In volleyball, the middle blocker is the position that gives the sport its title as the tallest in the world.
For reasons we’ll discuss shortly on How Tall Are Middle Blockers In Volleyball, height is extremely important in this position.
In the Olympic men’s middle blocker competition, the average height is 206 cm (6’9″). In women’s Olympic volleyball, a middle blocker usually stands 6’2″ tall or 189 cm.
The importance of height in this position is something that I understand from my own experience as a former international-level middle blocker.
You can get a better feel for whether the middle blocker position is even worth pursuing by looking at the averages for various levels of the game.
What is a Middle Blocker in Volleyball?
The first thing we need to understand about middle blockers in volleyball is what they are. The middle blocker is positioned close to the centerline at the net.
The primary responsibility of a goalkeeper is to block the opponent’s attacks so that he cannot score. As well as contributing to the team’s offense by performing quick attacks, they also contribute to the defense.
You may enjoy reading How Many Sets Are in a Volleyball Game?
What is the Average Height of a Middle Blocker?
There is a lot of variation here depending on whether we are talking about college or professional volleyball. In addition to the actual numbers, it’s interesting to see how they correlate with other court positions.
What is the average height of a middle blocker in the Olympics?
There is a gradual increase in the height of middle blockers at the highest level of the game.
A middle blocker in men’s volleyball who is playing at the Olympic level usually stands at 206 cm or 6’9″ tall.
According to the height data from the top 4 Olympic teams in 2012, the following is the average height of the teams.
In addition, I measured the tallest five players on the rosters of six different teams and found that they were all 207 cm tall on average.
Given that some of these players would be opposites at the 2012 Olympics and no Asian teams were in the final four, it is reasonable to assume an Olympic middle blocker would be around 207cm or 6’9.5′′.
What is the average height of a middle blocker in College Volleyball?
According to the NCSA website, here are the average heights for men’s college volleyball middle blockers.
Height ranges for men’s college middle blockers
|Height||6’7″ – 7′(201cm – 213cm)||6’4″ – 6’8″(193cm – 203cm)||6’3″ – 6’6″(191cm – 198cm)||6’3″ – 6’9″(191cm – 206cm)|
The average heights of women’s college volleyball players are listed below.
Height ranges for women’s college middle blockers
Average Height Of A Middle Blocker Vs Other Positions
There are almost always instances in which the middle blocker is the tallest player on the court.
Sometimes you’ll see an opposite hitter who’s freakishly big and a little taller, but it’s not so common.
Teenager middles can be shorter
In my Teenager, I had a much bigger setter and opposite hitter Playing volleyball professionally than I did as a middle blocker.
As the middle blocker, I was sometimes shorter than our outside hitter during rotations…
When we’re talking junior/young volleyball, this often happens, but when we’re talking senior volleyball, it simply doesn’t happen.
Due to its difficulty in acquiring, skill and coordination (i.e. being able to play the position well) are much harder to obtain than just sheer size.
In junior teams, players that will help them win games are often selected over kids who can barely control their own bodies, like a 6’5″ middle.
There are fewer of these at the senior level since everyone is very skilled.
The 2012 Olympics gave us some really cool information about height based on position.
The data indicate that middle blockers were on average just one centimeter (0.4 inches) taller than opposites and around four centimeters taller than setters/outside hitters.
Middle blockers aren’t usually taller than other players – they’re often about the same height as their opponents.
Combined, these two players should dominate the competition!
It’s common to see somewhat undersized middle blockers switch positions to the opposite – they might not be tall enough to play middle, but just right for the opposite.
You may enjoy reading What Is An Ace in Volleyball?
Factors Affecting Height
Several factors can influence the height of middle blockers:
In determining one’s height, genetics plays a significant role. A tall parent is more likely to have a tall child, giving them a natural advantage as middle blockers.
In order to maximize height potential, proper nutrition is crucial during key growth phases. In order to support their physical development, middle-blockers often follow a balanced diet.
In order to increase an athlete’s height and overall performance, specific training regimens can be implemented, such as exercises that improve jumping ability.
You may enjoy reading When is volleyball season?
How Important is Height For A Middle Blocker?
I promise you that you do not want to end up being a slightly-too-short middle blocker!
The shortest player in the front row often played the center position for Australia as a youth athlete. I was told by the coaching staff at the end of our Iran tour that I would never make the senior national team as a 196cm middle. There is just no way to do it.
My entire career had been spent as a middle blocker because I was one of the tallest players on most teams.
There are a lot of really good players at the highest level of the game, as well as taller players. It’s always recommended to young players who aspire to play professionally one day to stay away from middle blockers unless they’re freakishly tall or think they’ll be one day.
Your height won’t limit you if you focus on outside hitters or opposite hitters rather than becoming a giant.
Do I need to be a certain height to play middle blocker?
It is recommended that you be at least 6’8″ (203cm) tall if you want to become a successful male middle-blocker. A 203cm middle blocker would be an undersized player today unless you are exceptionally skilled.
It won’t matter how athletic you are or how high you can jump if you’re shorter than that. Unless you have freakishly long arms, you’ll have a tough time.
Tallness Is Critical For Block Speed
This is due to blocking speed. 210cm guys standing at the net with their hands high, ready to block, can easily block the opposition’s middle from there.
Basically, it’s a toe jump. To make the same block, you would need to move your body 10cm further up into the air (probably further since your arms will likely be shorter).
That’s something you can’t compensate for with jumping ability because it’s about how fast you can get your fingertips high enough to block fast attacks. Basically, anyone shorter than 6’8′′ will be an opposite hitter or passer hitter – and they best be able to jump!
It’s realistic to expect a woman to be at least 6’1″. For the same reasons I mentioned above, you need to be 6’1″ to play D1 volleyball or be considered for a professional contract.
As a 6’0″ women’s middle, I would try to switch positions as soon as possible if I wasn’t quite there.
You may enjoy reading How Long Is A Volleyball Game?
When You Aren’t Tall Enough, What Should You Do?
In the middle blocker position, you cannot make up for lack of height with exceptional skills and jumping ability like you can at the outside hitter or setter positions.
This is because, as I explained above, setting blocks quickly requires that length.
Change positions to succeed!
In this case, changing positions is the best thing to do if you cannot reach 6’8″ as a male or 6’1″ as a female volleyballer.
It is best to act as soon as possible.
It’s especially difficult when you’re a 6’6″ guy or gal and you’re expected to play middle position by your high school, club, and college teams due to your tall stature.
As an outside hitter or opposite, or even a setter, you may be better placed if you refuse to play middle blocker to gain more experience.
As a 19-year-old 6’6″ outside hitter, I would rather be a poor passer and a terrible attacker than a gun middle blocker.
Having 6’6″ makes it impossible for me to become an elite middle-blocker.
You may enjoy reading What is a Kill in Volleyball
Tips for Aspiring Middle Blockers
If you aspire to become a middle blocker, consider the following tips:
Focus on Technique
Developing proper blocking and attacking techniques is fundamental to excelling in this position.
Enhance Jumping Ability
Improving vertical jump height will give you an edge in both blocking and attacking.
Anticipate the Opponent’s Moves
Reading the opponent’s plays and movements can help you position yourself better for successful blocks.
Do middle blockers have to be tall?
Middle blockers are almost always the tallest players on the court. In rare cases, there will be an opposite hitter who is slightly taller than you, but it isn’t very common.
Can a short person be a middle blocker?
Blockers who are taller can’t jump, while those who are shorter can. As a result, the shorter middle blocker probably has better mechanics for attacking the ball and is more coordinated.
Do middle blockers play back row?
Unlike back-row players, middle hitters attack and block from the center of the front row. Besides being one of the team’s best blockers, this player hits the fastest tempo sets and is a strong hitter.
What is the ideal age to start training as a middle blocker?
When growth spurts occur during early adolescence, middle-blocker skills should be developed.
Are there any female middle blockers with exceptional heights?
Yes, several female middle blockers have reached heights over 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm).
How can middle blockers improve their blocking techniques?
It is possible to improve blocking techniques by working with experienced coaches and studying video footage of top-level middle blockers.
Is middle blocker and libero the same?
Usually, middle blockers block fast-tempo sets behind the setter or from the middle of the court. When the libero rotates to the back row, he or she typically plays the middle position.
Why don’t middle blockers serve?
Yes, the middle blocker can serve. Since middles tend to be tall, they are often less effective on defense than smaller players, so they are frequently substituted for the libero or another player once they move to the back row. It makes sense to let the blocker serve if she has a tough serve.
Middle blockers have a tough job. A top middle blocker who is 210cm tall makes it even tougher if you are undersized.
The middle blocker position can be played by anyone, whether in high school, on a club team, or for fun…
There are, however, very few people who are ever able to play middle blocker at the professional or international level.
Women must be at least 186cm and men must be at least 203cm to be considered for this position.
You can’t compete as an undersized middle solely based on vertical jump height and talent since you won’t be able to move your hands quickly enough to block.
We are therefore unable to play middle blocker more than just recreationally as a result of this.
Thankfully, we humans have plenty of other positions to try our hand at!