The Art of Blocking

A sound defense can have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.

Cover Image: The defense of UAAP Women’s Volleyball Season 78 Best Blocker Mary Joy Baron became a vital piece of the De La Salle Lady Archers’ championship run. (sports.inquirer.net)

Like a raging river, the Ateneo Lady Eagles, led by Filipino volleyball phenom Alyssa Valdez swept through their competition, winning back-to-back UAAP Women’s Volleyball titles in Season 76 and 77.

So how do you stop a raging river? Well, you could build a dam.

That’s exactly what the De La Salle Lady Archers did this season – they built a solid defense – helping them to finally dethrone the Lady Eagles and Valdez who won her third straight UAAP Women’s MVP award. Like the old adage says, offense wins games, defense wins championships.

With that in mind, mastering the fundamentals of blocking should never be taken lightly. Yes, it might be less flashier than a powerful spike, but, even the best attack is rendered useless against a perfectly timed and executed block. When you’re trying to block a shot, here are a few things for you to keep in mind.

WATCH THE ATTACKING PLAYER

By paying attention to the attacking player, a blocker could easily identify which direction they are trying to get the ball to. You can even determine if the attacker is only going for a fake. However, the main reason why you should keep a close eye on the attacker is for you to determine how to react. This may be a challenging task to do especially in a fast-paced game such as volleyball, but this is what could make or break your team’s defense.

JUMP, NOT FLY

Learning how to control your jump can be challenging especially since you would most likely be carrying momentum from running to get into position. However, by failing to jump straight up, the defenders behind you wouldn’t be able to determine which ground they need to cover in case the ball got through your block. In blocking, positioning is extremely important.

TIGER HANDS

Your hands should always be ready for the block. Keep your hands leveled with your shoulders, and around 6-10 inches in front of you. Make sure your palms are facing the net, and fingers spread apart. When going for the jump, bend down your knees and as you jump, extend your arms for as long as they can. Doing this allows you to maintain your balance when you jump and also make your reactions faster.

COMMIT

When you jump for the block, there would be times when the ball is not headed your way. When this happens, you must be able to resist the urge to move your arms to try to cover the area where the ball is headed towards. Doing this will result to nothing but wasted movement, you might even hit a teammate. Instead, commit to taking one area away from their attacks and trust that your teammates have the other areas covered.

Blocking may seem like an individual act but in reality, it’s a total team effort. After all, a solid defense means that every area is protected so the attacks wouldn’t get through. In addition to timing and proper balance, communication is vital for your team to be able to cover as much ground as possible in less than 3 seconds.

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