Blocking Responsibilities – Pac 12


Just to preface this post, it’s basically the same as the responsible blocker one I put up earlier using the Big Ten data. That post explains exactly how responsibilities are split between blockers against specific types of sets.

My Pac 12 knowledge is admittedly lacking and I had to google some of these kids. Schoenlein is a senior outside for WSU, Lutz you should know from Stanford (and who is apparently touching 11 feet at the moment), Willow Johnson is a freshman RS for Oregon (and Randy Johnson’s daughter, fun fact).  Woodford is an OH with WSU I believe and Plummer is the Stanford OH you’re likely familiar with.

Just a reminder that since there is no designation of position (OH, MB, RS, S) in DataVolley, I am relying on spacing from the setter. This is compromise that has to be made in order to do the analysis – but inherently fails us when we look at a team like Stanford who has Fitzmorris and Lutz sometimes floating between middle and rightside. Sorry…

What you see on the left is how attackers hit against the blocker in question, whether there is a registered block touch or not. So if you find Willow Johnson (just a cool name so I’m gonna keep using her), you’ll see that when hitters attack her down the line or into the portion of the seam she’s responsible for as a RS blocker, she holds them to one of the lowest Attack Efficiencies in the league.

What you see on the right is the Efficiency Change as a result of the block move. From earlier posts on Eff Change you may understand that this gives more credit to a blocker if they take a strong position for the attacker and neutralize it or turn it into a good position for the defense – for example, if the offensive team usually hits .500 on the Go and Willow Johnson gets a stuff block to terminate the rally, her Eff Change will be her output, minus the input. In this case the input is -.500 because your defense loses at that rate against the Go, but the output is 1.00 because your defense always wins when you get a stuff block. This gives WILLOW JOHNSON an Eff Change for this block move of 1.5, which is huge. It also hurts the blocker more if they do something stupid when the offense is already in trouble, like netting against an out of system attack. Don’t do that…

You’ll see from the EffChangeBlock column is that the best blockers add value each time an attacker targets the portion of the court they’re responsible for. This might be via good touches that help your transition offense or it might be just not getting tooled and leaving clean lines for your defenders to fill.

You can use EffChangeBlock to potentially find undervalued blockers. Jenelle Jordan, a senior MB from Cal for example. While attackers hit 0.268 against her, more than double what people hit against the top 3 in that category, she quietly has a positive impact on attacks into her zones. To be fair, these Eff Change stats account for the team you’re on as well as the team you’re playing, and Cal’s numbers are likely to be deflated relative to the rest of the league. So if they’re a subpar digging team, that increases the value of every block touch Jordan gets…

Anyway, just wanted to throw this out there and let people check it out.