In the last few weeks, our statisticians at VolleyMetrics have been analyzing matches and trying to find a skill or stat that is highly correlated to winning a match. We’ve analyzed attacking efficiency, side out percentage, and many others, but they have finally found the highest correlation: serving. Serving is one of the most basic skills in volleyball. Every point begins with a serve, and teams can get a big advantage in a match if they can perform well in serving. As our statisticians analyzed serving, they found that the team that served the most typically won the match. Here are some statistics and graphics that show the correlation of winning and the number of serves a team has.

From the chart to the right, you can see how this trend works. Each point on the chart represents a team. We looked at each team’s serves per game in the 2016 NCAA Women’s Division I volleyball season, and then graph it against their season win percentage. From this graph, you can see the high correlation of winning and the number of times a team serves the ball. This will change the way a team looks at serving, and this graph proves it.

 

In fact, no winning team in the NCAA Tournament had fewer serves than the team they beat. This is incredibly correlated: if you serve more, you will win. Below, we have a table of teams with high win percentages and their serving statistics.

Serving Comparison for Winning Teams
Rank Team Serves per Game Overall Record Win Percentage
1 Stanford 24.6 27-7 79.4
2 Texas 24.2 27-6 84.4
3 Minnesota 23.2 27-5 85.3
4 Nebraska 22.6 31-3 91.2
5 Wisconsin 22.4 28-5 84.8
League Average 21.7 58.6

 

The top 5 teams in the final AVCA rankings are displayed in this table. Stanford, the team that won it all, had a 0.794 win percentage, which is not the highest, but they did have the most serves out of anyone in the top five, and our analysts believe that had a big part of them winning the national championship. As we look at the other four teams, we can see that their win percentages and sets per game are all very high as well. Another interesting thing to note that these top 5 teams happen to be in order of the number of serves per game from greatest to least. This is just another reason why we can safely say that the more you serve, the higher your win percentage will be. We would also like to congratulate you on reading this far and wish you a happy April Fools day. When you think about it, the team that serves the most in a game will win 100% of the time due to serves only following points. It turns out winning leads to serving, not vice-versa. Now, if you don’t mind, we will get back to the prank. With this break through in volleyball, we HIGHLY recommend choosing to serve at the beginning of the match and in a fifth game. This will give you a big advantage going into the game, and will probably allow your team to win. So get out their and share this with the world, or keep this finding to yourself, and see how you or your team does this upcoming season.


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Corley Bagley

Corley Bagley

Director of Analytics

VolleyMetrics

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