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Solo Blocking Tips

posted Jan 24, 2015, 2:07 PM by Debbie Sokol   [ updated Jan 24, 2015, 3:08 PM ]
Solo blocking doesn't always have to be a losing battle, and these tips will help put you on top. Blocking one on one is knowing what you're up against. Hitters have tendencies so pay attention to these clues - does the hitter mainly go for line or crosscourt, what has she done in the past games or even the past few points. If her crosscourt shot is more difficult to dig than her line shot, channel the ball to your strongest digger, especially if you're unaware of the hitter's tendencies.

Blocking is not only about the monster block that lands even before the hitter's feet hit the ground. Sometimes it's wiser to force the hitter to play right into your game plan. Give her the shot your team is most prepared to defend. Another option is to go for the touch and deflect the ball so it goes high and controlled into your backcourt. This way you create an easy dig and a good transition opportunity. Both channeling and deflecting are great plays that are under appreciated, and in the long run they can be the difference between winning and losing.

Make an educated guess as to where she may hit by taking clues from her body position in relation to the position of the ball. If she's too far outside the ball, she may have to hit cross court, too far inside and she's more likely to hit line. Sometimes the hitter will get a great set, and a hitter with good ball position puts the blocker at a disadvantage. At this point you may want to take one shot away from the hitter, either line or crosscourt. Once you've made the decision to take away a particular shot, stick with it and trust your instincts. It's nearly impossible for your team to dig behind a noncommittal block.

Anticipate. Watch the setter for clues as to where she'll set the ball and pay attention to the ball's height, speed and distance off the net.

Maintain good form. Any time you go up for a block, make sure you penetrate right away. If your arms extend straight up instead of at an angle over the net, you will never block a ball straight down, and you'll often get tooled.

Blocking a tight ball. A tight ball puts the blocker in complete control. Just jump directly in front of the ball and get your hands as far over the net as possible, giving her no place to go.

Blocking the line is very simple but often misunderstood. It's not just jumping right next to the antenna because the set isn't always where it should be. A good guideline is to line up so that the hitters hand is in the middle of your block. If she moves in, move with her so you don't open up too much of the court.

Blocking cross court is a little different against the outside hitter. Line up with your left hand on her hitting arm - that way you don't give up so much line that she can hit the ball outside your right arm and towards the middle of the court.

When blocking on the outside, your hand position is critical. Make sure your outside arm and hand angles back to the court. Anything that hits this arm will be blocked inbounds. Your inside hand should extend straight over since this arm is further inside the court.

A set that floats wide or outside the antenna calls for a different blocking strategy than a standard set. Since the ball has to clear the net inside the antenna, the best thing is to seal the antenna - that means lineup straight next to it, and don't leave any room for the ball to come through or ricochet off your arms and out of bounds. If you leave any space at all you become a target for the tool.

Eye Sequence is key to early learning. Your eyes should go from ball to setter to ball to hitter, in that order (BSBH). If you stay ball focused, you will miss the hitter's cues and mis-time your jump. So stay alert, keep your eyes moving in sequence and make your defense successful! from Bev Oden
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