Do you keep your middle blocker at the net on a free ball or do you have them release and prepare to attack? The best coaches are the ones that are constantly evaluating choices like this one. They at least consider different ideas and sometimes change their philosophies. They are unafraid to try something different.
Rod Graham, Head Coach at Ponderosa High School (CO) and 2009 State Champion, is a coach that is not afraid to try something different. He teaches his middle blocker to stay at the net on a free ball.
While many of you might disagree with this philosophy, he believes in it and teaches his middle blocker to stay at the net. In 2009 his decision to train his middle blockers to stay, won his team a state championship.
He believes that there is a realistic opportunity for the middle blocker to make a play at the net on a free ball. In his opinion, moving them off the net takes away the chance for them to do what they do best which is block. No doubt there is a downside to this philosophy.
Obviously there is the chance the middle blocker gets into the net and you give away a free point. Coach Grahams answer to this is that he drills his middle blockers to stay on the ground unless they have a realistic chance of getting the ball.
The video below is a clip from Coach Graham’s presentation at a Glazier Volleyball Clinic entitled “Stay in Control of Your Defense”. For information about how to gain access to his entire presentation, as well as hundreds of other great volleyball clinic presentation, click the link Glazier Volleyball Clinics.
The YouTube video below has audio, so please make sure that your volume is turned on. Click the arrow to play the video. Note that some schools block access to YouTube. If you are having trouble viewing the clip from school, contact you network administrator.