The Volleyball Block

A Volleyball Player's Guide To Blocking a Ball

NCAA Big 10 Girls Volleyball - Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers, 2012-11-02

photo by nraupach

The volleyball block is the squad's first line of defense against an

opposing team’s outside hitters or any attack hits by their

players in the middle blocker position.

The block in volleyball is one of the most dynamic and most exciting

parts of this crazy game we love to play.

At the beginning of a rally, after the whistle blows and your team serves

the ball into the opposing team's court, every front row player

on your team should be focused on keeping your opponent from

spiking the ball down onto your court's floor.

Once the ball hits the floor, or hits a blockers hands and goes out of

bounds, that's a point for the opposing team, and you don't

want that to happen.

Knowing how to put up an effective volleyball block will keep the

opposing team from scoring points from their front row while they are on


At the beginning of a rally, if your team is on defense, after the referee

blows their whistle and your team serves the ball into the other

team's court, the players in zone 2, zone 3 and zone 4 on your side

should be laser focused on keeping your opponent from spiking

the ball across the net.

In order to do that the front row players need to start by checking their

upper and lower body blocking ready position so that they can be as

efficient and as fast as they can while moving laterally, which

means from side-to-side along the net before jumping to block a

volleyball their opponent is trying to hit.

As a volleyball blocker, you want to be able to position yourself in a way

that you can present a barrier by using your arms and hands to deflect

any hit or spike attempts from an opposing team's spiker back into their


So you are in fact trying to make yourself into a human wall, if you

will, and that wall should prevent an outside hitter or middle

hitter or back row attacker from the team on the other side of the

net from hitting the ball onto your side of the court.

This is just another way that I like to define the volleyball block.

As always when I talk about or coach volleyball skills to players, I like to

start at the bottom, with what you're supposed to do with your feet.

What should your feet be doing and where should they be positioned?

You want to start in a balanced position with your feet so that they are

parallel to each other.

They should be perpendicular to the net so that you can

maintain a balanced position that will allow you to move quickly to your

right, to your left or backwards off the net to get back in defense or to

transition so you can begin your spike approach if necessary.

You want to be in a position to be able to move laterally along the net

quickly, which means your knees should be in a slight squat.

The ideal position for your lower body is to have your hips, midsection

and upper body “squared to the net.”

When you hear the phrase squared to the net, it means that your

body is completely parallel to the net. When all parts of your

body are facing the net then your body is squared up to the net.

Timing The Volleyball Block Jump

Speaking of timing, during your block, you want to wait

until, just before the opposing player spikes the ball, then you jump.

As you jump, you want to extend your hands, arms and shoulders over

the net or if you can’t reach over, then as high as possible in order to

grab the ball.

If you haven’t been instructed by your coach to just take an

area of the court away with your volleyball block, then your

goal is to literally try to catch the ball before it passes over the


Keep your hands spread and your fingers wide apart in order to catch or

"block" the ball.

Volleyball block: The Infamous Penn State Volleyball Blockers  Photo by Penn State NewsThe Infamous Penn State Volleyball Blockers Photo by Penn State News

Once you block the ball, your widespread fingers and straight arms

which are backed by your solid rigid wrists should just deflect the ball

back into the middle of your opponents court.

Let me repeat. 

Imagine that you are making a wall with your hands and arms

that you will use to redirect the ball back into the middle of your

opponent’s court.

That’s the best way to think about how you should be blocking a


How To Play Volleyball: Where Do You Go From Here?

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  4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to Mr G.B Blash, the Bear, wearing the #11 jersey below. "G.B" aka "Great Big" is the starting middle blocker for the All Beast VolleyBragSwag All Star team.  

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