Evolution of Game Demands From Young to Elite Players in Men’s Volleyball

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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To assess the evolution of the volleyball’s game demands throughout players’ development in men’s volleyball.


A total of 150 sets and 6.671 rallies were analyzed. The sample was composed of 30 sets each by under-14, under-16, under-19, national senior, and international senior teams (1.291, 1.318, 1.310, 1.372, and 1.380 rallies for each category, respectively). Sets included in the sample were stratified and then randomly selected. The variables studied included play time, rest time, rallies played, jumps, hits, types of ball contact, types of game interruptions, performance of the game phases, and performance of the actions. Student t and Mann Whitney U tests were used to analyze specific differences between categories.


The results showed significant reductions in the play times of the rally (from 8.91 to 6.79 s) and the set (6 min 23 s to 4 min 30 s), significant increases in the rest times of the rally (19.64 to 26.53 s) and the set (13 min 44 s to 20 min 27 s), and a significant increase in the number of jumps per set (113.5 to 181.3). Significant improvements in the reception performance (1.57 to 2.45 out of 3), attack performance (2.13 to 2.67 out of 4), and side-out-phase success (48.4% to 69.6%) were found. Throughout the players’ development, data show an increase in the speed, intensity, and efficacy of the side-out phase.


The findings provide reference values to guide athletes’ development and to monitor training and matches both physically and technically tactically.

García de Alcaraz is with the LFE Research Group, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain. Valadés is with the Dept of Physical Education and Sport, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Palao is with the Dept of Health, Exercise Science and Sport Management, University of Wisconsin Parkside, Parkside, WI.

García de Alcaraz (antoniogadealse@gmail.com) is corresponding author.