Volleyball Block Tips:
What To Watch When Blocking The Ball or The Hitter?

Learn crucial volleyball block tips when blocking, 
like what do you watch, the ball or the hitter?

Volleyball Block Tips:  What To Watch When Blocking The Ball or The Hitter?Volleyball Block Tips: What To Watch When Blocking The Ball or The Hitter?

When blocking do you watch the ball or do you watch the hitter?

When blocking in volleyball its always important to watch the

hitter or hitters that you are going to block in order to pick up

important clues that will help you stop the attack at the net.

Volleyball Block Tips: "BSBH" - Ball Setter Ball Hitter

Ball - Setter - Ball - Hitter

Ball - Setter - Ball - Hitter is the pattern of movement a blocker's

eyes (also the back row defense but we will get back to that

later) follow when in the front row, after their team's server has

served the ball over the net. 

This is where your eyes should be looking...to get clues as to who and

where the team on offense intends to give the ball to, for their third

contact, an attack hit that will send the ball back into your court. 

Your job as a blocker is to stop that ball at the net. 

Here's how. 

The Ball

Once your server serves the ball over the net to start the rally,

you first want to track with your eyes the BALL that's being passed.

  • Why? 
  • What are you looking for? 
  • What are you trying to quickly evaluate about the pass? 
  • What information do you need to quickly get that will help you make a good volleyball block action?

If its a perfect pass that goes right to the setter then you know the

setter doesn't have to move off the net to go chase a bad pass. 

Okay so as a blocker that will tell you right away the setter is in a

position to use ALL of her possible hitters to run an offense. 

If three hitters are in the front row then she has three players she can

set to. 

If there are two hitters in the front row then she can easily set those two

hitters or try to dump or attack the ball herself. 

If the pass was a bad pass that forces the setter to move off the net

and chase the ball down...now as a blocker you say to yourself

"Self, the setter is in trouble and can't make a perfect set to all of

her possible front row hitters! Because of where and how she is

chasing the ball down, WHO is the most likely hitter or hitters can she set

or give the ball to..in this situation?"

"By the way, good job, Self!"

Volleyball Block Tips: The Setter

The Setter

Once you've quickly made a determination on the pass, now your eyes

go to the Setter.

If it was a perfect pass, now you watch the setter's body language, hand

position or in some cases a setter's eyes may tell you who she intends to

set because she looks at her hitter before she sets. 

Some setters will show with their setting body position, that they

intend to make a back set because they arch their back alot

when then do, but when making a front set or a set to the

middle, they don't. 

These are the types of clues you are trying to read and interpret as a

volleyball block detective! 

If it was a bad pass you do the same thing.

But because you've identified that the setter is in trouble and can't easily

deliver a perfect set to all her possible hitters, you look to pick up clues

from her body language. 

Is she running off the court or to her back court with her back to her

hitters? If that's the case, she will probably not even be able to set the ball

but bump it up in the air. 

The Ball

Once we've glanced or watched the setter to get some information

about what she is about to do, now we watch the ball she just


  • Where's the set going? 
  • Is it a high ball or a faster set?
  • Is the ball going to the hitter in front of me or to the middle or to the other hitter in front of my teammate on the other side of my middle blocker?

The Hitter

Once I quickly determine where the ball is going will determine where I

move and what I do next. 

Once you see that your  hitter, the hitter in front of you is getting the

ball and you quickly note what type of set they are going to get--by

looking at the type of ball the opposing setter has set to your hitter,

you now want your eyes to focus on your hitter.

When blocking a ball, if your hitter looks like she is going to try

and wipe the ball off your arms or hands, then you’ll be able to see

her prepare for that.

If you’re an outside blocker you’ll be able to angle your arms 

towards the middle of the court so that if she tries to wipe the ball off

of your block, the ball will be deflected back into the court making her

efforts useless.

In the photo below watch how the blocker wearing the #5 jersey has

both her arms angled towards the middle of the opposing team's

court as she is at the height of her volleyball block.

If the hitter hits towards her arms the ball will be deflected back into

the court and not out of bounds.

Point!...for the blockers.

"As a blocker you want your blocking arms

angled toward the direction you want the

ball to go once you've blocked it. "

Now you've found out a sure way increase the number of

volleyball blocks you can successfully perform in a match.

But if you’re watching the ball you won’t be able to see if your hitter

intends to wipe the block, will you?

You won't be able to see if the hitter intends to hit down the line or to

hit the ball cross court either.

If it looks like she is going to tip the ball then you can decide to

stay at the net and attempt to block the tip or you may decide to

take an area of the court away at the net and rely on your team’s

defense to dig the tip up around you when you are in the middle of your

volleyball block jump.

If the hitter you are trying to block gets an inside set, then by watching

the hitter you can see how and where she is going to move to try and

save that ball, either with a spike approach or with an emergency set

of  steps.

"As a blocker can you see why you need to

watch or to track your hitter, once you know

where the ball has been set?"

Volleyball block: A Closed Volleyball Block By Iowa State Photo by Matt Van WinkleA Closed Volleyball Block By Iowa State Photo by Matt Van Winkle

When you see what the hitter is doing you can anticipate where the

hitter is going to hit and that makes you a more efficient at blocking a


The Volleyball Girl Guide: Where Do You Go From Here?

Where do you need to go now? Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about the How To Serve A Volleyball Overhand
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page                    Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Girl Guide section in the drop down menu at the top of the page 

Volleyball Player Picture Gallery of
Blockers In Action

Do You Have Great Pictures of Volleyball Players Blocking?

I know you've taken the perfect shot of a college volleyball block, that no one has seen yet!

Well now they can...

If you have a fantastic picture of a volleyball player or volleyball players, male or female, blocking during a Division I collegiate game then we'd love to see examples of your work.

Did you get the perfect shot of a stuff block?.. a triple block? Or even your awesome photo of the perfect joust at the net between opposing players belongs in this gallery of volleyball pictures.

Please share your frozen moment of great blocking action whether you are an ace photographer for real or in your own mind, we encourage you to share examples of your best work with our readers. It's easy!

Be brave! Step up and show us what you have...the more creative you are, the better.

Our readers will love to provide their feedback on your volleyball blocking photography, please allow them to share in the beauty of your work.

You can submit up to four images of your best blocking action captured in a photo. When you submit more than one image, each image will appear as a thumbnail image in the submission that you submit. Each thumbnail will be clickable to show it as a larger image.

We reserve the right not to publish work that is inappropriate for our readers and that does not contain any collegiate volleyball blocking action.

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