What are the Most Widely Used and Effective Attack Coverage Systems in Men's Volleyball?

Raúl Hileno, Antonio García-De-Alcaraz, Bernat Buscà, Cristòfol Salas, Oleguer Camerino

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


In volleyball, attack coverage is one of the play actions most neglected in coaching and research. The purpose of this study was to find out which attack coverage systems are used by high-level men's teams in different game situations and the characteristics of the most effective systems. We analysed 15 matches from the 2010 Men's Pan-American Volleyball Cup, with a total of 1,415 coverage actions. Chi-square tests for independence, adjusted residuals analysis and calculations of standardised mean difference were performed. The results show that high-level men's volleyball uses many coverage systems other than the traditional 3-2-0 and 2-3-0. At this level of play, the most frequent systems were 1-3-1 and 1-2-2, which occurred significantly often at the culmination of a third-tempo attack at the wing. The most effective systems consisted of three coverage lines, with fewer than five players covering the spiker and at least one player in the first coverage line, in both the attack and counterattack phases. Given the large number of coverage systems identified in different game situations, we recommend flexible, loosely structured training in these systems, based on a set of guiding principles that all players on a team must internalise for the specific position they are playing. Regarding the systems' efficacy, the main watchword is that on each coverage line there should always be at least one player, but the first line should not be exposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Kinetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • collective behaviour
  • game patterns
  • performance analysis
  • team sports


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