Stephen Lee - BeachStats Analyst In September 2022 the King of the Court returned to Utrecht for the European Finals. Featuring some of the best teams European beach volleyball has to offer, the competition was fierce. In a game all about offense and creating opportunities to score, what does the breakdown look like between the type of attacks used that makes the best players so successful? We examined the balance of soft attacks (shots and cut attacks) and hard-swing attacks that players utilized. In this article we take a look at the most successful side-outs.
A considerable part of the game of beach volleyball, siding out, becomes second nature for these athletes as they train to improve. King of the Court brings in a lot of elements that can be disruptive, such as the time pressure and different opponents, but with a championship on the line, everyone shows up to compete. The combined men’s and women’s side-out rate was 61.0% from the King's side during the event. To put into perspective how incredible that stat is, the last event had a 46.3% combined side-out rate. That is almost a 15 percentage point uptick in side-out efficiency!
Åhman & Hellvig kept opponents on their toes all tournament with jump sets and the unique pace of their offense. They recorded a 75.6% side-out rate from the King's side. Brouwer & Meeuwsen were knocked out in the playoffs to finish 6th. During their run, however, they recorded a 72.6% for the second-highest side-out rate. The reigning Olympic gold medalists, Mol & Sørum took care of business, working through some tough matchups before securing the win in a heated final. The Norwegians had a 70.0% side-out rate during their stints on the King's side.
Vergé-Dépré and Bentele came to play, making a long run and finishing 5th. Talk about consistency, the Swiss pair had the top side-out rate of 70.6% for the women over 180 attempts. Makhno and Makhno are always so exciting to follow in these events, and Utrecht was no different as they sided out at 68.7% and finished in 6th place. Finishing in the top 3 of yet another category was the German team of Borger and Laboureur, with a 68.1% side-out rate. They also had the most side-out attempts, 238, of all women's teams.
Side-out and successful challenge rates allow us to understand a team's offensive and defensive talents, but what if we dive deeper? What makes up those statistics? Those rates are made up of offensive attacks; hard hits, smart shots, and cuts, that the players have developed through practice. Using the data gathered, we can see the offensive players' approaches when attacking, choosing between a soft shot or hard hit, and their overall success in the event.
Next time we'll tell you all about the soft attack usage in Utrecht, check it out!