VolleyballMag.com had a chance to chat with Lauren Fendrick last week as she prepares for her first Olympics. Here are her tips for better blocking:
Your line up has to be on point. You have to make little adjustments for the wind. If you don’t start on the ball, you’ve lost the matchup.
Have a balanced load with your shoulders square to the net with your hands in a good position. If you jump off balance it’s difficult to get your hands into position. Having a balanced takeoff on your approach will present a more solid wall to your opponent.
Reading is huge. For me, I’ve watched a ton of volleyball, a ton of video, in order to get the reads on different players, and to figure out what’s possible on each play with a specific set, approach, and conditions. Blocking is a unique skill in that a perfect block does not necessarily result in a blocking statistic. if the hitter hits out, or directly to the defender, that can be the result of a successful block as well as blocking a ball to the opponent’s sand. A blocker has to take space, and take the right space.
Timing is crucial. You have to read the appropriate timing based on the set, the approach, and you’re taking away the right amount of space at the right time.
Hand shape. The hands need to be cocked forward to direct the ball into the opponent’s court rather than be tooled.
(video courtesy of USA volleyball)