The blocker has a strategic role in
Here are Phil’s keys and strategies for blocking at the net:
#1 ATHLETIC STANCE: The first thing I do when I am at the net is make sure I am always in an athletic position. I am never standing straight up.
#2 POSITIONING: I like to line up with my head on the ball. What do I mean in regard to “head on the ball?” When the set is at its peak or apex, I want my head lined up on the ball directly across the net from where I think the hitter is going to contact the ball when it comes back in to play.
#3 WATCH THE HITTER: Once I am in a good position, I take my eyes off of the ball and watch the hitter. I am looking for any tells in his approach. For example, if he is coming full speed ahead then chances are he is hitting the ball VERSUS SHOOTING THE BALL.
#4 THE MOVE: Now it is time to make my move. I take a mini step in the direction that I am blocking angle (cross court) or line. I try to time it and get as low as my 6’9 frame will allow so the hitter doesn’t see the move.
#5 PENETRATION: Next, I jump and with strong hands I reach over the net rather than putting them straight up. Reaching over the net is important because it cuts off angles for the hitter. I am also trying to keep my eyes open as long as possible before the hitter hits the ball. This allows me to see and react to the last second changes a hitter will make often based upon my block.
Another tip is don’t jump too close to the net because it is harder to penetrate over the net if you’re too close plus you have a better chance of touching the net. I like to be about 3/4 arm lengths away from the net. Play with that distance to see where you are comfortable.
Lastly, land in an athletic position in case your partner gets a dig. If you do this, you will always be in a good position to make a move towards the ball.
Phil Dalhausser is a three-time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist (with Todd Rogers). He is considered one of the best blockers in the world today. Phil has 96 career wins with 56 AVP 1st places and 38 1st places on the FIVB Tour. He has been named as the best blocker in the world (FIVB) 7 times.