Volleyball: Height & Position of the Hands When Blocking
All this Height is Wasted When Blocking: The Ball Can Easily Travel Between or Around the Arms
All this Height is Wasted When Blocking: The Ball Can Easily Travel Between or Around the Arms

Volleyball: Height & Position
of the Hands When Blocking

Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

    The position of the hands relative to each other and to the net are vital elements in making an effective block.
Height of the |Hands & Position Over the Net   
    Many beginning volleyball players make  the mistake of jumping too high when attempting to block shots. (If you're teaching children who are only three feet tall, this obviously won't be an issue).
    In fact, 95% of opponents' shots will travel just over the ribbon, so the best position for blocking is with the palms slightly over the top of the net. Any higher and the hands will be above optimal blocking height. This means your students only have to get their hands less than eight feet into the air in order to make an effective block.
    When blocking, players should attempt to penetrate as far as

Better Hand Position: Hands Just Above Net-Height and Penetrating to the Opposite Side of the Net
Better Hand Position: Hands Just Above Net-Height and Penetrating to the Opposite Side of the Net
possible over the net (without touching the net with the arms) while keeping the hands just above net-height.

Hand Orientation & Width
    When blocking, the hands should be tilted so the thumbs rotate upward towards the ceiling. This widens the area that the hands can cover and also improves the strength of the fingers. 
    Often, the hands are rotated so the thumbs point down. However, this puts the tops of the fingers in a weak position - a lot of hard-hit balls will be able to push the fingers backwards and fly through the block.
    Also, and this is another common error, the hands should not be held close together. Instead, they should be shoulder-width apart — at about the width of the head. This expands the blocking area.
   

Incorrect Hand Position: Thumbs Down and Fingers Pointing Upward. Also, Hands Too Close Together
Incorrect Hand Position: Thumbs Down and Fingers Pointing Upward. Also, Hands Too Close Together
Finally,  the hands should not move forward on contact. They should simply  maintain a strong position and allow the ball to bounce back to the opponent's side of the net.

References:
1. Bond Shymansky, “Gettin' Better! 40 Tips for Outside Hitting and Blocking.”
Championship Productions, DVD, 2006.
http://www.championshipproductions.com
2. Coaching Cue for Sealing the Net, PE Update.com
3. Blocking: Arm Position Tip, PE Update.com
4. Blocking - Keep the Head Down, PE Update.com

All photographs courtesy of Championship Productions.com

Better Hand Position: Thumbs Up and Hands About the Width of the Head Apart
Better Hand Position: Thumbs Up and Hands About the Width of the Head Apart


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