Volleyball Block

Volleyball Blocking

Blocking is one of the most crucial parts of defense in volleyball. Front row players are tasked with stopping the opposing teams attackers before the ball crosses the net. Let’s take a look at how blocking is used in volleyball.

What Is a Block in Volleyball?

A block in volleyball is any time a front row player reaches over the net to stop an opponent’s attack. While only front row players can block, they can block both front row and back row attacks from the opposing team. The goal of blocking is to prevent the ball from crossing the net or redirect the ball to make it easier to receive.

Purpose of Blocking in Volleyball

The main goal for blockers is to either stop or slow down the movement of the ball after it is hit by an opposing player. By placing themselves in the way of the ball, blockers can either return the ball to the other side of the net, redirect the ball to make it easier for passers or cause the hitter to make a mistake as they try to hit around.

Different teams will often have unique strategies depending on the height and skill of their players and of the opposite team. Often, a tall blocker will be matched up across the net from a tall hitter, allowing for a more even matchup between players.

There can also be combinations of blockers from a single blocker to all three front row players. This way, they can change strategies based on how many players are blocking. A three-person block is more intended to stop the ball from coming over the net, while a one person block can be better used to redirect the ball to passers on the players own side.

Blocking Rules

Volleyball Blocking Rules

There are a few rules that blockers must keep in mind as they go up to the net.

First, they are not allowed to touch the net. Referees are looking for any contact or movement of the net. In college and professional volleyball, coaches can protest a point or a call and the ref must look back at the play in slow motion to determine if the net has been touched or not.

Second, the blockers are not allowed to step over the line underneath the net. If their foot crosses the line, they are putting the other team in danger of stepping on it and falling or injuring themselves.

Blockers must also be aware of where the ball is on the other side of the court. If the ball is not on its way to their side of the net, blockers are not allowed to interfere with the ball. This way, the other team gets a fair opportunity to send the ball over the net without a tall player reaching over and interfering. All of these rules, if broken, mean a point goes to the other team, and the serve goes to them as well.

Blocking Statistic

Blocks are recorded in a volleyball stat sheet as either a block solo (BS) or block assist (BA). A block solo is recorded when only one player jumps up to attempt a block, while a block assist is when more than one player attempts to block the ball. Block assists are recorded every time more than one player attempts to block, regardless of how many players make contact with the ball.

Blocking Positions

Outside Blocker

volleyball outside hitter

Outside blockers are on the left side of the court. They will block on that side and often come into the middle to block a middle hitter. Outside blockers often have to move their blocks over because many opposite hitters are left-handed.

Middle Blocker

volleyball middle blocker

Middle blockers are in the middle of the court and will block the middle, the left side, and the right side. They are the blockers that move the most in the front row. They have to be extra careful not to drift in their approaches as they often move the farthest.

Opposite Blocker

volleyball Opposite hitters

Opposite blockers are on the right side of the court. They block the outside hitter on the other side. This hitter is most commonly set, so this blocker has to have stamina and the ability to block multiple times in a rally. This is also the position that many setters fill, so a setter may have to take on the role of this blocker when they are in the front row.


How is a block used in volleyball?

Blocks are used to either stop an opponent’s attack from crossing the net or to redirect the ball to make it easier to receive. When in a good blocking position, blockers will try to penetrate the net and block the ball straight down on the opponent’s side. If in a weaker blocking position, blockers may try to block vertically and pop the ball up in the air to make it easier for the passers to get to the ball.

What positions usually perform blocks in volleyball?

Front row players perform blocks in volleyball. Anyone who plays in the back row to begin a point is not allowed to block at the net, otherwise a penalty will be called. Middle blockers block the most, as they need to cover all three positions on the net.