There are three different types of footwork patterns for blocking in volleyball.
From easiest to hardest..
The hop step footwork is the quickest step to use and covers the shortest amount of distance along the net.
This is basically a short sideways jump done with one foot at a time. Often used by the middles so they can cover short distances quickly.
The shuffle step blocking footwork is the step work I prefer to use the most for middle blockers and outside hitters working to improve defensive skills in volleyball.
My players learn to shuffle step quickly by picking up the outside foot of the direction they are moving towards.
So if they need to move to the right, they learn to pick up their right foot first and then if they need to move to their left then they pick up their left foot first.
In my opinion the shuffle step, when practiced often can be as quick as the hop and is safer because it keeps you lower to the ground. (You are less likely to hop onto someone else's foot.)
Its also the step I have backcourt players use the most while digging in volleyball. I want front court and back court players to move the same way, see the same thing and react in a uniform way.
The swing step blocking footwork is what I teach our more advanced players and I teach what the USA Volleyball High Performance program teaches in that your first step is the cross over step...with no prep step..
When moving to the right..you cross over with the left and when moving to the left ..you cross over to the right.
When taking your cross over step your body is
The swing block is designed to give the blocker more elevation and helps you get your hands and arms further over the net while blocking a fast attack.
Timing this type of block is very important.
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 take an area of the court away with your volleyball block, then your goal is to literally try to stop the ball before it passes over the net.
Keep your hands spread and your fingers wide apart in order to cover as much area above the net away from the hitter. This is how you "block" the ball.
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 ball.
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