What Are the Different Types of Blocking in Volleyball?

Micah Drews


Take some time to become familiar with all the terms, positions, and plays in volleyball if you’re new to it or looking to improve your knowledge. You must have a good understanding of blocking whether you play volleyball recreationally or competitively.

What Are the Different Types of Blocking in Volleyball?

What Are the Different Types of Blocking in Volleyball

Volleyball blocks are divided into three types based on the number of players: single blocks, double blocks, and triple blocks. Different types of blocking are based on technique: blocking line, blocking cross-court, soft blocking, and swing blocking.

How Does A Blocker Work?

Blocking refers to deflecting the ball delivered by your opponent’s attack. Essentially, a blocker’s job is to return the ball to their team’s court. It’s similar to playing goalie in soccer or hockey, you’re trying to keep the ball out by guarding your zone!

It takes strategy and speed to block effectively in volleyball. This article will teach you about the different types of blocks, the different blocking positions, and terms that are related to blocking. 

Blocking will only be done by front row players. In the rotation, players on the back row cannot touch the ball above the net height, so blocking is impossible. Your goal when blocking is to intercept the ball before it crosses the net onto your side.

You want to deflect the ball back onto the opponent’s side of the court when you block. Creating a wall or space so your backcourt defense can judge where the ball won’t be hit is your best option if it’s not possible. Double or triple blocking and forming a wall become much more effective when you work together with your teammates.

Block types by number of players

What Are the Different Types of Blocking in Volleyball

Single blocking

Blocking with a single block is not the most effective, but it allows the back row to dig or pass more easily and prevents a free kill. On a lot of plays, this might be the only way to block if your team is scattered and scrambling against tough competition. It may be necessary for you to divide if your opponent has multiple hitters on approach.

Double blocking

In order to deflect an attacked ball at the net, two blockers concentrate their attention on the opposition’s hitter.

 Whenever a player is closest to an attacker, they become the primary blocker. In order to create a wall, the teammate next to them must line up as closely as possible.

Triple blocking

Triple blocking is the most effective type as it allows more hands to deflect the ball. This triple block is created by the three players in the front row jumping together in unison. Whenever you’re facing a dominant hitter, shutting him down becomes the goal. Your back row will have a much easier time defending the ball if you are able to mount a solid wall.

The middle blocker will need to be your primary blocker, so it usually happens near the middle of the net. Outside hitters will line up and close the gaps on both sides.

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Alternative blocking strategies can catch opposition hitters off guard

What Are the Different Types of Blocking in Volleyball

As part of the blocking role, blocking techniques and strategies must be unpredictable to surprise the opposition’s hitters. When you face strong hitters and a blocking defense that fails, you should have a few of these perfected and “in reserve.” Below are some alternative volleyball blocking strategies to consider:

Strategy of soft blocking

In soft blocking, the ball is blocked just enough to keep it in play. If the blockers are short or if the big hitter keeps hitting the volleyball over you, it’s very effective.
Soft blocking involves reaching high and backward as you block the ball. By deflecting the ball upwards, your teammates will be able to play the ball. 

It is important to keep in mind that soft blocking is not an official block and may be your volleyball team’s first contact with the ball. The ball can only be touched by your team two more times before it is sent over the net.

Strategy of Split Blocking

If the volleyball is consistently hit around the block sharply by the hitter, you may want to disarm. Split blocking is a great way to surprise an opponent. 

Split blocking isn’t something that happens spontaneously without any planning ahead. In order to succeed, you and your teammates will need to strategize ahead of time. Outside or Strong Side Blockers take line hits while Middle Blockers take angle hits in this type of blocking.

Swing Blocking

Multiple concepts are covered by the term swing blocking:

In swing blocking, you move forward across the net horizontally, plant your inside foot, twist your step, swing your arm upwards to generate more thrust, and lunge your arm toward the ball while swinging your arm. It’s a modified jumping technique. 

Swing blocking also refers to the middle moving to either side to assist the outside blocker. As mentioned above in #1, they swing to whichever side needs help on that particular play.

It requires better body control than a standard block, but with the right players, you may be able to penetrate your opponent’s airspace consistently.

Strategy of Solo Blocking

When you are the only player blocking, that is a solo block. You will have to decide whether you are blocking line or angle when you are blocking alone. An angle shot aims towards the center of the court, whereas a line shot is aimed down the sideline.

You are shutting down one of their options by choosing one or the other. In most cases, you’ll be able to guess correctly, and you’ll be able to make a great block. Your defense can still pick it up with a nice dig even when you misjudge them and guess wrong.

Blocking back-row attacks is also primarily done by solo blocking. In most cases, you can solo block when you see the opposing setter putting it up for their back row, while your teammates can cover wide and prepare for the attack.

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Volleyball Blocking Positions and Terms

What Are the Different Types of Blocking in Volleyball

In volleyball, there are many terms and concepts related to blocking. Positions, strategies, statistics, and concepts are described by these terms.

Weak Side Blocker

It is called a Weak Side Blocker when the blocker plays on the left side of the court. This blocker should deflect or block any attacks played on the left side of the court. 

Middle Blocker

A Middle Blocker covers the middle space of the net. Essentially, the blocker must protect the net nearly the entire length of the court. It is important for middle blockers to be quick on their feet since they are often the tallest players on the court.

Strong Side Blocker

Strong Side Blockers protect the right side of the court while Weak Side Blockers protect the left. Our strongest and most effective blocker needs to be on our right-hand side against the strongest hitters on most teams’ left sides.

Offside Blocker

The blocker can be on either side of the net, depending on where the opponent attacks. If there is no attack on a side, that side becomes the “offside.” As an offside blocker, your duties are to backup your teammates covering tips or transition early to make a quick attack.

Block Assist

Any player who combines for a block will receive a block assist statistic. Teaming up with another player (or two) and blocking the ball together earns you a “block assist”. Collective blocks are sometimes called this as well.

Sealing or Closing The Block

The primary blocker is always present when a block is being made. In this case, it would be whoever is responsible for covering this part of the internet. To form a wall, anyone who can assist the main blocker needs to close the gap.

To prevent the ball from slipping through your fingers, seal the block. If you let that ball between you and your teammates, your back row defenders won’t be prepared to make a good pass.

Stuff Block

The feeling of making a stuff block as a defender is incredibly satisfying! Your opponent hits that ball just as hard as you do, so you can deflect it back at them. You can get a stuff block whether you bounce it off their face, body, or floor.

Tip or Dink

Tip shots are when an attacker uses a “touch” shot to place the ball somewhere you may not expect or be able to defend. During beach volleyball, the attacker would use their knuckles rather than an open hand, known as a dink.

It can be very hard to defend these because you’re used to blocking a fast ball, but they might just barely tap it to the side or just above your hands. In order to pick up information as early as possible if the attacker decides to tip rather than spike, advanced blockers keep their eye on the attacker’s hitting arm throughout their approach.


A joust occurs when two players hit the ball simultaneously from opposite sides of the net. Most times, whoever has the most momentum ends up being able to force the ball to go their way.

Be intentional about pushing the ball with your fingers and wrists as soon as you realize this is about to happen. When you push in a particular direction, your opponent will usually stretch to touch the ball.

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A few tips for blockers:

Keep your eyes on the net and be alert at all times.

Face the net with your palms facing it at shoulder height, elbows bent, hands in front of your face, but not blocking your vision.

Don’t jump with the setter if she jump sets; watch her body to see where she is sending the ball and prepare to block.

Pay attention to which hitter the ball is set for.

You need to improve your ability to read other people. A good understanding of your opponent’s hitters will make defense much easier. 

Your hands should be in the air at all times. Whenever you jump, pinch your shoulders in, then make your hands bigger by pressing your thumbs up. In order to prevent gaps for the ball to pass through, spread your fingers out to cover a wide space.

Be careful not to touch the net when reaching your hands over it.

Be careful not to send the ball off the court or into your side of the court by connecting with it. Any time the ball is blocked out of bounds, you lose the point. The ball will bounce off your hands and into the opposing team’s court if you angle your hands to face the middle of their court (this will take practice).

Make sure you know exactly where the ball is at all times of play once you have connected with the ball (and even if you haven’t). If you don’t know where the ball is, you can’t block it.

If you are blocking the outsides of the court, line up with the hitter’s arm when you are blocking the outsides. The majority of the court is being defended against the cross-court (or angle) attack. As a result, your libero or defensive specialist can more easily defend the line, which is a specific narrow lane.

Jump only after the opponent’s attacker jumps. When you jump before or even at the same time, you’ll be too early, and you’ll come down just as the ball crosses the net. You must be ready and quick to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Be sure to jump in unison with your teammates when forming a double or triple block. It’s imperative!

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Blocking Caution

When you’re blocking, you have to play by the rules, even when you want to be aggressive. It is against the rules to impede your opponent’s ability to hit you with an attack. This means you cannot block the ball before it is struck by the hitter.

It sounds crazy when you hear it for the first time, but it’s true. According to the rules, you are only allowed to use your block to defend. You should be called for interference by the referee if you reach over and block the ball before your opponent’s hitter can strike it.

Blocking Styles and Strategies

Different blocking styles and positions dominate volleyball, so practice and strategic planning are essential. Besides protecting the team from attacks, blocking can also be used to throw off the opposing team and manipulate where the ball is hit.

Take advantage of the above tips and strategies to improve your volleyball skills.


How often should I practice blocking drills to see improvement?

The key to success is consistent practice. To see noticeable improvement in your blocking skills, schedule three to four sessions per week.

Is there an ideal height for effective blocking in volleyball?

Despite height being an advantage, technique and timing are equally important. With the right training and strategy, shorter players can excel.

What is the most challenging type of blocking to master?

The unconventional nature of joust blocking makes it a challenging skill. The process requires a unique combination of skills and strategic thinking.

Can blocking be effective against a skilled setter in volleyball?

Yes, definitely. It is possible to disrupt the setter’s rhythm and limit their options with effective blocking, which in turn impacts the opponent’s offensive strategy as a whole.

Are there specific mental exercises to improve focus during blocking?

It is possible to improve focus and concentration during blocking by using visualization exercises and mindfulness techniques.


As a result, mastering the different types of blocking in volleyball requires dedication, practice, and a thorough understanding of the sport. Blockers with a broad range of skills can make a significant difference in a match, whether they use traditional techniques or advanced strategies.

Keep in mind that blocking plays a pivotal role in shaping a volleyball game’s narrative as you refine your blocking skills.

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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.

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