Middle blocking: 10 keys to success

Micah Drews


In the 2000s, Heather Bown became one of the world’s top middle blockers because of the knowledge she shared with her viewers.

As soon as she started playing international volleyball in 2000, Bown became a star. Three Olympics and more than a decade later, she still holds that starting position.

It was her expertise that made Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) so valuable. The former Stanford All-American was fueled by Bown’s trade secrets during practices and matches years ago. She was named World Grand Prix MVP in 2010 shortly after joining the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Middle blocking: 10 keys to success

Middle blocking

You can also become a better middle blocker by following Heather’s tips:

As a middle blocker, the first thing he should do is get in a good ready position with his knees bent and both feet equally balanced. As well as being ready to move and loaded. There are times when inexperienced middles are too straight in their posture. It’s easier to move explosively when you stay in a lower, more athletic position.

Position yourself between two feet and a foot and a half from the net. Reach straight out with your hands until your fingers touch the net while keeping your elbows bent (as if holding a tray). As you go through drills and matches, you can fine-tune this. In addition, you’ll be more likely to be netting if you feel too close to the net. A big distance between you and the net presents two problems if you’re too far from it:

When attempting to block, the ball is more likely to fall on your side of the net;

It makes it more difficult to penetrate over the net. It is important to remember that pressing over the net takes away more court space, so the hitter will have a harder time getting the ball past you.

Compared to international levels, junior teams are less likely to scout the other team as much. In spite of this, middle blockers need to take note of how their team blocks for each rotation. To help you answer these questions, here are three key points:

Is the setter in the front row or the back row? Do you think she is an active attacker if she is in the front row?

Who are the front-row hitters?

In whatever rotation the other team is in, who is the go-to hitter? There may be a superstar player on the other team who gets most of the sets during certain rotations or at crucial moments in a match. You need to know who that player is so you’re prepared)

Keep an eye on the pass. You can tell a lot about how the play will proceed by looking at the location of the ball after the pass. In a tight pass, for example, you need to pay attention for a setter dump as the foe’s setter is in the front row. It is almost certain that the setter won’t run the middle if the pass is off the net. Prepare yourself for overpasses as well.

You may enjoy reading What is a Defensive Specialist in Volleyball?

Go ahead and hit the ball if it is just a few feet over the net. You should probably pass if it is farther away than a few feet. Wait until the setter is in the front row if the ball is really tight. Interfering with the setter will be called by the ref.

Here is the traditional footwork that middle blockers use to move laterally in either direction once they are in the ready position, loaded and ready to move:

The lead leg takes a big step in the direction of the set, followed by a crossover step and a hop near the end. The first step should be a driving step, where one foot pushes off and the other glides in the air. The explosive step allows you to be more dynamic and cover more ground, just like a bounding step, but it’s sideways as opposed to forward.

A blocking technique that is similar to the traditional blocking footwork used for women’s volleyball is called swing blocking. You may see boys using this technique more than girls. Both blocking styles start in the same position. Swing-blocking differs from other blocking techniques in that the first step is a directional step, followed by a larger dynamic step to a close step. As you turn adjacent to the net, you perform all of these actions. It’s easiest to explain as turning, running, and closing.

When taking these steps, don’t stand straight up. Too much uprightness reduces your leg’s driving power. From the middle of the court to the pin, you can move more quickly and more efficiently if you stay in a half-squat position (also known as a loaded position).

Remember: Reaching high above the net isn’t as important as getting over it once you’ve closed to your outside blocker. Several setters who get over the net have been successful in blocking much taller hitters. Generally, most players hit the ball just a few inches over the tape when going for a terminating kill, so pushing over the net into that zone is likely to be successful.

By placing your hands on the other side of the net, you will be able to create a wall. Lock your shoulders and jump as straight as you can over the net in one fluid motion. Simply sitting and shrugging one shoulder up will give you this sensation. Put the opposite hand on your shoulder when you are relaxed and push it down. When it’s shrugged up, try it again.

How does it feel to be different? In order to block effectively, you want the feeling of a “locked shrug”. Hands should be tilted about 45 degrees from the wrist, with space between thumbs and pointing fingers in line with shoulders. It is important to have strong and firm hands without being too rigid. Never slap the ball after it has been hit. It is important to remember that you have built a wall. Solid walls don’t slap or move, and they’re still.

You may enjoy reading How to Play Rebound Volleyball?

Your back-row players need to be communicated with. You will be better prepared to block a ball if you can communicate with those behind you. So ask them what’s happening at the net. They can see it better than you.

Blockers are part of the defense, but they are also part of the offense. Teamwork is key. The simple act of communicating will improve both your confidence and theirs. It is even possible to remind each other about the tendencies of a hitter at more advanced levels. Middle blockers might inform the back-row players that they will block the attacker’s weaker shot since she’ll take away the attacker’s strongest shot.

Blocking with independent hands becomes more important as you become more advanced. In this sense, you don’t have to move your hands at the same time. A seam shot can be taken away with one hand while an angle shot can be taken with the other. Middles usually go straight up and over, but sometimes you can dodge that cross-court hit by dropping that inside hand.

You can practice this by standing on a box with a coach or teammate and hitting the balls across the court. Set your inside hand about 30 degrees away, just far enough so it’s in the angle but not too far so you can’t reach it. Having a strong shoulder is still important. You should use one hand to cut off cross-court shots by reaching out and being strong and firm.

Show respect to opposing hitters when you “house” them. Be polite and don’t be obnoxious. You shouldn’t be screaming in the opponent’s face when celebrating, but there’s nothing wrong with celebrating. You might enjoy the moment more if you give acknowledgement to your outside blocker, then turn your attention to your teammates, who did an excellent job setting up the block location.

As a result, your team will be fired up, and you’ll be able to show emotion. No extra motivation is given to the opponent by it.

you may enjoy reading Outdoor Volleyball Court Cost

About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

Leave a Comment