Blockers Volleyball Terms Used In Defense

Important blockers volleyball terminology

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photo by Luomen

Blockers volleyball terms used to describe specific technical aspects of this defensive skill.

Blockers Volleyball Terms: What does "seal the net" mean?

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.

Blockers volleyball: Rice Blockers Sealing The Net (Photo Michael E. Johnston)Rice Volleyball Blockers Sealing The Net Photo by Michael E. Johnston

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. 

Blockers volleyballFront Row Blockers

Click here for more pictures of players blocking in volleyball.

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.

Blockers Volleyball Terms: Why Is The Technique Important?

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.

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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.

Blockers Volleyball Terms: What's a stuff block?

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.

Blockers Volleyball Terms: What is "read" blocking?

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.

Blockers volleyball: Illinois State Redbirds Blockers Calling Out  Opposing Team's Hitters Before The Serve  Photo by Bill ShanerIllinois State Redbirds Blockers Calling Out Opposing Team's Hitters Before The Serve Photo by Bill Shaner

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 the player.

It's usually the coach that will decide volleyball blocking

strategies 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.

Especially in NCAA competition it takes time and plenty of drills

and reps for college volleyball players to become good at

reading the block in volleyball.

Blockers volleyball: Iowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net (Photo Matt Van Winkle)Iowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net Photo by Matt Van Winkle

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 them.

Keeping your eyes open while you are block jumping is another

secret to good read blocking because if you watch the ball for too l

ong then  you can't see until its too late where the hitter intends to hit the


Above, in the picture of Iowa volleyball players blocking, no. 17

has her eyes open throughout the whole blocking process

watching and 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.

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