photo by Luomen
The Block in Volleyball. The block is the first line of your team's defense when your squad has earned the right to serve the ball.
When your team is serving, your players are on defense, three in the front
court as blockers and three in the back court who's job it is to keep the
ball off the floor when it comes past the block.
Just so I'm clear, there are two ways to try and keep the other team from
scoring a point when your team is serving the ball.
The second way this happens is if the opposing team has successfully
hit the ball past your block and into your court.
This example is illustrated perfectly in the picture of the volleyball player
below who's digging a ball after the opposing hitter was successful in
How Do The Front Row Blockers And Back Row Defense Players
Basically if the front row players can't do their job successfully by
putting up a good block in volleyball then its the back row's player
responsibility to keep the ball off the floor.
Learning how and where to time your jump when you block in volleyball
is important because when the blockers are consistent with their
movements and placement in the front row, then the players in defense
behind them know exactly where they need to place themselves in the
In order to effectively do this, the front row blockers have to know
where to be when they have a hitter who hits in a particular direction,
let's say cross court.
They have to be disciplined enough to set up in the correct spot
consistently so that their back row players know what they are doing
and know where to set up behind them for each and every play and for
each and every possible scenario that the offensive team might try
That's why it's crucial for the block in volleyball to be done with good
technique against different hitters who spike different kinds of sets, at
different speeds, at different locations along the net.
This is what helps many top defensive teams win points.
Here are some volleyball blocking terms used to describe specific
technical aspects of this defensive skill.
When you "seal the net" it means that when you are in the middle of
your block, while you are jumping, you need to keep your
shoulders, chest, your underarms, upper body including your chest, abs
and hips parallel to the net, all while keeping as little space as possible
between you and the net...without touching it.
The photo above shows a great picture of volleyball
players sealing the net with their block which you can see very well
from this side view.
Can you see how little space there is between their blocking hands,
arms and bodies and the net?
There's very little. Each player's armpits are as close to the net as possible
without touching it.
They have successfully done their job and even on the way down from
their block jump they keep their arms and hands as close to the net
without touching it to prevent any chance of the ball slipping in
between them and the net on their side.
Many hitters score points that they shouldn't, not because they are
great hitters but because the blockers hands and body positioning were
too far away from the net when they jumped to block.
Oftentimes hitters are successful because they are hitting the ball
against blockers who jump straight up in the air, making the
mistake of keeping their hands, arms and shoulders behind their ears
when they are in the air.
photo by Luomen
So all the hitter has to do is hit the ball and aim it right at the hands of
the blocker which allows the ball to come dribbling down in front of the
player's body between the blocker and the net.
That's always an easy point for the hitter and its a sure sign that the
opposing players need to work to improve a proper volleyball blocking
finish with their hands and arms sealing off that space between them
and the net.
If the blocker had used better blocking technique by correctly "sealing
the net" then while jumping up to block the ball, they would have kept
their shoulders, hands and arms in front of their ears as they were
jumping which would close off all that space between the blocker's
hands and the net so a ball couldn't come through their hands and
down the inside of the net.
This is a movement to focus on while working on your volleyball
blocking drills in practice.
A stuff block describes a type of block in volleyball that was so
efficiently performed that it didn't allow the hitter enough time to really
hit the ball.
The blocker was able to penetrate their hands so far over the net that
they literally "stuffed" the ball back into the opposing team's court
leaving the hitter no court to hit to.
Read blocking occurs when a blocker has been assigned a particular
hitter to block and as the play develops they follow, or read where
their assigned hitter is going to attack the ball and their job is to follow
that player no matter where she is and to block her.
The read block in volleyball occurs most often in higher levels of
competition and in beach volleyball where a blocker will read the hitter
in an attempt to anticipate how to block them or to decide what area
of the court they will take away from that hitter.
The other blocking volleyball system that leaves less decision-making to
the player and more to the coach is where the coach determines what
area of the court all the blockers will cover or take away, instead of
which include deciding whether his/her team will block
cross court against the opposing team or if only some of the coach's
players will be responsible for sticking to this game plan that was
established off the court or before the game.
As a blocker it takes a combination of timing, anticipation, and quick
reflexes to be able to read the hitter's body language and then position
yourself in the right spot at the right time to stop a hitter by blocking
you can't see until its too late where the hitter intends to hit the ball.
reading her hitter to see where she goes and where her hitting arm is
angled so that she can get clues as to how to block her.
Discover more volleyball blocker information below.
The Volleyball Voice
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