Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions To Improve Blocking Skills 

Learn blocking volleyball terms and definitions like how to "seal the net" and "read the hitter" two important blocking words for you to understand and know. 

Since the block is the first opportunity to stop the opposing team from hitting into your court, your blocking technique and timing have to be on point. 

These blocking volleyball terms and definitions describe blocking technique and form you need to have when you're about to move above the net. 

This blocking information will help you know what to do and where to be when you are on defense in the front row. 

Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: :
What Does The Term "Seal The Net" Mean and How Do You Do It When You Block?

When you "seal the net" it means that in the middle of your block, while you are jumping, you should keep your shoulders, chest, your underarms, upper body including your chest, abs and hips parallel to the net, all while keeping as little space as possible between you and the net...without touching it.

In these photos of college players blocking, the players are "sealing the net with their block" which can be seen well from this side view.

They are "closing down the space between their armpits and the net" in order to get as far over the net as possible to block the opposing team hitter. 

Can you see how little space there is between their blocking hands, arms and bodies and the net?

There's very little if any space.

Each player's armpits are as close to the net as possible without touching it. 

They have successfully done their job and even on the way down from their block jump they keep their arms and hands as close to the net as possible without touching it which prevents any chance of the ball slipping in between them and the net on their side.

Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: 
Why Is Blocking Technique Important?

Many hitters actually score points that they shouldn't.

Not because they are great hitters but because the blocker's hands and body positioning are too far away from the net when they jump to block.

Oftentimes hitters are successful because they are hitting the ball against blockers who jump straight up in the air, making the mistake of keeping their hands, arms and shoulders behind their ears when they are in the air.

So all the hitter has to do is hit the ball and aim it right at the hands of the blocker which allows the ball to come dribbling down in front of the player's body between the blocker and the net.

That's always an easy point or hideout for the hitter and its a sure sign that the opposing players need to work to improve a proper blocking finish with their hands and arms sealing off that space between them, their armpits and the net.

If the blocker had used better blocking technique by correctly "sealing the net" then while jumping up to block the ball, they would have kept their shoulders, hands and arms in front of their ears as they were jumping which would help close off all that space between the blocker's upper body and the net so a ball couldn't come through their hands and down the inside of the net.

This is a movement to focus on while working on your blocking drills in practice.

Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: 
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 her fully hit the ball on her 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 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.

Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions:
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.

Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: Iowa State hitter watches or reads the Texas Longhorns setter to see where she's going to set the ball. (Ralph Arvesen)Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: Iowa State hitter watches or reads the setter to see where she's going to set the ball. (Ralph Arvesen)

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.

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.

Blocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: Iowa Players Reading The Block And Sealing The Net Photo by Matt Van WinkleBlocking Volleyball Terms and Definitions: 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.

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 Terms: 
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 terms on these pages

Photo Credits and Licenses

  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
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  3. Volleyball Tips on Playing Better and Improving Your Basic Skills
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