There are two primary areas on the court that you as an outside blocker need to focus on covering:
Outside hitters will attempt to either "hit the line" which is the area inside the court and parallel to the sideline they are hitting closest to.
If you are a right side hitter then the sideline closest to you on the opposing team's court is their Zone 4 sideline.
If you are a left side hitter then the sideline closest to you on the opposing team's court is their Zone 2 sideline.
Or outside hitters will attempt to "hit cross court" which is when a hitter hits towards the sideline (or the endline) furthest away from them and inside the court.
If you are a right side hitter then the sideline furthest from you on the opposing team's court is their Zone 2 sideline.
If you are a left side hitter then the sideline furthest from you on the opposing team's court is their Zone 4 sideline.
By watching the hitter you pick up important skill cues for blocking ....these cues you get after reading and interpreting what set the hitter is getting ..and then by watching the hitter's body language ... and determining where they plan to hit the ball...cross court or down the line.
When blocking a ball, if your hitter looks like she is going to hit down the line or try and wipe the ball off your arms or hands, then you’ll be able to see her prepare for that.
If you’re an outside blocker you’ll be able to adjust your arm and hand positioning above the net so that if she tries to wipe the ball off of your block while hitting the line, the ball will be deflected back into the court.
In the photo below watch how the blocker wearing the #5 jersey has both her arms angled towards the middle of the opposing team's court as she is at the height of her block jump.
If the hitter hits towards her arms the ball will be deflected back into the court and not out of bounds.
But if you’re watching the ball you won’t be able to see if your hitter intends to wipe the block, will you?
You won't be able to see if the hitter intends to hit down the line or to hit the ball cross court either.
If it looks like she is going to tip the ball then you can decide to stay at the net and attempt to block the tip or you may decide to take an area of the court away at the net and rely on your team’s defense to dig the tip up around you when you are in the middle of your volleyball block jump.
If the hitter you are trying to block gets an inside set, then by watching the hitter you can see how and where she is going to move to try and save that ball, either with a spike approach or with an emergency set of steps.
When you watch what the hitter is doing you can anticipate where the hitter is going to hit and that alone helps you improve your defensive skills in volleyball while you are in the front court.
Be sure to take one or two of these volleyball block tips and work on them in your practice this week.
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