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Details from a fishing boat.

Beach Volleyball Strategies For Blocking
By Dennis Jackson

1. No Block

If your team is not real tall or skilled at blocking, you may decide you have a better chance of winning by not blocking. If you aren't going to block, it's best to at least stay at the net and be ready for a tight set or overset. You don't want to cheat early off the net and allow the opponent to get a set right on top of the net with no block up. So always have you or your teammate stay near the net ready for a tight set, and then drop off in time to make a defensive play.

2. Block Angle

The strategy for blocking angle involves the blocker taking away the angle (crosscourt) attack. In this situation, the blocker is attempting to block the hard crosscourt attack while the teammate is ready to dig the hard driven attack down the line. Players new to blocking tend to make the mistake of trying to read the hitter and block the ball. The purpose of blocking angle is to make it easier to play defense. For example, it's much easier to just focus on taking away angle and not worrying about whether or not the attacker is actually going to hit the ball angle, line, etc. The signal for blocking angle is two fingers.

3. Block Line

The strategy for blocking line involves the blocker taking away the line attack. The line attack is the ball that's hit hard down the line on the same side of the court as the attacker. This is basically blocking the opposite side of the court as blocking angle. The blocker signals with the index finger to block line.

4. Block Ball

Blocking ball means the blocker is going to attempt to read the hitter and try to block the ball. Obviously, it can be much harder to get blocks using this strategy because to successfully read a hitter is difficult if you aren't an experienced blocker. Many times a blocker will elect to block ball when blocking angle and blocking line isn't working. Also, if the hitter is easy to read, the blocker might attempt to block ball while defender tries to also read the hitter while playing defense.

5. Spread Block

The spread block is attempting to block the ball while spreading the arms wide. With the spread block, the blocker is essentially taking away both line and angle. The spread block is often used to surprise the hitter. For example, if you are up against a hitter that is consistently hitting the ball hard past your block, then you might attempt the spread block.

6. Wait for the Shot then Swat

The swat technique is used against hitters that like to shoot the ball. To successfully swat the ball, start by standing at the net like you are going to attempt to block. As the hitter is taking an approach to hit, watch carefully if the hitter is going to hit the ball hard or shoot the ball. As the hitter is jumping up to shoot the ball, jump up and swat at the ball with one hand. This blocking technique is especially useful for when a hitter likes to hit a short cut shot into the angle or a low cut shot over the blocker down the line.

7. Fake Drop then Block

Faking a drop off the net can result in the setter setting the ball tight to the net. For example, stand at the net just like you normally would, ready to block. As the ball is being passed to the setter, take a step off the net as if you were going to drop back and play defense. Just step off the net so far that you'll have time to get back to the net to block. Blockers that are quick can effectively deceive hitters into thinking they have dropped back when in fact they are up there ready to block the ball.

Dennis Jackson is a beach volleyball player and coach that provides expert advice on all aspects of volleyball training. For more tips on playing beach volleyball along with strength and conditioning, designing drills, executing skills, and rule interpretations visit:

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