The Block is the Base to all Defenses - September 2001
The word "defense" typically elicits the following responses: foot speed, square up,
base defense, platform, read, anticipate, see the ball, etc. These are all very true but, the BLOCK is the base to all defenses. Ask any high level volleyball coach, and they will tell you it all starts with a well-disciplined block. It is possible to train taller athletes to play great individual and team defense, but you cannot train a short athlete to be tall.
Here are a few things to consider:
Almost all defenses begin with a Base 1 Defense that quickly moves into Base
2. They all are initiated by the opposing teams style of offense and the
situations that occur from the pass to the setter's choices and options.
Depending on certain scenarios players are trained to make decisions.
The block makes decisions and the defense around them finishes the game
plan. The block may be from one, two or even three players. The key is
the block is the Base to Your Defense. A common goal is not necessarily
to block every ball, but to take away a portion of the court so the defenders
can play their positions.
Blocks and styles of defenses need to compliment each other. This is
essential and will create havoc to even the best teams. If a team has
poor technical skills in the area of floor defense then teams that hit
the ball around the block will score often. Yet if a team takes away
the Hard Hitting Angles and forces teams too hit easier around the block
a purpose will be served, and hopefully more balls will be dug.
One thought that crosses many aggressive coaches minds is, " If
the ball never crosses the net the opposing team cannot score." These
coaches double block every time and triple block when the opportunity
arises. These coaches usually have a tall blocking and a tenacious floor
defense or they will succumb to the famous roll or dink shot.
Points to remember:
• Whether you are using triple, double, or single blocking strategies, technique
and form is the key.
• No reaching outside your block platform for balls that you cannot block
inside the court.
• Train your blockers to observe setter's tendencies and choices if they
expect to be in a good blocking position.
• Blockers need to watch the setters shoulders and release spots for their
different set's. This skill needs to be observed and practiced.
• Strength training is essential for good blocking.
• Anticipation and Communication is essential.
• When the opposing setter is in the front court have your left-side blocker
help in the middle. The hitters in the front court with the setter are usually
stronger, and need all the blocking help they can get.
Strength Training for Blocking:
Legs- 50% squats, leg extensions, leg presses and leg curls.
Shoulders- Shoulder presses, Lateral and Front raises and Overhead presses
Plyometrics: Squat jumps, Block jumps, Stairs, Calf raises, Jump tucks