How Do You Block In Volleyball?

How Do You Block In Volleyball

In volleyball, blocking is an important defensive action that happens when one of three front row players jump and extend their arms vertically over the net to block an opponent's hitter. Like any skill in the sport, blocking takes a specific technique and practice to master. Keep reading to learn how to block in volleyball.

How to Block in Volleyball

Below are the basic steps for blocking in volleyball:

  1. Position yourself facing the net.
  2. Keep your feet at shoulder width.
  3. Bend your knees as you prepare to block.
  4. Jump upward and elevate your arms straight over your head.
  5. Keep your palms facing the net as you jump.
  6. Maintain a half-arm distance from the net at all times.
  7. Lower your arms as you descend, without touching the net.

If done correctly, a proper block should occur as the ball is about to be struck. Timing is very important in blocking, such that the player will reach the highest point of their jump as the ball is crossing the net. This will ensure that the ball strikes the player’s raised arms and rebounds backwards over the net.

Keys to Blocking in Volleyball

The following aspects of blocking are vital to executing a block correctly, and thus require a bit more detail and training to perfect. They are:

  • Positioning
  • The Approach
  • The Block


Blockers must first start from a stable starting position. The knees should be bent with the player's weight balanced between both feet. This way, the player is able to move either direction quickly when they need to. By having the knees bent, players can more easily move position; sometimes players can get caught standing up too much, and they can’t move to the ball fast enough.

Blockers also have to be aware of how close they are to the net. A blocker should start around a foot-and-a-half to two feet away from the net to avoid being too close or too far away in their block. Players can measure this distance by placing their elbows at their sides and reaching out forward. Their fingers should barely reach the net. The goal for this distance is that the blocker's arms can still reach over the net, or penetrate it, while avoiding actually touching the net (a violation) and losing the point.

While getting positioned, the blocker must watch the players on the other side of the net. By watching both the ball and the players, the blocker can tell where the ball is going, and where they will have to direct their approach in order to block. If they are not watching close enough, their approach will be delayed, and they could miss the block.

The Approach

For blockers who must move in order to get to the ball, there is a typical step pattern to follow. They first take a big step with their lead leg in the direction of the ball and then take a crossover step and a small hop step to line themselves back up with the net. They can also perform a swing block, in which they use their arms to build momentum into their block. In the swing block, the first step is small, and the second is big, opposite to a regular block.

Blockers want to line themselves up not only in front of the ball, but also alongside their other blockers. This way, there is no gap or seam between the blockers. Blockers must also be careful not to get too close to each other, as they may land on one another when they land after jumping. When a blocker has too much sideways momentum in their jump that they bump into another player, this is called drifting. In order to prevent this, players must make sure they jump up after moving over, instead of jumping while they move. 

The Block

In the block, players reach their arms above the net in order to line up with the hitter and the ball. Taller players may be able to reach higher over the net, but shorter players can be just as effective as long as they are able to get hands above the net and in the right position.

When reaching arms over the net, or pressing, blockers lock their shoulders and create a wall with their hands and arms. Hands should be shoulder width apart and angled forward at a 45-degree angle from the wrist. The goal is not to smack the ball back, but to be a wall for it to bounce off of.

Blockers must also be aware of the angle at which they are facing the ball. If their arms are facing away from the middle of the court, they may block the ball out of bounds, or the hitter may be able to hit it off of them and out of bounds on their own side. This is called tooling.


How is blocking used in volleyball

In volleyball, blocking is used to prevent an opponent from scoring by preventing the ball from crossing the net. Blocking is performed by a blocker, and the technique deflects an attack shot back into the opponents’ court.

What are some keys to blocking in volleyball?

Some keys to blocking in volleyball include positioning, stationary arms, timing the approach and executing the block. It is also important to look upward and maintain distance from the net as the block is performed.