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Hurrah from the Women, Blah from the Men

Posted January. 25, 2005 22:52,   


Can the “Back Attack 2-Point System,” newly adopted to increase fans’ interest in professional volleyball, succeed?

At the 2005 V-League exhibition matches, which took place on January 25 at Yong-in Stadium, the coaches of the women’s and men’s teams showed opposite responses.

The “Back Attack 2-Point System” was devised by the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) in order to make the games more dynamic. It grants two points to an attack made from behind the back attack line (3m from the net for women, 3.5m for men). The exhibition games marked the first time the new rule was put into effect, and it made enough of an impact for the women’s teams to operate as a key factor in the outcome.

During last year’s V-Tour, the women’s division recorded an average of 0.56 back attack attempts per game, and a success rate of just 0.05 back attacks per game. But at the match between Hyundai Construction and KT&G on January 25, a total of 21 back attacks were attempted, with five of them infiltrating the opposing side of the net to turn the direction of the game. In the third set, with the score at 22-24, a back attack from KT&G’s Park Kyung-nang instantly turned the situation into a deuce. In the match between the Korea Highway Corporation and Hungkuk Life Insurance, back attacks were attempted a whopping 49 times, 13 of which were successful.

Hyundai Construction’s coach Yoo Hwa-seok stated, “It’s highly effective; attempting about 20 per game and making just 4~5 of them will be enough to change the flow of the entire match.” Coach Kim Hyung-sil of KT&G also welcomed the new rule, saying, “It was an inevitable choice in order for Korean women’s volleyball to remain competitive on the international stage.”

By contrast, those in the men’s division were skeptical about the new system. Coach Shin Chi-yong of Samsung Fire Insurance said, “Male players can make successful back attacks all the time even if the back attack line is pushed back by 50cm,” and projected that the rule will “make the game less fun by making it end quicker.”

KOVO plans to try moving the line back to 4m during the exhibition games. But Hyundai Capital’s coach Kim Ho-cheol made his objections clear by saying, “Merely increasing the distance could lead to bigger injuries for the players.”

Jan 25 Game Results:

Women’s Division

Hyundai Construction 3-2 KT&G

Highway Corporation 3-2 Hungkuk Life

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com