What is a Middle Blocker?
A Middle Blocker is one of the six positions of a volleyball player on the court. This position works to block hits from the other team. They typically are the key player in a team’s defense. They are positioned at the net in the middle of the court. When the team is playing offense, they work to hit fast sets and work to confuse the other team. When the team is on defense, they work to simply block the ball from returning to their side.
Qualities of a Middle Blocker
The qualities that make the best middle blockers include having good height, speed, blocking ability, and knowledge of the game. The best ones know how to read their team’s setter and make fast decisions off the read. They are usually tall players as their goal is to be higher at the net, when jumping, to block the ball from reaching their side. Having quick speed is also very important to making game changing decisions. Volleyball is a fast pace sport and if one is not in the proper location then they will not be able to reach the ball in time to make the play.
How to Improve
Just like all other sports, there are numerous ways to improve one’s skills. Building muscle is a huge priority in training. Another key to becoming successful is to build and maintain fast reflexes. When it comes to blocking in games, knowledge is all that matters. If you do not know where to be or how to read the other team’s offense, then you cannot help your team win.
The first thing a good middle blocker does is read what is going on. They do everything in a game with a good positive attitude to help build team momentum. Another thing great players do is use the phrase. The phase Ball, Setter, Ball, Hitter, is commonly used to help players stay focused on the right people and things.
The first priority, Ball, means to always know where the ball is located on the court. The second priority, Setter, means to know where the setter is and where they are moving to. This helps to predict positioning to block the oncoming spike. The second phase, Ball, means to know where the set of the ball is. This helps one determine if it is a quick set or a standard set. The final priority, Hitter, cues the player to watch a few movements of the hitter. It means to notice and make decisions based on what attack approach they have and where their shoulder is positioned. These together help one to be in the right place at the right time for the right block.
Another way to improve blocking technique is to have proper form in penetrating the net. Penetrating the net means to have your hands above the net. It also requires the placement of hands to be in the right spot, so the ball does not hit one’s face. A final tip commonly used is to keep the fingers slightly spread to create more blocking area. The form and technique can vary person to person, but these three techniques are the most common and effective ones used today. Videos on YouTube of professional volleyball player’s technique can also be a great teaching stool for athletes wanting to become middle blockers.
Becoming a middle blocker is not always easy as this job requires lots of practice, training, and knowledge. Do not let the fear of the position keep you from playing, practice makes perfect!