Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Five Ways to Improve Your Blocking Technique

As a volleyball player, mastering your blocking technique is crucial for success on the court. In this article, we will explore five strategies shared by top coaches and athletes to help you enhance your blocking skills. Whether you’re a middle blocker or playing on the left or right side, these tips will help you become a more effective defender at the net.

Look at the Setter’s Hands

John Speraw, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach and UCLA men’s head coach, suggests that instead of watching the release of the ball, focus on the setter’s hands. By looking directly at the hands, you can read the play much faster. Teach yourself to pay attention to the setter’s hand positioning, as it can provide valuable clues about where the ball is going.

Notice Body Position

According to Speraw, it’s important to observe the setter’s body position. Different setters have different tendencies when it comes to facing certain directions while setting. By noticing their shoulder angles and how they position their bodies in relation to the net, you can anticipate where the ball is likely to go. This knowledge will give you a competitive advantage in blocking.

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Use Your Feet

Christa Dietzen, 2012 Olympic silver medalist and captain of the U.S. 2014 FIVB World Championship gold medal team, emphasizes the importance of using your feet in blocking. Proper foot positioning before you jump is key to a successful block. When jumping, ensure your weight is on the inside edge of your left foot and the outside edge of your right foot if you’re moving to your left. This foot angling enables you to go straight up and over the net, preventing any unnecessary drifting.

Get Over the Net

Mark Barnard, Oregon State women’s head coach, advises players to prioritize being over the net rather than high above it. Many blockers make the mistake of reaching straight up, which limits their ability to defend the entire court. Instead, sacrifice a little height and focus on getting over the plane of the net. This position allows you to block with your hands, providing more control, and protects a larger area of the court.

Read and React

Jamie Morrison, Netherlands Women’s National Team head coach and former U.S. Women’s National Team assistant coach, emphasizes the importance of reading the game and reacting accordingly. Train your eyes to focus on the right cues and not simply guess where the hitter intends to hit the ball. By reading the game correctly and moving efficiently to the right spot, you can position your hands across the net and maintain a strong defensive presence.

Adapt to the Situation

David Fischer, University of North Carolina-Wilmington associate indoor/head sand coach and AVP Tour professional, highlights the importance of adaptability in blocking. While practicing, you typically have the luxury of using both hands to block. However, in real game situations, you may need to adjust and only go for a one-handed block. Similarly, when the attacker is positioned far outside the antenna, penetrating too far may result in an easy tool for the hitter. In such cases, it’s better to adjust your strategy and avoid excessive penetration.

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By incorporating these tips into your training and gameplay, you will undoubtedly see improvements in your blocking technique. Remember to focus on the setter’s hands, observe body position, utilize your feet effectively, get over the net, read the game, and adapt to different situations. Developing a strong blocking game will make you an invaluable asset to your team on the volleyball court.

FAQs

Q: What is the most important aspect of blocking in volleyball?
A: The most important aspect of blocking in volleyball is getting your hands across the net where the hitter intends to hit the ball and leaving them there for as long as possible. This requires reading the game, moving efficiently, and positioning yourself accurately.

Q: How can I improve my footwork for blocking?
A: To improve your footwork for blocking, focus on proper positioning before you jump. Angle your feet like a hockey player, with the weight on the inside edge of your left foot and the outside edge of your right foot if you’re moving to your left. This will help you go straight up and over the net without drifting.

Q: Should I prioritize height or getting over the net when blocking?
A: It’s better to prioritize getting over the net rather than being high above it. By sacrificing a little height, you can get farther over the plane of the net, blocking with your hands for more control. Additionally, getting over the net allows you to protect a larger area of the court.

Q: How can I become a better blocker in game situations?
A: To become a better blocker in game situations, focus on reading the game and reacting accordingly. Train your eyes to look for the right cues and avoid guessing. By positioning your hands correctly and adapting to different situations, you can elevate your blocking skills.

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Q: What should I do when I can only get one hand over the net?
A: In situations where you can only get one hand over the net, make the most of it. While it’s ideal to have both hands up, one hand is better than none. Focus on timing your block and using your one hand effectively to disrupt the opponent’s attack.