Attack distribution: 2015/16 PlusLiga
How are volleyball attacks distributed on court, by starting and ending location?
In the scouting data from the 2015/16 Polish League, most attacks are coded by starting and ending zone. First, the overall distribution by court position, as a heatmap:
Most commonly (43% of the time) attacks are made from position 4, with most of the remainder from the middle (position 3) and right side (positions 2 and 9). The ending location of attacks is most commonly the left (positions 4 and 5) with most of the remainder the other two front row blockers (positions 2 and 3) and deep middle (position 6).
However, while attacks from position 4 are the most common, they are not the most successful. Middle and right-side attacks generally have a higher win rate.
We can also show this information in more specific detail, using arrows to depict the starting and ending location of attacks.
Note that the right-hand panel in the figure only shows attacks with attack rate of at least 1% (i.e. excluding those attacks that make up less than 1% of all attacks).
Attacks with the highest success rate include angles from the middle (front row) hitter, and outside hits down the line (from position 4).
Note, though that these high-success attacks are not particularly common. If we combine attack rate with success rate, we can get a picture of the proportion of overall attack points scored by position:
And, not surprisingly, the majority of attack points are scored from position 4, with the most fruitful attacks being cross-court hits to positions 5 or 4.
See https://github.com/raymondben/datavolley for an R package for reading and analyzing DataVolley scouting files.