All (good) coaches have a set of rules they use to simplify and clarify game situations for their teams. Which player should play the first ball and in which situations. Which player should play the second ball and in which situations. The best solutions for high ball attacks. When to block with a double and triple block. You get the idea. If you are reading this blog, you are a good coach, so you probably have some more that I haven’t even written.
Most coaches have rules regarding giving free balls to the opponent. Incredibly, not all coaches do and even today watching the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament I was stunned to see free balls played mindlessly into the middle of the opponent’s court. But I digress. The most common free ball rule is to play the ball short to position 2/1. Obviously, this reason is to either make the setter play the first ball, or draw the opposite out of position to take it. All teams are ready for that and have tactics to solve this problem.
So if good coaches have rules of play, AND solutions to those rules then REALLY a good coach has to relax those rules. Up to a certain level increased structure improves the level of play. Beyond a certain level decreased structure increases the level of play. Example number one is any number of things that France does. Example number two is this play from Canada’s TJ Sanders. Watch the play, see how it unfolds, play the ball.