Blocking a volleyball isn’t a specific skill that is taught by most coaches, but a few key tips can really help you improve your game.
A poor blocker is not going to hurt the team as much as needing other skills to play good volleyball, but concentrating on your stance and improving your footwork can improve your blocking game.
A block is simply when a player jumps up at the net and blocks a hit from coming onto your side of the net. Timing is the most important factor. Shorter players can block tall players at the net if the timing is right.
Set Your Stance
Blocking looks easy. It’s just standing at the net and jumping up to block the ball. Not true, according to volleyball coach Jonny Neeley who is based in Salt Lake City.
“Standing and being ready is the most important part of blocking,” Neeley says. “You always need to be ready to react.”
Set up your stance and always be ready. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the net.
Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder length apart. Bend your knees, keep your elbows out with alms facing the net at about eye level, and be ready to move left and right.
When you jump, you want to jump straight up and down and not drift side to side.
Block the ball with one hand, not two. Bend your wrists slightly back to prevent your fingers from getting jammed.
Remember to keep your fingers stiff and wide as possible to cover as much space as you can. Knowing that your opponent is going to hit the ball hard, watch the opponents shoulders to try to figure out where they are aiming.
Practice Your Footwork
The best blockers also have some decent footwork. You can’t be looking down at your feet while you are playing, so it’s important to master simple steps of moving a side step or doing a crossover step without tripping.
The Side Step is used if the opponent hitter is within three to five feet of you. Use a step to the side to put yourself in position to be in front of the hitter.
Take one step and the bring the other foot over like a side shuffle so they are once again shoulder-width apart, but don’t cross over your feet. Keep your hips and shoulders facing the net.
Use the Side Step for blocks that are close and require one or two steps. If it needs more, then use a Crossover Step.
The Crossover Step covers more ground faster, and it’s a step then cross over with one foot and then a step again.
Take a big side step with the leg closest to the hitter you want to block. Then cross your other leg in front of your body while still keeping your shoulders square to the net, and angle your hips toward the hitter.
Plant your feet in front of the hitter and then jump straight up to block the ball.
Remember that no part of a player’s body can touch the net, either when jumping or landing. Your feet also have to stay on your side of the center line.
“Volleyball is a great team sport and you can quickly get started once you know the basics,” coach Neeley says. “Enjoy learning the fundamentals of volleyball from a volleyball coach and practice the volleyball basics.
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