devo's volleyball – Australian volleyball: news and views

The Golden Formula – a new rule?

Posted by devo on September 5, 2009

I stumbled across this little gem while following up some other links.

A new rule will be trialled during the FIVB Men’s Club World Volleyball Championship in Doha, November 2009, in order to “keep the ball flying” and add value to a rally for the spectator.

Designed by Hussein Iman Ali who  is a member of the World Volleyball Federation coaches’ body and a technical advisor to the Qatar Volleyball Association, the formula is likely to revolutionise the sport if test results are deemed successful.

The rules aim is to increase the length of rallies and so during the first service return, a smash from the first or second touch can still come from anywhere on the court, a spike off the third touch would now originate from behind the three metre line. Shots from behind the three-metre mark take an average 0.44 seconds to land (compared to 0.33 from in front); the same period that it takes on average for a player to prepare to return a spike. That is why the formula has been named the Golden Formula.

After the serving side returns this first attack, the teams are free to spike any following shots, including the ones off the third touch, from either side of the three metre line.

volleyball golden ~ the ref’s stand

So what do you think of the rule? Is it thumbs up or thumbs down?

26 Responses to “The Golden Formula – a new rule?”

  1. Alexis said

    ummm… down.

    • no for GF said

      It will make volleyball less attractive and more dull. Indeed game time will be longer but we have to remember that volleyball players are not robots they will be exhausted especially in such events like tournaments.
      So, in my opinion FIVB should not bring in to life this rule.

  2. Robbo said

    so am i reading this correctly?

    The team receiving serve is allowed to spike from anywhere on the court on the first 2 touches, but if they choose to attack off the third touch, it must be a back court attack. After they hit the back back to the serving side, they have to follow the same rules, but once they attack the ball back to the opposition, the rule is no longer in place so either team can attack from the front court or back court as normal


  3. stan said

    I can’t really see how this would benefit volleyball overall. Not allowing a front court spike first off is like waiting for the rally to start after it really has. I mean the serve won’t count so much because you know the receiving team can only back court hit it and only after that can the serving team can start ‘proper’ play. So it’s like the first two team touches don’t count.
    If your team is not so good, you are less likely to get an attack hit from the back court so it puts the receiving team at more of a disadvantage.
    As for the international teams, they use their backcourt hitters in their normal attack so why do they feel it necessary to enforce only a backcourt hit on serve reception? Again all I can see is disadvantage for the receiving team because the serving team knows exactly where the attack hit is going to come from because hitting options have been reduced to backcourt only.

    Now the whole idea of rule changes is to prolong volleyball rallies and in general this is by helping the defensive team. This proposed rule change will only help the serving team, which is contrary to the whole point of rule change.

  4. Luke said

    Possible +ve
    I think at the top level it would lead to some new attacking plays, like back court quicks, similar to those run by Giba, and more use of a back row attack from position 5, and faster. What about a back court combo where a pipe is run over a back court quick? Is it possible?
    At the lower level of volleyball I think it will encourage all players to be able to hit from the back row, too many teams in younger age or lower level volleyball don’t use a back row because its “too hard”. This rule change will force coaches to get their players better and back row attacks, not a bad thing.
    Possible -ve
    Junior and Youth players who aren’t a high level will really struggle, in both boys and girls. Yes they will have to learn new and better skills but if they can’t do it, it may turn them off the sport because it’s too hard.

  5. confused said

    Am I to believe that on the first or second touch a spike can come from anywhere on the court….does that mean one can spike the serve?

    • mickmurphy said

      More likely it means that a front court setter can tip the second ball. You wouldn’t be able to spike the serve.

  6. Alexis said

    Ok – now this has got me thinking….. It will drastically change the entire on-court structure.

    Some thoughts:

    – If you have a backcourt setter and a Libero it means the offense MUST come from the other player. ie: one hitting option.

    – The ball will be passed directly to a frontrow hitter, who will sometimes hit on2 and sometimes fake to set a Pipe after holding a double block out on the antenna.

    – The frontrow middle will have to be able to pass so that none of the backcourt players are in the passing line. Someone better start teaching those middles how to pass!

    – The backrow setter will have to be able to hit.

    – Maybe we will get back to the good old days of middle front setting!?

    • stan said

      Alexis, you make some very interesting points.
      Do we really want to have to get teams to play two different types of setting systems in the one rally, all for the sake of 0.11sec?
      Is it really worth changing our game so much for the sake of such a small time difference?

  7. markleb said

    My first interpretation was that only backrow players would able to attack, but it says nothing about that only that the attack must be from behind 3m.
    It would definitely switch the ‘balance of power’ towards the block.
    One scenario could be…. Speed would become less important as an offensive principle as the offence is by definition slower. The quality of the reception would become less important as the first tempo attack is no longer factor. Power would become more important as it is no longer possible to beat the block by speed, and so you would need bigger, stronger guys to get through. Middle block would become almost exclusively a blocking position.
    My prediction is that it will lead to more rallies played by bigger, stronger players with much less fine skill. All of the new defensive actions would be balls touched by the block, and therefore easy, and so the rallies would be longer, but not more spectacular.
    Overall it would be much less interesting volleyball. This rule is tailor made for the Russians. Perhaps this is their big chance. This rule would destroy the Japanese. They would never win a point. Japanese TV pays the most money to FIVB. It will never go through. At least I hope not.

  8. Jase said

    This rule sounds like something a coach would get their team to do in a scrimmage to work on learning to hit or block backrow, not something we should be encouraging as an international rule.

  9. Steve said

    I get the feeling I will be the in the minority here, but I actually like this a lot!

    It is the third hit that has to be behing the 3 metre line correct. I am still unclear if this means front row players can spike from behind the line or not. I think it only logical that they be allowed to due to the limitations that Alexis outlined above.

    It does take away quick attacks on serve reception, but it would create new tactics that would be interesting to see teams try to perfect. Passing skills become even more critical as does serving, because you can imagine teams now using their pass reception to set up a front court spike rather than it being directed to the setter. Tough serving becomes critical to prevent accuate “pass-sets”.

    It also promotes all round skill, as off that serve reception to position four, if the player is faced with a double or triple block they need to be able to set the pipe or the player in position 1 for the third hit. Setters will need to be able to hit, middles will need to be able to pass, spikers will need to be able to set. It is hard to see any of this as a negative, and contrary to Mark’s opinion I think it can assist smaller teams like the Japanese to be internationally competitive once again. A team of guys 6-5 to 6-7 who can do everything will be a competitive team.

    Also, will libero’s now be allowed to replace front court players, with teams gambling on releasing all three back court players to kill the point off the serve (or face only having two blockers, depending on what you allow the libero to do) or can libero’s now spike? Or does it just kill the “lets have two massive guys who can’t do anything but block and hit quicks and one midget who can pass and scramble really well” mentality? The libero has allowed guys 6-0 and under to play internationally again which in itself is a good thing, but I would still prefer to see well rounded players rather than specialists if I had the choice.

    • markleb said

      I hadn’t considered setting directly from reception to a frontrow player but this would be a difficult set to make, a difficult spike to hit, predictable and high and therefore almost certainly against a triple block. Having the option to either spike or set could have the effect of putting the block under some pressure, but again it will be a relatively slow ball. In modern volleyball the block moves so fast and is so organised that it will be very difficult to get through without having a speed element.
      I don’t see a scenario where the middle will be required to pass, unless only backrow players are allowed to spike. That would significantly reduce the impact of the libero as they would no longer be used for reception, only for defence.
      As for the size and power issue, I watched the Olympic final where the USA forced Brazil to hit high balls against well formed blocks FROM THE FRONTROW. Stripped of their speed, they were more or less outclassed. Backrow attacks are higher and slower than frontrow attacks. Giba, for example, would no longer be able to attack for sideout. Japan, for example, are not at the same level as Brazil.
      And high level volleyballers are amazingly well rounded players. One of the disadvantages of volleyball on TV or even in the stands, is that the spectator doesn’t get to fully appreciate the speed and power and skill of the game. The difference between standing at court level and even 10 metres away significant.

      • Anon said

        Agreed, watching top level men’s volleyball on TV is difficult for even someone who knows what they are looking for. However, top level men’s volleyball in slow motion replay shows exactly how impressive these athletes are.

  10. weird…

  11. Trio said

    How about they try leaving the rules alone for just a minute so everyone can catch up!

    And how about a thought to people trying to learn the game! Pulling a team up for an illegal attack on serve receive when they have executed their other two skills as correctly as you could expect? Nahhh no thanks… I think this is way off the mark. Back to the drawing board please FIVB!

  12. Sally B said

    I liked it in the days when you could block the serve!!!

  13. stan said

    The more I think about this, the crankier I get.
    Let’s not forget something that hasn’t been mentioned yet.
    What is the serving team doing at the point of serve? They are waiting for the attack to come!
    From the moment the last rally ends, the serving team will have a team hug to celebrate the point, then the server gets the ball and goes back to serve, the ref blows the whistle, and the server gets up to 8sec to serve the ball. In all this time, the rest of the serving team is standing there in position ready to receive the attack. That is surely plenty of time to get ready.
    Unless the serving team want a gold guilded card telling them the attack is coming, they have plenty of time to get ready.

  14. Troy M said

    if fivb want to slow the game down, they should increase the height of the net by 2m.

    alternately, if it is too difficult to modify all the net/posts in the world, we could make it that when the ball hits the ground, the second referee can throw in a “free ball” and everyone can play on. This way the game never stops :P

    i think the best option would be to have the people at the FIVB tested for ‘recreational’ drugs…

  15. markleb said

    I’ve actually been thinking about this topic in a broader sense recently. The idea that drives all of the rule changes is longer rallies = more interesting volleyball. People who have watched more than about three volleyball games know that a long rally can be just as boring as four consecutive service errors. Beach volleyball rallies are shorter, more predictable and with longer gaps between them and yet beach volleyball is somehow considered by many to more exciting.
    I think the greater problem is with the perception of volleyball. And in this the FIVB has, with good intentions, perhaps somehow shot itself in the foot. Another way to go would be to spend more time in educating the public about what is ‘good volleyball’. The constant talk about rallies has people thinking that rallies are THE sign of good volleyball. People never talk about how difficult it is to control a 120kmh serve with your forearms. Or how many hours of training and how much coordination and skill between players are required to spike a ball with no block. Or any number of other things.
    People might remember Ironman surf contests being unbelievably popular for a short period 15-20 years ago. 98% of an ironman contest was mindnumbing, but the commentators constantly bleated on about how tough it was, etc etc and tricked people into thinking that made it somehow interesting. Eventually we all caught on and there is no more ironman. In volleyball we don’t even have to make stuff up. It is difficult but even a lot of volleyball people don’t understand how difficult.
    I think we should spend some time on the education route.

  16. Luke said

    I see a few comments about an attack of the 2nd ball, and some people think it can or can’t be done. There is a school team in Victoria, Eltham, doing this very tactic already. Off float serve they set position 4 or 2 if the opportunity is there. They are probably the most skilled school team in Victoria, possibly Australia and use this tactic because they are also shorter and less powerful than their competition. They have been training and playing this tactic for months now, long before the Golden Rule came up.

    • devo said

      When Matt DeSalvo spent 3 months in South Korea training with a uni team several years ago, they had their front court setters running to the net and doing a spike approach. If the block was not there, they spiked. If it was there, they set.

    • Good know that there’s even an Avant Garde in indoor volleyball! we need more of this out-of-the-box styled thinking!

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