Glossary of Volleyball Terms For Blocking

Definitions For Words Used To Describe How To Play Defense at the Net

This glossary of volleyball terms for blocking is designed to help you

better understand how to defend your court at the net when your team is

on defense.

Glossary of Volleyball Terms For Blocking
What is "closing the block"?

Closing the block happens when two players in defense at the

net, successfully close off any holes, or seams or spaces that are

created between them when they jump to block the ball in unison.

If they do this successfully, (like number 12 and number 1 do in the

photo) then the hitter they are blocking, can't hit the ball between their

hands or at the seam.

The hitter is now forced to hit over the block, outside the

block, or try to wipe the ball off of the outside blocker's hands in an

attempt to score a point or win a side out.

Glossary of Terms For Blocking
What does "penetration over the net" mean?

Penetration refers to the act of a player penetrating or reaching with their

hands and arms far over the plane of the net at the highest point of her

block jump in her attempt to stop the ball from crossing the net into her

team's court. 

She does this by placing her arms and hands as far over the net as

possible at the highest height of her block jump so that she can stop the

ball on the opponent's side of the net after they've attacked the ball.



photo by Luomen


The photo shows the Stanford player #10 "roofing" the opposing hitter

by penetrating the plane of the net by stretching her arms as

far over the net as possible at the highest height of her jump, which

results, as you can see, in the ball staying on the hitter's side of the court

in other words, successfully blocking the hitter.

Glossary of Volleyball Terms For Blocking
What is a "screen"?



photo by Luomen


A screen is when one, two or three players on defense at the

net,  intentionally or unintentionally, stand so close to each other that

one or more of the opposing team players in serve receive  can't see the

server or the ball in the server's hands.

A screen is illegal according to basic volleyball rules.

The blockers of a team on defense cannot form a "wall" or a screen with

their bodies that prevents the passer or passers on the opposing team

from seeing the server serve the ball.

In beach volleyball doubles, if one player obscures the view of the

server before the start of the rally, the opposing team can

stop the play and insist that the blocker re-position themselves so both

receivers have a clear view of the server.

Glossary of Volleyball Terms
What is the "seam"?

The seam is the space that separates two players when they go up to

perform their blocking action.

The photo below shows a fantastic example of a smart hitter #9 spiking

the ball through the seam of the block.

The seam was created because the middle blocker #7 didn't drop her

left shoulder  to place her left hand close enough to the right hand

of her left side teammate.

The hitter exploited the seam in the block by aiming the ball right for that

hole which is difficult for the back row defense to pick up and play if they

don't have a libero or defensive player in place to specifically dig balls

that have been hit through the seam.

Here's a  list of terms, more terms for blocking found on

other pages:

college blocker

double block

middle blocker

offside blocker


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