Volleyball: Keep the Head Down When Blocking

Dick Moss, Editor

A key to good blocking is an extension of the arms over the net. This increases the area of coverage and ensures that the blocked ball will not drop onto the blockers' side of the court.

If your blockers seem to have trouble extending over the net, or pull their arms back when the spiker contacts the ball, watch their head. They may be lifting it—and pulling the arms back as a consequence.

Why Lifting the Head is a Problem
Many blockers lift their head in an attempt to follow the ball as it arcs from the setter to the spiker. Others, when they see the spike flying towards their face,  pull their head back and up in a protective response.

Unfortunately, lifting the head often causes the arms to pull back—just what you don't want to happen.

Instruct your blockers to keep their head down and track the ball with their eyes only. In fact, if they watch the hitter, the ball will come into view with enough time to react.

And explain that pulling their head back when the ball is spiked only increases the chance that it will get past their hands and hit them on the noggin.

1. American Sport Education Program, Coaching Volleyball Technical & Tactical Skills, Human Kinetics, 2011.
2. Greg Giovanazzi, “Blocking at the collegiate level,” in the The Best of Coaching Volleyball, Book 2: The Advanced Elements of the Game, editor  Kinda S. Asher, Masters Press, 1996.

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