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Volleyball — Hitting and Blocking
Photo of Brian Halligan

The most dynamic aspects of volleyball play are hitting and blocking.


Hitting


The first thing a hitter must learn is control because they need to avoid touching the net when spiking the ball over. Touching the net is a serious infraction in volleyball and will result in losing a serve or a point. So even if you have jumpers, they must be controlled jumpers, particularly in the heat of battle.


Once in the air, jumpers have to know what to do with a set. If the set ball is close to the net, the ball can be driven hard and across almost anywhere on the other side. If the set ball is away from the net, the hitter’s only option may be to drive it deep into the opposing court.


Generally the hit is a three-step process beginning on the foot opposite your striking hand. Jumping into the air, a hitter strikes the set ball firmly and downward over the net, being careful to keep their hand open and their arm extended for maximum speed and power. Depending on your skill level, hitters can aim the ball straight, right, left or to the rear, but just getting it over the net and in bounds with power should be your first concern.


Blocking


On the opposite spectrum, each spiked ball can be defensed by a blocker leaping up into the air at the same time the hitter does and getting their hands and arms in the way of the spike. If two players can converge on the exact spot of the spike, you'll have a much greater chance of stopping the hitter cold.  


Ideally, the blockers will jump up and extend their hands and fingers over the top of the net at the point where the ball will be hit. Not only does this limit the available space for the hitter to aim, but if blocked, the ball has a chance to fall harmlessly to the ground for either a point or to regain the serve.


When above the net and ready to block, the outside hand is always turned slightly inwards which keeps a blocked ball within the confines of the court. Effective blocking focuses mainly on jumping skills, but timing is also of the utmost importance. If you can get your hands in the way of a ball just as it is being struck, the chances are greater that you'll make contact and keep the ball from coming onto your side of the court.

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