Volleyball Blocking Tips So
You Can Block Like A Star

Volleyball Block Instruction To Follow in Defense

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photo by Luomen

Here are a few volleyball blocking tips you should use to improve your defensive skills at the net. 

Since the block is the first opportunity to stop the opposing team from hitting into your court, your blocking technique and timing have to be  on point. 

Volleyball Blocking Tips: How Do You  "Seal The Net" When You Block?

When you "seal the net" it means that in the middle of your block, while you are jumping, you should keep your shoulders, chest, your underarms, upper body including your chest, abs and hips parallel to the net, all while keeping as little space as possible between you and the net...without touching it.

The photo above shows players sealing the net with their block which can be seen well from this side view.

Can you see how little space there is between their blocking hands, arms and bodies and the net? There's very little. Each player's armpits are as close to the net as possible without touching it. 

Click here for more pictures of players blocking in volleyball.

They have successfully done their job and even on the way down from their block jump they keep their arms and hands as close to the net without touching it which prevents any chance of the ball slipping in between them and the net on their side.

Volleyball Blocking Tips:  Why Is Technique Important?

Many hitters score points that they shouldn't, not because they are great hitters but because the blockers hands and body positioning were too far away from the net when they jumped to block.

Oftentimes hitters are successful because they are hitting the ball against blockers who jump straight up in the air, making the mistake of keeping their hands, arms and shoulders behind their ears when they are in the air.

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photo by Luomen


So all the hitter has to do is hit the ball and aim it right at the hands of the blocker which allows the ball to come dribbling down in front of the player's body between the blocker and the net.

That's always an easy point for the hitter and its a sure sign that the opposing players need to work to improve a proper volleyball blocking finish with their hands and arms sealing off that space between them and the net.

If the blocker had used better blocking technique by correctly "sealing the net" then while jumping up to block the ball, they would have kept their shoulders, hands and arms in front of their ears as they were jumping which would close off all that space between the blocker's hands and the net so a ball couldn't come through their hands and down the inside of the net.

This is a movement to focus on while working on your blocking drills in practice.

Volleyball Blocking Tips: What's a Stuff Block?

A stuff block describes a type of block in volleyball that was so efficiently performed that it didn't allow the hitter enough time to really hit the ball.

The blocker was able to penetrate their hands so far over the net that they literally "stuffed" the ball back into the opposing team's court leaving the hitter no court to hit to.

Volleyball Blocking Tips: What  is read blocking?

Read blocking occurs when a blocker has been assigned a particular hitter to block and as the play develops they follow, or read where their assigned hitter is going to attack the ball and their job is to follow that player no matter where she is and to block her.

Illinois State Redbirds Blockers Calling Out  Opposing Team's Hitters Before The Serve  Photo by Bill ShanerIllinois State Redbirds Blockers Calling Out Opposing Team's Hitters Before The Serve Photo by Bill Shaner

The read block in volleyball occurs most often in higher levels of competition and in beach volleyball where a blocker will read the hitter in an attempt to anticipate how to block them or to decide what area of the court they will take away from that hitter.

The other blocking volleyball system that leaves less decision-making to the player and more to the coach is where the coach determines what area of the court all the blockers will cover or take away, instead of the player.

Volleyball Blocking Tips: What Does The Coach Decide?

It's usually the coach that will decide blocking strategies which include deciding whether his/her team will block cross court against the opposing team or if only some of the coach's players will be responsible for sticking to this game plan that was established off the court or before the game.

Especially in NCAA competition it takes time and plenty of drills and reps for college volleyball players to become good at reading the block in volleyball.

Iowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net  Photo by Matt Van WinkleIowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net Photo by Matt Van Winkle

As a blocker it takes a combination of timing, anticipation, and quick reflexes to be able to read the hitter's body language and then position yourself  in the right spot at the right time to stop a hitter by blocking them.

Keeping your eyes open while you are block jumping is another secret to good read blocking because if you watch the ball for too long then you can't see until its too late where the hitter intends to hit the ball.

Above, in the picture of Iowa volleyball players blocking, no. 17 has her eyes open throughout the whole blocking process watching and reading her hitter to see where she goes and where her hitting arm is angled so that she can get clues as to how to block her.

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