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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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