The Middle Blocker In Volleyball

Strategies for the middle blocker position

Middle blocker vs Middle HitterMiddle blocker vs Middle Hitter

The middle blocker in volleyball....what rules or strategies do you need

to remember to be effective in stopping the opponent's attack at the


One important strategy you as a front row player on defense

should remember is to commit to only taking one area of the court away

when you are blocking an opponent.

As a middle blocker in volleyball you need to learn to read the

opposing team's hitter in front of you for clues as to how she intends

to attack the ball.

Its important to keep your eyes on the hitter, her arm, which will give you

early indications as to whether she will hit the ball and in which

direction she plans to do it, either down the

line or cross court.

As a blocker in the front row, your job is to be efficient and disciplined

enough to only take ONE of these directions away.

Only one.

Arkansas State Blocker in Volleyball Closes Down The Line Against Air Force Attacker Photo by Michael E. JohnstonArkansas State Blocker in Volleyball Closes Down The Line Against Air Force Attacker Photo by Michael E. Johnston

In the above picture of the Arkansas blocker volleyball, it looks like

the blocking strategy was to take away the line area from the

hitter  in the blue jersey wearing no. 2 which they did


Notice that had the hitter decided to hit the ball cross court,

the red team's libero who can be seen wearing the white jersey  was

clearly ready to do her job which was to dig any of that

hitter's cross court angle hits had she chosen to do so.

Middle Blocker in Volleyball: Strategies 

When a team makes a decision like this it usually isn't a random choice

that just happens.

It's a part of a team's defensive plan, which includes the volleyball

blocking strategies they choose to follow.

Blocking strategies are usually chosen by the head coach

and are practiced in volleyball blocking and team defensive drills the

week leading up to a match.

Scouting Reports for the Blocker in Volleyball

The team defensive strategies that your coach decides to have

your team use will depend on the scouting report he or she has

which explains what the opposing hitters tendencies are. 

The team studies a scouting report together usually in meetings

while the players watch video of the opposing team's offense and


They watch video and take notes and develop an understanding with

guidance from their coach about what the opposing team does in

certain circumstances, what their tendencies are, what their weak points

are and what their blocking strategies are.

The scouting report will usually answer some of these types of questions.

  • What type of back set does the setter like to give her right side player?
  • Will our team block the right side player to stop her attack or will they block her strategically which means will they take away a certain area of the court forcing the left handed spiker to hit at an angle that isn't in her comfort zone and will be alot easier for your defensive players to dig up?
  • Does the setter like to dump the ball? If so when does she like to do it? Does she dump the ball during a rally or off of her passer's first serve receive pass?
  • Which hitters hit from the back row and what jersey numbers do they wear? What percentage of their attacks do they hit cross court from the back row and which down the line?
  • Which players like to serve short? Which players jump serve?

This is just a sample of some of the questions that need to be

answered so that a coach can establish which team blocking and

defensive strategies the team will implement in their next match.

Watch USA Oympic Middle Blocker
Foluke Akinradewo

Based on the scouting report the coach may assign you the middle

blocker to a particular hitter or will tell you when to block or not block

another opposing hitter.

The coach may tell your teammate to help you block a particular

opposing hitter when she's in the back row because she gets set in the

back row a lot. 

Whether you are on a team with a coach who decides the

defensive strategies or you are on a team where the players make the

choice, as a middle blocker in volleyball, its important for a decision

or a game plan to be formed, a strategy developed  so the front

row and the back row work together in defense and everybody

is on the same page about each other's responsibilities.  

Click here if you'd like to read more about read blocking. 

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