"Now when No. 5 hits the ball, this is where her ball goes. She almost never hits it here and she never, ever hits it here. But we know she hits it deep. So we say, 'OK, we need to stay deep when she hits it.' "
Effective in all phases
There is a bit of misunderstanding involved with volleyball statistics. For starters, the game is played two different ways and a team generally won't perform the same in both areas.
"Phase one is whoever is serving," Wade said. "When it's my turn to serve, I've got to be good with the pass and the attack. The other phase is attacking after you've attacked me. When you hit it, how good am I when the ball is hit at me?"
Wade said passing a serve to set up an attack and digging an attack to set up an attack are "two very different skills." Data Volley knows this, so with six rotations on a court and two parts of the game, the program provides details about 12 different parts of the match. That's valuable because WVU or an opponent might be terrible at digging off an attack or especially good at attacking after a serve. A player might be great at digs and might struggle with passes. Whatever the possibility, it's covered in Data Volley.
With the help of Data Volley, the Mountaineers distribute and digest very detailed scouting reports that show statistics for serves, attacks and blocks and diagrams illustrating where a player is known to go with the volleyball.
"There is nowhere to hide anymore and there are no secrets," Wade said. "When we start a match, our weakest passer is getting served every single ball. They know, especially as the season goes along and we have 20 matches of the team passing volleyballs. They take the stats and they use them. They look at it and say, 'Well, who's the weakest passer on the team?' Then when we put six kids on the court, they can say, 'That's the weakest passer, serve the ball at her.'"
'The camera doesn't blink'
Learning about limitations is useful as well, and Kramer can use what she finds to put together rotations or to hide players. At the worst, the statistics are a good way to get the team's attention.
"When we put real numbers down there for them to take a good look at, it gives us some real knowledge about the team and about the opponent and we can figure out what we have to do with it," Kramer said. "It's an open book and it's up to you to do with it what you want. It shows them what they're actually doing."
It's great for games, but it's just as valuable in practice - and practice is where the Mountaineers get really industrious. Inspired by her time as an assistant at Alabama with a similar setup, Kramer has a primitive, but effective way to record practice and learn from it in the moment.
A mobile cart carries a modest flat-screen television with a small camera attached to the top. That camera records practice and a cable runs to a Tivo digital video recorder, which operates on a brief delay.
"The camera doesn't blink," Wade said.
When something happens in a practice, be it good or bad, players can stop to review it.
"It's such a great coaching tool and teaching tool," Kramer said. "There are so many things we tell them that maybe don't resonate, but when you can go right over and see yourself do something, that puts another layer on that. We see them improve, I think, at a much faster rate."
Kramer said lessons learned in the moment are more beneficial to the player and the team than the ones learned hours later. The team might review the tape after practice. A coach might email a player an edited clip from practice - complete with the coach's thoughts dubbed over the video - for reinforcement before bed.
"I really think they get more out of it this way," Kramer said. "They make more improvements during a practice and they're doing it quicker. They're not waiting until the next practice."
Others benefit from sights instead of sounds. Elzbieta Klein is an outside hitter from Poland. Kramer said that sometimes Klein responds to critiques and compliments with head nods - and sometimes they don't fit the situation.
"You can show her what's going on you can tell there are times when she looks at the video and goes, 'Oh, wow,'" Kramer said. "Sometimes seeing is believing."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.