Author: Brian Dondelhoff
The average rating for National Basketball Association players is 15.0. NBA superstars frequently have a rating in the upper 20’s. Collegiate and high school ratings will be significantly lower than the NBA, but I’ll get in to that in a moment.
The formula that Hollinger uses is complex, but I believe it’s a highly accurate view of how a player is performing while on the floor. Because of this, during my days as an assistant coach at the collegiate level, I wanted to determine if I could come up with a way to assess a player’s performance a little quicker than using the formula that Hollinger uses.
Fortunately, I was able to find a much simpler way to rate players. While this method was easier to compute, I found it to be highly effective and accurate when it came to determining player’s playing time and predicting who would receive end of the year honors. The version of the PER that I frequently used determined which players were more effective in certain line-ups, against certain teams, and their overall positive contribution to their team.
If you’re a coach, you may know that you receive a box score between quarters, or at half time. This was a time that I diligently scribbled down notes to determine the player’s PER.
Let me explain.
Instead of using Hollinger’s formula. I simplified it by taking a look at the positive contributions that a player makes such as points, rebounds, steals, assists and blocks and totaling those things. Each positive contribution counts as one point towards the rating. So, if a player has 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block, that would add up to a total of 27… so far.
I subtract the number of negative things that happen in a game. So turnovers (TOs), missed field goals (FGs), missed 3-pointers (3pts) and missed free throws (FTs) all count as -1. I do not count fouls as negative points, because fouls can be either good or bad, depending on the situation. So, let’s say the same player above shot 3-10 on FGs, 3-5 on FTs, 2-4 on 3pts and also had 3 TOs, this would equate to a total of negative 14 (-7 for FGs, -2 for FTs, -2 for 3pts, -3 for TOs = 14).
Now, remember, this same player had netted 27 positive points. But because of the missed shots and turnovers, we must take away 14 of those points, which leaves this player with an adjusted PER of 13. Players who are inefficient will certainly suffer in this rating.
This quick version of the PER I found extremely helpful because I could do the math for each player while in the locker room or on the bench. If you do this rating consistently for at least a season, you can determine what an average PER would be for your types of players. You can also determine who will likely be up for an award at the end of the season. You can also determine who deserves more playing time.
That’s where I found this most helpful. If a player was only playing a few minutes per game, but had a high PER, I would advocate for more playing time for that player.
You might think that a PER is always obvious. It is not, my friend. Sometimes, you’ll be able to see that, according to the PER, some players are helping you much more than they’re hurting you or vice-versa.
This quick PER was so helpful for me during my time as an assistant coach, that I required my assistants to utilize it when I became a head coach. We did not have an abundance of advanced metrics available to us during my days as a coach, but this PER enabled our team to win a divisional championship.
As with any statistic, it has to be taken in the context of the game. It’s not a tell all, just like a box score is not always an accurate reflection of the game. But, this rating can certainly be helpful.
Serving and Scoring
The ball can be served either over or underhand, but it has to be served from behind the end line until it is touched. The ball has to be easily seen by the opponents when served, and it has to be returned with a bump (no setting or attacking allowed). The ball is allowed to touch the net, provided it falls on the opposite side of the court. The first serve of the game is given to the loser of the last game, or a volley is used to determine who will serve.
A point is scored every time the ball touches the floor (rally scoring), and the game is played until one team reaches 25 points (with a 2 point lead). The defense is awarded a point every time the ball touches the ground on the offensive side, the ball is sent out of bounds by the offensive team, or the ball is served into the net. The offense wins a point every time the ball hits the ground on the defensive side or the ball is sent out of play by the defensive team.
Rotation and Gameplay
Every time a team wins the volley, they are required to rotate. The rotation is always clockwise, and there always has to be between four and six players per side.
Each side can only hit the ball three times before it clears the net, and a player cannot hit the ball twice in a row (this is not counting the block). The ball can touch the net and stay in play, and a point is awarded if the ball hits a boundary line. A hit is considered legal if the ball is touched by any part of the player above his waist, provided the ball doesn’t visibly stop moving.
Should two players or more touch the ball at the same time, it is only counted as a single play but neither player is permitted to touch the ball until another player has. The serve cannot be attacked or blocked, and only the front line players can change positions.
Violations and The Ball
- Placing the foot over or on the line while serving
- Illegally hitting the volleyball
- Not sending the ball over the net at the serve
- Touching the net
- Reaching the arms or hands over the net (except when following through on a spike or blocking)
- Reaching beneath the net
- Serving in an incorrect order
- Spiking or blocking from anywhere in front of the 10-foot line (if you are in the back line)
- (sets by reps)
- Pistol squats (3x 10)
- Depth jumps (3 x 15)
- Rim Jumps (4 x 10)
- Bulgarian split squats (3 x 10)
- Chair rockets (4 x 15)
- Lunge jumps (3 x 15)
(You should alternate day 1 and day 2 every two to three days, depending on what your body is telling you i.e. soreness)
This would a good place to start. Just make sure you’re eating the proper diet afterwards! If you don’t know what to eat, you should look into muscle building nutrition, it’s very basic stuff, but I’ll explain the surface.
Muscle building involves tearing down micro fibres in order to rebuild them stronger than before. So to rebuild them, you need protein. Not only that, there are many other foods you should be eating to speed the process up, and many other foods you should be avoiding that could be hindering your success. Some of these foods are sugar, saturated fats, and according to some individuals, gluten. Stay away from these and eat foods like salmon, broccoli and bananas and you should be good to go. Other than that, stay away from soda drinks and replenish your body with water before and after your workouts.
The Volleyball Court
Sand volleyball courts and indoor courts are fairly different in size. Beach courts are actually smaller than indoor courts. Indoor courts have a rule where players in the back row cannot advance behind a certain point in the court to hit the ball, whereas sand volleyball players can hit the ball from anywhere on their side of the net. The reasoning behind the smaller sand court size may be that getting any traction and running in sand is much more difficult than on a hard surface. A smaller court keeps the ball in play longer, keeping rallies more entertaining and face-paced.
Players Per Team
With the larger court size for indoor volleyball, it reasons that a larger amount of people would be needed to cover the area. Indoor volleyball requires six players per team, or side. Each player has a specialized position that rotates and switches throughout the game. Sand volleyball is usually played with two-person teams. One player hits from the left side of the court, one hits from the right. The serve is rotated between the two players. There are no specialized positions and each player is usually well-versed in all hits, blocks and digs. At competition-level sand volleyball, players can have dedicated positions such as one may block and one may dig, but both could still hit.
The ball itself is one of the differences between indoor and outdoor volleyball. Indoor balls are made of leather and are somewhat heavier than balls used outdoors. These heavier indoor balls can be hit harder and tend to move more quickly than an outdoor ball. Sand volleyballs are bigger, softer and less heavy than indoor balls. The lighter weight helps them float through the air better, allowing more experienced players to use the weather to their advantage.
Indoor volleyball has matches made up of five sets or games. Games are played until the first team reaches 25 points, and are declared the winners of that game. Three sets win the match. If both teams have won two sets, a tiebreaker game is played to 15 points. Teams switch sides after each game.
Sand volleyball has matches made up of only three sets or games. Games are played until the first team reaches 21 points, and if a tiebreaker game is necessary, it is played until 15 points.
In both versions, a game must be won by a minimum two-point margin.
The way the ball is touched or handled by players is different between the two types of games. Indoor volleyball allows players to block the ball without it counting as one of the three allowed hits for each team. Sand volleyball counts a block as one of the three hits allowed.
Indoor volleyball also allows open-hand tips, or dinks, which send the ball just slightly over the net, however sand volleyball does not allow these types of moves.
If you enjoy volleyball, then it probably doesn’t matter whether you play it indoors or outdoors. In fact you may find that you do prefer one way over the other, but just getting to play the game you love any time of year is a big benefit. Educating yourself about both versions of the sport will help your game-play, and hopefully your enjoyment of the sport as well.
Is The Monthly/Yearly Commitment Worth It?
If you really want to throw down your first dunk you have to analyze your situation. If you can’t grab or at least touch the rim of a 10 ft basketball hoop, then you probably have months if not years of training to go through in order to start dunking on a consistent basis.
If you can grab the rim or at least touch the rim right now, you could throw down your first dunk in three months or less, with the right training and work ethic.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. It took me 10 years to reach my goal and it was worth the wait.
I’ll admit that there were times when I wish I was naturally gifted with amazing vertical jump ability and there were times when I wished that I didn’t have to work so hard to increase my vertical jump.
But like I said, at the end of the day it was all worth it.
It is much more rewarding to achieve something knowing that you had to work for it rather than it being handed to you.
Belief + Consistent Action = Success
If you want to dunk a basketball it is up to you.
Unless you were gifted with amazing genes, or a God-given talent, you will have to take matters into your own hands.
Believe that you will dunk one day. Visualize yourself dunking. Then do whatever it takes to make that visualization come to reality.
The last thing you want to do is start making excuses. Anybody can do that. Success comes to those who believe in themselves and take action.
Some players think that by trying to hide where they are aiming with their serve will increase their surprise “attack” on the opponent team. This could not be farther from the truth. You need to face your target in order for your serve to be fully effective. If you align your body to the direction you are aiming at and balance your body, you will generate a powerful consistent serve.
The ball toss is another very important factor in achieving great serving accuracy. If your ball toss is low, you will end up making contact with the ball when you are off balance and your serve will end up at the net. To improve your ball toss, create a habitual routine for yourself, a system. Toss the ball in the same manner every single time. Remember that the toss must be high enough to allow yourself to extend your arm.
Finally, you want to make sure you make a solid contact with the ball. This means you engage the palms of your hands no matter which serve you choose to do. Be sure to practice where your hand makes contact with the ball. This will help you understand the different types of serve and where you need to make contact with the ball in order to vary your serves in a game.
You have two choices; either you get rid of your weaknesses, or you don’t show them.
Don’t allow the coach to notice any flaws in your game, and if you can’t help it, make sure you do whatever you can to make up for it.
For example, if you’re a good at finishing with your right hand, but you have a hard time finishing with your left, you should be practicing for hours every day until you can finish with both hands.
If you don’t have enough time to get rid of your weakness, make sure you show off your strengths in order to prevent the coach from noticing your weakness.
Make sure you can do all the basics (layups with both hands, dribble with both hands under pressure, play defense, and play team basketball.)
Master A Skill (Your Strengths)
If you want to guarantee a spot on the basketball team, you need to be a necessity to your coach.
Master one skill and make sure you show it off during tryouts and practice.
Everybody has a skill that they’re naturally talented at. If you don’t have a natural talent, you need to develop a skill that will set you apart from everybody else. Whatever skill you decide to develop, make sure you master that skill.
Find out what type of players the coach likes, and become one of the top players in that niche.
Your niche is simply a specific aspect of the game of basketball that you excel at.
Examples from the NBA:
- Stephen Curry = Lights Out Shooter
- Rajon Rondo = Excellent ball handler and passer
- Carmelo Anthony= Excellent shooter, and all-around scorer
- Dwight Howard = Excellent shot-blocker, rebounder, and low post scorer
Train Like A Basketball Elite
Do you want to get rid of your weaknesses and develop your own niche?
Stop training like everybody else. In order to be the best, you have to do what nobody else is doing.
You need to give yourself the edge. No, I’m not talking about drugs, I’m talking about training like the Basketball Elite. Turn your weaknesses into strengths, and make your strengths even stronger.
The Platform Jump
This exercise is simple, and will allow you to test your own abilities before making any large advances, which will be the key to your own safety. For this exercise, you will need some type of platform that is completely stable and will not tip, such as a platform at your local gym, a park bench, a rock ledge, or some other platform that you can find in your local area. Stand with your feet about four inches from the ledge or platform that you will be working with, with your feet slightly apart. Squat down to prepare for your jump, making sure that you maintain good back posture, and do not begin slouching. Note, if you do begin slouching during these exercises, you will be building the wrong muscles, putting emphasis on muscles that you need to support your body, rather than jump. From here, spring up off of your feet, and land gently on the platform or ledge you have in front of you. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, rest for 30 seconds, then complete three more sets of this movement.
This exercise allows your joints to become used to pressure being forced on them quickly. Using a box or platform that is about 20% higher than your normal vertical jump, stand on top of the platform with your knees bent. From this position, simply jump off the platform, landing on the balls of your feet and allow your legs to absorb the impact. Doing this a few times between sets is great, but can become dangerous if it is done too frequently, as your joints need time to build up to withstand pressure.
Normal squats do not use any weight, but in order to be able to exert more power through your legs to increase your jump height, it is important that you do begin using weight. This is much easier if you have someone to spot you, or if you have some type of weight set that allows you to complete squats with the weights provided. Do keep in mind that when completing your squats, it is incredibly important that your knees do not pass your toes, that your back remains straight, and that the weight is held by your thighs and calves, as well as your core. These are all of the necessary parts that you will be building up in order to increase your vertical jump. If you perform squats incorrectly, they will not help you in any way, and may actually end up hurting you in the long run by damaging your muscles and joints.
There are many more exercises out there that involve the use of plyometrics to increase your core and leg strength, so don’t be afraid to look for other ideas to increase the strength of your legs. Use your own mind as well to think of ways that you could increase your leg strength, even if the ways you come up with are as simply as taking the stairs every day instead of the elevator. Every little bit counts when you’re increasing your vertical jump!
These volleyball drills will help form the basis for all future drills. The first one is a simple toss and pass. Have your players pair up and stand about 5 feet apart, facing each other. One person has the volleyball. Have that person toss the ball to their partner, in a slight arc. The other player will then pass the ball back to the first player. Have them repeat this 10 times, then switch positions, having the tosser become the passer and vice versus. The object is to have the passers execute as perfect a pass as possible. Go down the line, watching each pair, and correcting any mistakes that you may be seeing. You can also use this same volleyball drill set up to work on setting. Have one person toss the ball into the air, while the other player sets it back. Again, you will be working on form and accuracy only.
For this next set of beginning volleyball drills, have your players standing facing a wall. The first drill to run is a wall hitting drill. Pick a spot on the wall and have your players toss the ball to them selves and hit it at the wall, aiming for the spot that was picked. While hitting that spot is important, the main thrust of this drill is to work on arm movement. You will again want to ensure that you correct any mistakes being made. While looking for mistakes, be sure to watch for small ones too, as these can compound themselves in later drills. The other wall drill is a wall block. Have your players start in the blocking position in front of a wall. They will then jump and reach as high as they can, in essence blocking the wall. They will then land in a blocking position. One of the main aims for this drill is to ensure that the players do not drag their hands down the wall, in essence, touching the net on their way down from a block. Watch closely to ensure that your players maintain good form throughout the move. These wall volleyball drills are also intended to show your players that there are things that they can work on alone, outside of practice. Anything that your players can do to help them become better players is what you should stress to them.
For those who have yet to develop their skills with passing the balls with their hands, hitting a specific spot on the wall is going to be a challenge. You can draw a circle, hang a cloth, or mentally picture a spot on the wall to hit, and bounce the ball off the wall. This drill will help you to not only work on hitting the ball with your fingers, but will help you get just the right angle as well.
Toss and Pass
This drill needs two people standing face to face. One person throws the ball to the other person, and they pass it back and forth. Practice passing with your hands and fingers, as well as hitting the ball with the forearms. This will help to improve both accuracy and the ability to gauge the power needed to set or pass the ball.
Many beginners have a hard time blocking the ball without hitting the net. This drill basically involves you jumping straight up and touching a spot on the wall with your hands, but without any part of your arms touching the wall. Make sure to use good form for your block, and it will help to improve your ability to block without hitting the net.
This volleyball drill requires a lot of people, at least 4 to a side. Have all the players line up in two lines facing each other, and have the first person pass the ball to the first person of the other line. Once the ball is passed, the passer runs to the back of the line. Continue this drill for at least 10 minutes to get all the players accustomed to quickly hitting the ball and moving.
Volleyball Drills: Three Types of Volleyball Drills
Now that you have gotten some of the beginner volleyball training out of the way, it is important that you understand the three types of volleyball drills for the more advanced players:
1: Strategic, Tactical, and Systematic
These volleyball training exercises focus on working together as a team, using tactics and strategy to outthink the players on the other team. The drills usually involve a combination of skills used during the game, and they use each player’s individual skills to improve the team as a whole. Try these drills:
Two vs Six
Sounds unfair, but pitting two players against six will help the players to learn about playing defensively as well as working together effectively.
One vs One
Have one player take each side of the net, and have them volley off against each other in a limited space. They can only hit the ball once with their forearms, and this will help them to work on their stamina, running speed, and ball placement.
Two on Two
Divide the team into smaller teams of two players, and pit them against each other. The team that wins stays playing until they lose, and the teams change after each loss. All of these drills will help your team work together and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
2: Movement and Skill Specific
These volleyball training drills work on specific skills and movements that each player needs to develop, such as serving, diving, blocking, setting, and spiking. All of these drills just go through the motions of developing the skills, and they are usually the beginner exercises (see above). A few more movement and skill specific drills to try include:
Line up all the players in two lines at the back of the court, and have them serve to each other. The person who serves the ball runs to the back of the line on the opposite side of the court.
Place a player on each side of the net, and have them set the ball to each other over the net. This helps improve accuracy and height estimation.
Have two players on each side of the net, and have them take turns setting up and spiking the ball over the net.
3: Volleyball Conditioning
These volleyball drills are designed to improve your overall physical condition, thus helping to provide you with the strength and stamina for volleyball training. Here are a few drills for volleyball conditioning:
This drill helps to teach players how to attack the ball at every hit, no matter how tired they are. One person is placed to set the ball, and the hitter spikes as many balls as necessary until he has placed 10 spikes within the court boundaries.
Set three players in a rough triangle on the court, and have them pass the ball to each other. Once the third player hits the ball, they all have to rotate to the next position without letting the ball touch the floor.
Have each player lie on their belly on the floor, and make them jump to their feet and pass the ball when the whistle blows. This helps to improve the speed they can recover from a dive. These will focus more on speed, reflexes, strength, and stamina, all of which are needed in a game of volleyball.
Volleyball Drills: Volleyball Practice Tips
Are you getting into volleyball training doing volleyball drills? Here are some tips for you:
- Warm Up – Failing to warm up causes sore and tired muscles the next day.
- Practice Daily – Spend at least an hour practicing every day to see your skills improve greatly.
- Repeat, Repeat – Repeating a drill helps your muscles to store the movement in the muscle memory, making it easier to perform without having to think about it.
- Perfection Matters – Only by practicing the perfect movements will “practice make perfect”.
- Study – Learn as much as you can about the mechanics of the human body, how you move, and how you have to think when playing the game.
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