You Don't Know These Blocker Terms Used in Volleyball? Change That Now

These six terms used in volleyball blocking practice are words and volleyball jargon coaches use to describe blocking technique used to stop an attack hit. 


The volleyball block is the first line of defense for the serving team where the front row blockers attempt to stop any attack hits by the hitters on the opposing team. 

These six basic blocking terms used in volleyball

  • closing the block
  • penetration over the net
  • screen
  • seam
  • off side blocker
  • double block

explain various blocking techniques blockers need to know to perform the act of blocking at the net while on defense in the front row. 



Blocker Terms Used in Volleyball 
"Closing the block"


Closing the block occurs when two players while jumping to block an attack hit at the net, successfully close off any holes, or seams or spaces that are created between them when blocking. 

If they do this successfully, (like the blockers in the photo) then the hitter they are blocking, can't hit the ball between their hands or at the seam.



The hitter is now forced to

in an attempt to score a point or win a side out.


Blocker Terms Used in Volleyball 
"Penetrating the Net"


Penetration refers to the act of a player penetrating or reaching with their hands and arms far over the plane of the net at the highest point of her block jump in her attempt to stop the ball from crossing the net into her team's court. 



She does this by placing her arms and hands as far over the net as possible at the highest height of her block jump so that she can stop the ball on the opponent's side of the net after they've attacked the ball.

The photo shows the Texas player #1 "roofing" the opposing hitter by penetrating the plane of the net by stretching her arms as far over the net as possible at the highest height of her jump, which results, as you can see, in the ball staying on the hitter's side of the court in other words, successfully blocking the hitter.




Blocker Terms Used in Volleyball 
"The Screen"


screen is when one, two or three players on defense at the net,  intentionally or unintentionally, stand so close to each other that one or more of the opposing team players in serve receive  can't see the server or the ball in the server's hands.

A screen is illegal according to basic volleyball rules. 



The blockers of a team on defense cannot form a "wall" or a screen with their bodies that prevents the passer or passers on the opposing team from seeing the server serve the ball.

In beach volleyball doubles, if one player obscures the view of the server before the start of the rally, the opposing team can stop the play and insist that the blocker re-position themselves so both receivers have a clear view of the server.


Blocker Terms Used in Volleyball 
"The Seam"


The seam is the space that separates two players when they go up to perform their blocking action.

The photo below shows a fantastic example of a smart hitter #9 spikinthe ball through the seam of the block.



The seam was created because the middle blocker #7 didn't drop her left shoulder  to place her left hand close enough to the right hand of her left side teammate.

The hitter exploited the seam in the block by aiming the ball right for that hole which is difficult for the back row defense to pick up and play if they don't have a libero or defensive player in place to specifically dig balls that have been hit through the seam.


Basic Terms Used in Volleyball  Blocking 

The 3 front row players on the server's side block a player by forming a wall with their ahnds/arms.


Remember that when a team is serving, that team's three front row players at the net are on defense and they are responsible for blocking the opponent's attempt of attacking the ball back into their court once they have served the ball over the net.

Once the ball is served, the three front row players on the server's side work together in an attempt to block a player by forming a wall with their hands, and arms  (and for some who jump high their shoulders) that will extend over and penetrate the plane above the net in order to stop the opposing team's hitter from spiking the ball into the defensive team's court.



Terms Used in Volleyball  Blocking 
"Offside Blocker"


The offside blocker can be defined as the player who is front row during an opposing hitter's attack, but is not actively participating in the blocking action, because they are on the side that's furthest away from the ball.



When there are three blockers at the net, the offside blocker is the player who side steps off the net approximately two to three steps to straddle the ten foot line to play defense, because the opposing team's setter decided not to give the ball to the hitter in front of the offside blocker. 

In the picture above, the players in the yellow jerseys are on defense.

The player wearing  #2 is jumping to block, along with #8 in the middle blocker volleyball position who is moving to her right to help or assist her teammate (the player wearing the #2 jersey), block the ball attacked by the opposing hitter on the other side of the net.

In this play, #4 the left side player in zone 4 is the offside blocker and she is preparing to do her job which is to either dig up any tip that lands behind the block of her two front row teammates or to dig a sharp cross court hit that lands on or near the ten foot line in front of her.

Terms Used in Volleyball  Blocking 
"Double Block"


double block is one of those terms used in volleyball that describes what happens when two players form a wall with their hands and arms raised above their head, to penetrate the plane of the net in an effort to stop and opposing team's attack hit. 

In unison they cover a pre-determined area, either cross court or down the line,  in an attempt to keep an opposing hitter from hitting the ball into their court or to force the hitter to attack to a specific area of the court. 

Terms Used in Volleyball
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Read more about terms used in volleyball on these pages. 



  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
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  3. How To Play Volleyball So That You Improve And Make Your Varsity Team
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  5. What's This Volleyball Word? Basic Terms, Slang and Volleyball Lingo
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  7. Blocker Terms Used in Volleyball Blocking Skills Practice Players Know


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