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Nudist Volleyball Skill Level Definitions
Through the years many of us that play in nudist tournaments in Eastern North America have discussed the idea of developing a better consensus for the skill levels appropriate for each of the division levels offerred at the tournaments. One of our regulars was willing to take the time to develop this guide. After several reviews among players from multiple levels, and after posting a draft to the Facebook group SB-VB, this document was prepared. Thank you Larry (Debra) for your contribution.
The following is a guide to help players determine which division of play is appropriate for their skill level. This is done to ensure skill equity within each team and between all of the teams in each division. Registering for the proper division is extremely important as being in the wrong division generally results in a very uneven and lopsided level of play. No one enjoys this!
Novice or Recreational
Players have minimal knowledge of the game (picnics or drop-in with friends), but not in an organized league. Teams have no strategy other than hitting the ball over the net to their opponent. Volleyball is expected to be played as a care-free game, with few rules other than those designed for safety (net violations including being in the net or under the net during play and not intruding in the opposite teamís playing space). This is truly "just for fun and exercise."
This is also a great place to work on your basic skills: Bump, Set, Spike, Block, Serve. These players have difficulty with ball control, mobility/positioning and court awareness. Players are either Rookies (young, athletic players with experience in other sports, but no volleyball experience) or Veterans (players who have experience playing in organized leagues, etc. however, their skills are rusty.)
Novice Plus or "C":
Players have some knowledge of the game. Players are learning to judge where the ball is going after it crosses net although court coverage is weak. Play may sustain a short rally of slow pace with other players of the same ability. Many points are scored due to execution errors, i.e. shanks, bad passes etc. Athletic ability and mobility are desirable but not required for success. Teams have a bump, set, hit strategy … but cannot always coordinate all three. When things go wrong, they can still keep the ball in play due to their youthful athletic ability or their years of experience.
Basic passing, setting and hitting skills are inconsistent. Many sets are technically carries. Hitters do not utilize a true approach. Players try to use three hits, but frequently they donít succeed.
Players at this level are competitive and are learning to judge where the ball is going before it crosses the net. Play is skilled, but needs improvement in consistency. Given a good set, "B" players sometimes hit with power. Teams usually have a strategy that includes designated setters on offense. Teams are inconsistent about putting up a block, and itís usually just a single block.
Players have a basic understanding of necessary skills and the rules of the game. They are beginning to understand strategy - that every player on the court has a specific role and that there is an expected sequence of players' roles during each play that ensures fluid teamwork and helps avoid injuries. Skill level easily outweighs height. Athletic ability and mobility are required for success. Many "B" level hitters do not employ a standard hitting approach. A few points are scored due to execution errors but not the majority - most points have to be earned. Each player can pass, bump set or even hand set with some success, spike/attack a ball and block the ball (as it is attacked from the opposing team). When playing 6s, these players would have a basic understanding of running 6-2 and 5-1 plays. They will also have an understanding of the communication needed within the team and how to cover for each other.
Players have very good athletic ability and volleyball skills. Players may specialize in a position. Strategically, every player knows the game well and is able to execute plays. Given a good set, "BB" players can consistently hit with great power. Teams serve strategically or with power and may have effective jump servers. Teams consistently put up effective blocks. The BB game is more complex, athletic, powerful, faster and consistent than lower levels. Athletic ability and quickness are required for success. It includes combination attacks, deception and fewer errors. Advanced skills include jump serves, quick sets, combination attacks, double blocks in the middle. Players know where to be on the court at all times and are confident in all five skills (bump/pass, set, spike/attack, block and serve). They can hold their own in all positions and in executing all skills. At this level almost all of the hitters utilize the standard approach (footwork, arm swing, etc.). Passing becomes a skill that morphs quickly into "digging". Since players are harder hitters, the receiving teamís job is now more difficult and the defending team is often forced to "dig" the ball in a low-to-the-ground pass, roll or "pancake" maneuver. These players exhibit more aggressive net play, have improved court coverage, and are developing defensive strategy.
"A" players are basically "BB" players with more perfection, quickness, power and consistency. These players execute their skills with accuracy and power with a high success rate. Many players were College/HS/Club trained. They have been well trained and can execute skills and techniques consistently at a high level. Players specialize in one of the five position but can perform relatively well in all positions, however may not have power, speed, touch and control.
Players consistently display advanced ability in either offensive skills (spiking, serving, setting) or defensive skills (passing, digging, blocking) to compete as a specialist and have sufficient ability to execute the dynamics of power volleyball. Also, players have begun to master the use of power and shots and are beginning to handle pace, have sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and are beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. These are players with dominant hitting/blocking skills, or those whose knowledge, experience or specialized skill allows them to contribute on a high-powered team. They can hit with power from almost anywhere on the court.
Double A or "AA"
Nearly Olympic. Or at least able to dig an Olympic Player's attack hit or able to once in a while put a ball down as a hitter against an Olympic Team. OK. No one can ever put a ball down against an Olympic defense. But an adult AA team of players would be able to beat a college Division I team of their same sex at least some of the time. Teams of AA almost always run a 6-2 where there is always three front row hitters/blockers, frequently utilize their middle and back row hitters, run slides, tandems, x's, and crosses. These teams usually double block and sometimes will present a triple block defense.
As stated above, these descriptions have emerged from our nudist volleyball community. There are many clothed leagues and organizations that may have slighly different interpretations. If you wish to explore the topic, why not just google "volleyball skill levels" sometime when you have a lot of time on your hands.