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Analysis of the rally length as a critical incident of the game in elite male volleyball

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The purpose of this study was to identify and classify the distribution of rally length in high-level men's volleyball, considering the set's characteristics (set number, set type, set status on the match, and set period). Particularly, we aimed to assess if a long rally can be considered a critical incident of the game by evaluating the outcome of the subsequent rally, and to determine the relationship between rally length and team success in the current rally. Twenty-four matches of the World Championship and twelve of the World League were analysed through cluster analysis. Thereby, 6120 rallies were classified as short (73.6%), medium (15.9%) or long (10.5%). Rallies' average length was 5.0 ± 4.3 seconds. In initial sets winning a "long rally" increased in 1.65 times the probability of winning the subsequent rally compared with the "short rallies", and 1.62 times in comparison with "medium rallies". This could be a starting point for assessing the importance of long rallies as critical incidents of the game. In addition, in the side-out phase the shorter the duration the smaller the chance of losing the point, and the longer the duration, the higher the probability of losing it (OR = 0.907). Teams must establish tactical strategies to manage long rallies appropriately according to the game phase.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2015

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