If you are looking for a drill to help your blockers identify hitters and communicate better, try this Blind Blocking Drill. This drill uses an innovative approach, to help blockers focus on the hitters rather than watching the ball.
In the clip below Jenny McDowell, Emory University Head Coach; 2008 NCAA D-III National Champs, 2010 NCAA Runner-Up; 2008 NCAA D-III National Coach of the Year; 4x UAA Conference Champs; 5x UAA Coach of the Year; over 512 career wins; demonstrates a blocking drill that she call Blind Blocking.
The Blind Blocking Drill begins with three blockers on one side and three hitters and a setter on the other. A coach will stand behind the blockers and signal to the other side what type of swing (attack) the other team will use on their first ball. After signaling to the setter, another coach will pass to the setter who will in turn make the appropriate set (as determined by the signaling of the coach on the opposite side). The attacking side will get three ball to play. After the first ball, the hitters will transition and the middle will dictate the attack on the next two balls.
The blockers are all wearing either hats or visors. The purpose is to help the focus on the locating the the hitters rather that watching the ball. The hats make it difficult to look up at the ball. The goal of the blockers is to identify the hitters, communicate as blockers and get to blockers on every attack. The blockers must execute perfectly on three consecutive attack to get out of the drill.
If the blockers are unable to get out of the drill, the coach behind the blockers will signal the attack for the first ball and another three ball sequence will begin. Coaches can use attacks that they want their team to work on. This would also be a good way to prepare for an upcoming opponent and practice blocking how they like to attack.
The clip featuring the blind blocking drill is from a dvd featuring Coach McDowell and Coach Judy Green (former Alabama Head Coach: over 600 career wins). For more information about that DVD click the link Our 7 Favorite Drills and Where to Find 115 More
The YouTube video below has audio, so please make sure that your volume is on and that you have access to the site. Note that some schools block access to YouTube.