When you block in volleyball just what should you do with your hands?
A lot of players and high school coaches have difficulty deciding where the hands need to be while moving along the net to block a ball.
I've seen volleyball coaches teach players to keep their arms fully extended above their heads while moving along the net.
This is really too bad because keeping your arms fully extended above your head while trying to run laterally can actually slow a blocker down.
More often than not, I've seen volleyball players of all ages drop their hands and arms way below the level of the net before block jumping in an effort to gain a couple more inches to their jump.
a) usually slows down your block jump timing because it takes time to go down before coming back up
b) increases your risk of touching the net when your arms are swinging up in front of you and
c) actually puts more distance between you and the net because of the extra space needed to swing your arms up in front of you, so you are actually trying to block the ball from farther away from the net which wastes a lot of your vertical jump.
So, what's the solution?
"Tiger Hands", "Bear Hands" whatever you want to call it but a front row blocker should keep their "bear paws" also called their blocking hands at shoulder height.
More precisely, when you're learning how to block a volleyball you want to keep your hands six to ten inches in front of you with your palms facing the net, your fingers should be widespread, and you want to keep your wrists straight and rigid not bent or limp.
When you get in your loaded position with knees slightly bent ready to move left or right you need to hold your hands at the bear paw position just above your shoulders until you are ready to actually block jump.
As you jump to block the ball, you need to fully extend your arms over the net as quickly as you can, reaching OVER
the volleyball net, without touching it, when you come out of your loaded ready position to block jump.
You are literally trying to get your armpits over the net!
The lower body positioning you should maintain as you are in your blocking ready position at the net is pretty much the same position you maintain when you do squats during your weight lifting workout in a gym with a bar on your shoulders.
The difference is that a blocker needs to keep their hands inside their body line right in front of their shoulders.
In the weight room your body is already used to doing this movement over and over again.
Legs aren't locked straight, but knees are at a very slight bent ready to run, jump or turn in either direction..quickly!
We call this a "loaded" position. An athletic position that allows you to be ready quickly, to spring into action.
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I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.
Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.
If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list.
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