Understanding the Role of a Middle Blocker

A successful middle blocker needs to be able to read the opponent’s movements and react quickly.

Middle blockers are a vital part of a volleyball team’s defense. You need to read the direction in which the setter is setting the ball. You also need to make fast, precise movements to get to either pin so you can be close to your outside blocker.

A few keys to remember when playing as a middle blocker:

  • Stay balanced and neutral. As soon as you start leaning in any direction, it becomes difficult to change directions and get close to the other blocker before the hitter spikes.
  • Hop and take a three-step crossover to close the block. Make sure to work on your footwork regularly so that you can get out quickly and efficiently to close the block. If you’re closing out to your right, you should shuffle or hop to your right and then go right, left, right with your feet to close the block. To close the left side, you would reverse these steps.
  • Stop and load in order to explode straight up. Your last step should be controlled, powerful and balanced so that you’re stopped and in position, and ready to jump and make the block. You want to use your three-step crossover to get out to meet your outside blocker. You don’t want to be drifting into the block. Instead, you want to be able to jump straight up with power so you get the maximum height and body/hand placement.

By taking quick, efficient movements to the pin, you’ll minimize the effectiveness of the opposing hitter.  This will also allow your teammates to set up in position behind you for a great overall defense.

You will need to help your team offensively at times when playing in the middle. While strong hits can be effective, you can create chaos or even score with a well-timed tip.