How do volleyball tournaments work? Learn it here and win your first cup

You have to distinguish between volleyball tournaments and volleyball competitions. Competitions are generally played every week and every team remains on board for the whole season. Tournaments on the other hand are played during a shorter period of the season and the teams that lose get disqualified from the tournament. The matches can therefore get quite intense as losing once or twice can mean that you get kicked out of the tournament. During a volleyball competition you can have a bad streak but still, win the competition in the end. It is possible that teams join in different tournaments during the year but they will typically only play in one competition.

Tournaments can have different rules but they are typically played in different rounds. You often are not allowed to bring new players to the team once the tournament has started. This makes sure that it remains fair for everyone. If your team is quite small, it can be a challenge to finish the tournament as some players might not be able to finish the match. Therefore it is always a good idea to have some players on the bench so that you can switch if needed.  Let’s take a look at each of these rounds to see how this evolves.

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

You have to distinguish between bracket and pool play. Pool play is a group of teams that compete, they often play multiple games to determine who is going to win the pool or group. Bracket play is one-on-one where one team has to beat the other, this is often called the knockout phase as only one team can win. Most tournaments combine bracket and pool play. They often start out with a pool phase and then go to a bracket phase.

There is often a random draw to decide which team goes in which group. They will often ask a random person to draw papers out of a box. This will decide what teams will get matched up for the first round. This is often done weeks before the tournament so that it is clear which teams have to play against each other. This gives coaches some time to prepare your team to face the opposing team and to know what their weaknesses and strengths are. After this, it is time for the first round…

The first round of the tournament.

During the first round typically 4 teams are in the same group. Each of these teams meets 2 times. If you win, you get three points, if you lose you only get zero points. You keep playing until someone wins. The two teams that have the highest score are allowed to go to the second round. If there is a draw, the team with the most points during the matches goes to the next round. It has to be mentioned that tournaments have different rules so you will have to check the rules of the one that you are participating in. 

The second round of the tournament

Now things get serious. The winner of the previous round plays against the second team in another group. This means that the level of the competition is increasing as the losing teams have already gone home. In most instances, there are two games between these teams. One at home and one in the sports arena of the opposing team. If it is a short tournament, it is also possible that one game decides who is going to the next round.

The third round

The winners of the second round have to play against each other again in the third round. At this point in time, the nerves of the players are getting quite high as they can feel the finals already coming. You might see quite a lot of mistakes by the players due to this and it creates very intense matches where the ball goes back and forth a lot. If you are losing, you will have to go on the attack or you will get kicked out of the tournament. This means that some teams are playing very offensively and putting a lot of pressure on the other team. 

Semi-final of the tournament.

During the semi-finals, teams have to compete to be able to go to the finals. These matches are the most intense of the tournament as teams have spent a lot of time getting there and they are often determined to win. If you lose this game, there is often a game between the losers of the semi-finals to determine who will be third and get a medal. If you get to the finals, you are sure to get a medal so there is a lot at stake. You can see teams giving their all during these games and you will see spectacular digs to keep the ball in the air and to avoid that the opposing team can score a point. 

Finals of a tournament.

This is when the excitement gets really high. At this point, you don’t want to lose anymore as you have spent all this time winning the tournament. In most instances, this is the only match that decides who wins the tournament. If there is a deuce, you will keep playing until one of the teams has won. Not every player is able to remain calm under these circumstances. You will really have to come together as a team to remain calm and keep your focus. You have to keep doing the basics: good passing, good defending and surprising offensive actions. All of these things combined will make sure that you can win the tournament. Don’t get flustered by the supporters of the other team. They might make a lot of noises and so on but you shouldn’t pay too much attention to them. Focus on your team and the ball and things will work out just fine. At this point in time, you will know what your team members expect of you and you just have to deliver this. 

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the Olympic final match of Team USA:

To conclude, we can state that you can learn a lot during a tournament. These are quite intense as the team that is losing often will be kicked out of it. Therefore you will see very spectacular matches with a lot of pressure on both teams. Tournaments can help you to make a better player overall. Most teams focus on the competition and tournaments are often only a secondary goal as these are less prestigious. Playing a competition and tournament at the same time can be quite intense and some teams can prefer to focus on one as they believe that they don’t have enough talented players to shine in both.