An Analytical Approach to Understanding the Success of Defensive-Minded Ncaa Volleyball Teams

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Kinesiology & Recreation


Clint Warren

Mentor Department

Kinesiology & Recreation


Legendary University of Alabama Football Coach Bear Bryant once said, "Offense wins games, defense wins championships." This long-standing adage of athletics will be taken into consideration to determine if the number of digs per set and blocks per set of all Division I Volleyball teams plays any role in their finish at the Conference and NCAA Championship level. This research seeks to determine if defensive-minded teams are more successful than the offensive-minded teams in collegiate volleyball. While the sport of volleyball includes extensive opportunities to collect on-court performance data, the use of an advanced analytical approach to analyzing volleyball data is a fairly new process. Researchers have spent their time on the human performance side of volleyball, which has trained our athletes better and given us better tools to aid in recovery of our student-athletes. This research will look at the on-court performance side of NCAA Division I Volleyball data from the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons provided by the NCAA archives. These data will be utilized to determine the correlation among finishes in conference in the NCAA and Conference Championships and the number of digs and blocks per set. This study will take the digs per set and compare it to the Conference and NCAA championship finish and the blocks per set and do the same comparison. From there, those teams who won their Conference Championship or who were granted an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament will move into the next round of analysis. The study will once again look at digs and blocks per set to determine how many rounds they played in the NCAA Championships. It is hypothesized that the number of digs and blocks per set will play a significant role on the conference championship side of this analysis, but when it comes to the NCAA Championships, it is hypothesized that the offensive-minded teams will take over. Results of this study will benefit collegiate volleyball coaches and serve to advance the advanced study of on-court performance in the sport of volleyball.



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