Volleyball Player Efficiency Rating, Part 2: Our System


The system we use at Concordia University Texas is based closely on Jim Coleman’s research and the computer system created by Rod Schall. We rate passing and digs on a (0-3) point scale to make the objective recording much easier. During pass and dig calculations the stats are adjusted to the (0-4) point scale by changing the 3’s to 4’s and the 2’s to 3’s… thus removing all 2’s. This is done to balance all skills on a 4 point scale and to enable the composite PER statistic to be valid. This is our rating system:

Serve, Attack, and Block Pass & Dig
Ace, kill, or stuff block 4 0
Return or free ball 3 1
1 or 2 hitters (limited offense) 2 2
3 hitters (multiple offense) 1 3
Error – loss of point 0

You may notice that a statistical measurement for setting is missing in our system. The measurement of this skill has been studied extensively with various methods available, all of which are very difficult to efficiently assess. The two things valued most about a setter is their ability to turn a bad pass into a great set, and to make the best decisions on who to set based on who is terminating the ball. What is most important is the ability for the setter to generate points.

Alexis Lebedew with the Australian Institute of Sport writes a paper titled A Reconceptualisation of Traditional Volleyball Statistics to Provide a Coaching Tool for Setting. He describes a method to grade setting on a (0-12) point scale that takes into consideration the quality of the pass and the result of the attack. This system can be used on top of any rating system used for passing and attacks. This is our adapted rating matrix for setting:

Attack Pass Set Rate
Excellent 4 1 12
4 2 11
4 3 10
Good 3 1 9
3 2 8
3 3 7
Average 2 1 6
2 2 5
2 3 4
Poor 1 1 3
1 2 2
1 3 1
Attack Error 0 1 0
0 2 0
0 3 0
Error 0

Now we have an objective rating system for all 6 skills. We refer to this system as ViPER which stands for Volleyball Player Efficiency Rating. Now comes the task of recording the ratings. This can be done live during a match on a simple spreadsheet or after by watching a video recording. Taking stats live during a match can pose to be a difficult problem if you try to record too many skills at a time; breaking the assignments up into groups make it easier to record. One person can take pass and dig stats while another person records serve, attack, and blocks. Setting is a combination of attack and pass, so some form of communication will have to take place to record those values. A single person will have a problem recording both pass/dig and attacks…that is unless you are Russ Rose.

The following are two example charts used for tabulation. You can create these in a spreadsheet application or draw them on notebook paper. Remember to leave enough room to keep stats for up to five sets. This can easily be done by allowing for two rows of written stats per player. Just remember after every set to put in a dash in every column to distinguish between them. Subdividing them is not absolutely necessary, but it helps in recording the values into the final spreadsheet for calculation.

Sample Charts for Tabulation

Pass | Serve

In Part 3 I explain our methods for calculating Player Efficiency Ratings for each of the 6 volleyball skills. On top of the six rating percentages, you will have a composite PER rating for each player that will generalize their contributions to the team. You can compare this value to the team PER rating to determine who is helping and hurting your team’s performance.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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