Blocking In Volleyball

Learn How To Block In Volleyball

blocking in volleyballBlocking

Blocking in volleyball is the first opportunity the players on your team

have to stop the opposing team from spiking, bumping or tipping the

ball successfully into your court.

Okay, so why Is the block in volleyball important?

Here's why!

Once your team serves the ball over the net, you guys are now "on

defense" while the other team is "on offense."

Now that you're one of the six players on the defensive team the

purpose of blocking in volleyball is to stop the other team's

spikers from hitting the ball over the net into your court. 

If your three front row hitters, who are now called "blockers" in

volleyball since your team is on defense, can't stop the opposing

team's hitters then it's up to your three back row players to dig the hard hit

or the tip up so that your team can replay it and send it back over the net

in an attempt to earn a point and to win the right to serve the ball.

The terms for blocking in volleyball discussed below provide an

explanation for the more advanced skills and technique used

by players to position themselves in the front court in order to

perform a successful block.

Some additional terms deal with how players can take away a

significant amount of area along the net with their hands without

blocking the hitter, so that they force the hitter to direct their spike right to

their teammates waiting to dig the hard hit in defense behind them.

Blocking in Volleyball: What is the one-on-one block?

Simply put, one blocker goes up against one hitter in an attempt

to block them.

blocking in volleyball: one blocker vs one hitter  (photo Michael Johnston)Blocking in volleyball: one blocker vs one hitter (photo Michael Johnston)

The one-on-one volleyball block occurs when one hitter from the

team on offense has to hit a ball against one blocker on defense

from an opposing team.

Usually in this situation the advantage goes to the hitter because

one blocker can only take away so much of the net to keep her

from hitting the ball.

It's much easier for a hitter to hit around, by or past one blocker than it

is to get the ball by two blockers.

When Does The One-On-One Block Occur?

The most common situation where one-on-one volleyball blocking

occurs the most is in the middle where one middle blocker tries to

block the quick sets attacked by the opposing middle hitter. 

Since the sets for the middle hitter in volleyball are low and fast, many

times only the opposing team's middle blocker has time to block

them because the outside blockers have too many steps to take

to try and help out.

Now in a different scenario if its a two against one situation where there

are two blockers trying to stop one hitter, then the advantage to

the hitter is greatly reduced because two blockers in volleyball

take away much more space at the net.

A double block is another name for this type of situation when

two players are blocking in volleyball against one hitter.

This is the most common scenario for blocking in volleyball because

in a match many more balls are set to the outside hitters who

usually find themselves being blocked by the opposing team's middle

blocker and on of their outside blockers. 

What's a swing block in volleyball?

The traditional ready position for players to block a volleyball is to start

in front of their hitter with their entire body facing the net.

Their hands and open palms are at shoulder level facing the

hitter, ready to move laterally with a side step or a cross over

step that they use to travel along their side of the volleyball net.

blocking in volleyball: Cal Bears Watching Hitters In Ready Blocking Position (Photo Avinash Kunnath)

With the swing block, in order to move laterally along the net to get

positioned in front of the hitter, the blocker turns their body

perpendicular to the net, facing the direction they intend to

travel with their hands positioned below the net down by their


As they move to the outside to block, they will square their shoulders

and upper torso to the net, "swinging" their arms and hands up

which helps them gain momentum to reach up and over to penetrate

the plane of the net to block the hitter.

Read more about swing blocking in high school.

What's a triple block?

A triple block in volleyball refers to a three player block formed when

both of the outside blockers join the middle blocker to jump

simultaneously with the intention of preventing one of the opposing

team's spikers from hitting the ball into their court.

It's formed when both outside blockers come to the middle to

block a ball in unison with the middle blocker or when the middle

blocker and one of the two outside blockers travel along the net to join

the remaining outside blocker in order to create a triple block against a

hitter during a rally.

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