Footwork and conditioning are key components to being and effective blocker. In the clip below, Tom Keating, former Dubuque Wahlert HS Head Coach, 11x state champion, 7x Iowa coach of the year and 2003 National coach of the year, demonstrates a blocking drill that works on both footwork and conditioning.
In this blocking drill Coach Keating takes his blockers through a progression of footwork patterns and jumps. This drill is from a complete DVD dedicated to defense. For more information about the DVD that this drill came from click in the link High School Coaching Academy: Defense & Blocking
The YouTube video of the blocking drill has sound, so make sure that your sound is turned on and that you have access to the site.(Some schools block access to YouTube)
The blocking drill progression begins with your blockers in base position at the net and then moves through the following footwork patterns.
1. First the players jump and block as if the hitter was directly in front of them. (Reps can vary)
2. Players jump/block and then hop right and the jump and block again.
3. Players jump/block, hop right, jump/block and then hop left and jump/block
4. Repeat sequence 3, but add inside cross right, jump/block, inside cross left, jump/block
5. Repeat sequence 4, but add step crossover right, jump/block, step crossover left, jump block
6. Repeat sequence 5, but add step crossover hop right. jump/block, step crossover hop left, jump/block
As the players get tired towards the end of the sequence it is important to stress that their hands must remain above their waist. As players become fatigued, their hands tend to drop. This blocking drill is a great conditioning drill as it simulates a long point in which the players would have to jump several times.
The blocking drill is also great for developing the necessary muscle memory for the various footwork patterns