply love this post! i agree to all that has been said. personally, i love gustavo for the middle blocker position.

    i wish i can watch ricardo, dante and gustavo play again. btw, what was dante's position in the men's volleyball team?

  10. Charl: both gustavo and andre are hot, but i definitely find andre uber sexy especially when he wears a beard lolz

    dante and giba were/are the two outside hitters for Brazil. I haven't the team this year, so I'm not sure if they're still around (though I'm almost sure they are hehehe).

  11. most of the Brazilians are good-looking naman. i guess you have seen murilo, the younger brother of gustavo right? andre looks kind while gustavo is all-business.

    i have seen the new Brazilian team- without dante, andre heller, gustavo and anderson. only giba, sergio, murilo, rodrigao, and bruno remain from the old team but the newcomers leandro visotto and thiago alves deserve your attention.


  12. Charl: murilio + jaqueline = define volleyball sexiness hahahaha

    hmmm, maybe i ought to scrounge around for their new vids :D

  13. I truly like you're composing style, incredible data, thankyou for posting. buy volleyball coaching books