I’m a professional volleyball player.

Well, not really. But when asked the question, “What would you do for a living if you could do anything?”, my answer is almost always, “Play volleyball.” It’s my favorite sport, but unfortunately, I got interested in it too late to be any good. Recently, watching videos of old NCAA games got me thinking: could I play NCAA volleyball? Am I tall enough?

Volleyball is obviously a sport where height matters — taller players have a higher reach, can get above the net more easily and more quickly, and have more options for hitting. I’m 6’1”, and wanted to know if I’m tall enough to play my position, outside hitter, at the NCAA level. Naturally, the first place I went to answer this question was google.

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Image from Google

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Images from NCSA Sports

After some digging, these were the most specific numbers I could find — and I wasn’t satisfied. 6’1 to 6’10.5? That’s a massive range, and none of these ranges tell me much about how I’ll actually measure up against outside hitters in the NCAA. It looks like I’d have to find the answer myself.

Data Collection

I started by getting a list of all D1 and D3 NCAA men’s volleyball team sites from the NCAA Directory. The links were only to the college’s general athletics site, so I had to transform the links to be specific to each college’s men’s volleyball roster. I scraped the player name, position, and height from each player on the rosters of all 156 teams using Selenium. I decided that one year’s worth of data wasn’t enough to be comprehensive, so I collected roster data going all the way back through the 2010–2011 season.

#python #volleyball #data-science #data-visualization

Does height REALLY matter?
1.40 GEEK