*blue is won matches, orange is lost matches – matchid is chronolnogical from start (1) to end of season (39)*

So the other evening, I was starting to draw up my first practice of the 2019-2020 season for the Bay 16-1s. It’s a team that has great potential, some fantastic athletes, good height, and just a bunch of good dudes. But I was trying to figure out what we were really after – what we really needed to emphasize, especially as a message in the first weekend of practices. So I thought about how most points are scored – killing the ball – and therefore creating opportunities to kill the ball becomes a huge thing. On the other side of this, it’s not justttt about killing the ball, it’s about making great decisions whether you are in or out of system – and that’s where the xP comes into play. xP for those who don’t remember is expected points. So you swing for a kill, great, 1.0 expected points. You hit into a perfect dig, crap, maybe -0.250 expected points. You take a hit rip into the hands and get a recycle, maybe +0.150 expected points.

So that’s where I started. I looked at the the number of times we created an attacking situation divided by the total opportunities we had to create a swing. So basically anytime you received an in-bounds serve, that was an opportunity – however many times you actually passed well enough to attack, those were counted in the “create” bin. Same in transition. Every time the opponent hit something into the court, that counts as an opportunity to create a swing – and every time we got a D# (perfect) or D+ (good, but no MB) that was a “create” – and every D- (dig but no attack) or D= (shank), we had an opportunity but no create.

We totaled these numbers together to get the Create % ratio you see in the top left. On the top right, we looked at average Output Eff – this is where we account for non-terminal attacks and how they impact our ability to win the rally.

In the bottom left, we then multiplied these two together. Output Eff (xP) for every time we got an attack – multiplied by the percentage of opportunities we actually got an attack for. This gives us the “Create_xP” box.

Finally we looked at the difference between teams. So for Harker, this was Harker minus opponent’s Create_xP score. You’ll notice that the only matches Harker lost were where our opponent was better in this Create_xP ratio – or our two scores were very similar and the difference was negligible (these losses are mostly Monta Vista 🙄).

Anyway, I hadn’t posted in a while and thought this was an interesting take on how to quantify teams’ ability to create and make great decisions. It’s not enough to create a ton of swings and do stupid things with them – just like it’s not enough to be a super intelligent team that can’t create opportunities to be intelligent. Hopefully this accounts for both and we’ll see if taking this 16s team down this road pays off long-term.