How to predict the outcome of volleyball matches: a guide for beginners

Polars.io
5 min readOct 24, 2022

While soccer, tennis and basketball always top the list of most popular sports, volleyball is actually the fifth most popular sport in the world. Volleyball has more than 900 million fans worldwide and has been growing in popularity since the inclusion of men’s volleyball in the Olympics in 1964. This was soon followed by the inclusion of beach volleyball in the 1996 Olympics.

What makes volleyball even more intense is that games cannot end in a draw. There is always a winner in a volleyball match. Those who make volleyball predictions don’t have to worry about the possibility of a draw.

In this article you will find answers to the following questions:

  • Explaining the rules of the game
  • Understanding the basics of predicting volleyball matches
  • What factors are unique to volleyball?
  • Which volleyball competitions are considered the most important?

Learning the rules

Before you start making volleyball predictions, it is best to have a basic understanding of the game. That way, you can better understand the tips we will offer you.

Two teams of six players, each team standing on opposite sides of the net.

A match consists of three or five sets, depending on the level. Most games from university level and up have five sets.

Teams play the first four sets (or two in a three-set match) to 25 points, and the last set to 15 points. A team must have a two-point advantage to win a set, and the first team to win three of the five sets wins the match.

Team members are placed three in the front row and three in the back row.

Each time a team takes a serve from its opponents, the players change one position clockwise and the new server picks up the ball.

A team may touch the ball up to three times on its side of the net, but the same player may not touch the ball on consecutive serves.

Throwing the ball is prohibited. Players must either dig (underarm forearm kick), set (overhead kick) or score (overhead attack kick) the ball

After the ball has entered play, front row players may switch positions for the duration of the draw. If the ball touches any part of the player’s body, the opposing team wins the point. The same applies if a player touches the net during play. During the rally, the ball remains in motion. Players are not allowed to catch or hold the ball.

Can there be a draw?

You can directly predict the winning team in a volleyball match. There is no draw option in volleyball. Volleyball matches are divided into sets of 25 points, and whoever scores that number first becomes the absolute winner of that particular set. Therefore, teams cannot draw. You can predict whether a volleyball match will be won by the home team or the visiting team.

Which competitions are the most important?

An important part of understanding how to predict volleyball matches is learning which competitions have the most importance in the calendar. Volleyball’s highest priority is the Olympic Games, which are held every four years; volleyball has been an Olympic sport since 1964. The FIVB World Championships are also held every four years (both men’s and women’s).

The Volleyball World Cup is separate from the World Championships and acts as a qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games. The more frequent major events held annually are the Volleyball World League (men’s) and the Volleyball Grand Prix (women’s). Elsewhere there are continental championships, such as the European and South American championships, as well as many domestic leagues and competitions.

Take into account the importance of the upcoming game, for example in the World Cup players will give their all, it gives us confidence in matches where you can see a clearly strong team compared to their rivals.

But what exactly should you pay attention to?

Recent Injuries

Has anyone on the team had a recent injury? It could be as simple as a physical injury, such as a broken arm or sprained ankle, it could also be something emotional. Any team members who have had a traumatic experience, such as a recent death in the family or media hype, will not play well.

Previous rivalry

Do these two teams have a passionate history? Is there an ongoing feud between the two sides? If so, this will put pressure on the game. In this scenario, when the two rivals meet face-to-face, you are likely to see a closer score.

Composition

On the day of the match you want to choose the team with the best lineup. Is the lineup weaker than the opponent? Was a weak outside player chosen for Team A versus a world-class outside player from Team B? It is important to know the composition of the team, this information can easily be found on the Internet.

Additional Tips

When it comes to the game itself on the court, there are several factors that are unique to volleyball. First, the quality of the individual player is much less important than in sports such as soccer or basketball. Most important in volleyball is the strength and cohesiveness of the team as a whole, and for this reason, the number of games played is of great importance.

Volleyball teams often play a large number of matches with short recovery times in between. This causes fatigue and means that form can change, especially when some matches are less important during the season. A final factor is the venue. Volleyball venues can be very different: the height, layout, and spacing of the halls affect players.

When studying how to predict volleyball matches, it is worth considering the Pareto concept. It suggests that less popular sports allow players to make predictions with greater accuracy without much effort. In other words, predicting volleyball can be more effective than predicting a major sport. This is due to less information available and less competition.

Now that you know the basics of where to start predicting volleyball events, you can use our Polars.io site.

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