Two Volleyball Blocking Strategies: The Stuff Block and Read Blocking

There are two volleyball blocking strategies players use in defense to stop hitters from spiking the ball across the net, one is read blocking and one is the stuff block.  


What's a stuff block? 

A stuff block is a volleyball block that was so efficiently performed that it didn't allow the hitter enough time to really finish his or her full hit to the ball so that it crosses the plane of the net... so the ball when its blocked stays on the hitter's side of the net.

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 opposing court to hit to.


Don't miss this volleyball blocking clinic that the BYU women's volleyball team puts on in one of their matches which ends in a stuff block and a point for BYU.


Volleyball Blocking Strategies:
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 the read how their assigned hitter is going to contact the ball.

The blocker's job now is to follow that player no matter where she is and to block her based on what she thinks she sees the hitter doing.



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.

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.


Volleyball Blocking Strategies: Read Blocking Volleyball Technique
The Importance of Keeping Your Eyes Open When You Block So You Can Read The Hitter


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.


Volleyball Blocking Strategies: Iowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net Photo by Matt Van WinkleVolleyball Blocking Strategies: Iowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net Photo by Matt Van Winkle


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 she needs to angle her blocking hands and arms so that she can block her.


Volleyball Blocking Strategies
What does “BSBH” Mean?




What does “BSBH” mean?

it means Ball- Setter-Ball-Hitter and is one of the volleyball blocking strategies used by players to block a ball.

As a defensive player at the net, which is what a blocker is, you will block a ball by

* watching the ball while the opposing team's passer passes it to their setter

* then you'll watch the setter to see where she sets the ball from, how fast she sets it, and who she intends to set the ball to

* once the setter sets the ball you'll watch the ball, tracking the set as it leaves the setters hands and travels to the hitter

* finally you'll watch the hitter to quickly determine where her spike approach is taking her to meet the ball and see where her arm is swinging so you pick up clues on where she intends to spike the ball

This eye sequence pattern is called “BSBH” or Ball - Setter- Ball - Hitter.

Its what both, the diggers. in the back row and blockers in the front row do or better yet 'how they watch the offense' in order to try and be in the right place at the right time in order to stop a ball at the net..or keep the ball from hitting their court floor.


Do You Follow Me on Instagram?


Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!

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. 


Volleyball Blocking Strategies: 
Where Do You Go From Here?


We know where you need to go now! Here are three options: 

  1. Learn more about Blocking by clicking one of the links in the Related Links below. 
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the How to Play Volleyball section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started. 

You might like the volleyball technique and terms on these pages




  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Private Volleyball Coach April Chapple
  2.  ›
  3. Volleyball Plays Why A Setters Sets Vary In Speed, Height And Location
  4. Two Volleyball Blocking Strategies: The Stuff Block and Read Blocking

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