Blocking, like all skills, requires some athletic ability and sound fundamentals. In the clip below Joel Walton, Head Coach at Ball State University, demonstrates a simple yet effective drill that he uses to teach the fundamental foot work of swing blocking. He also discusses some of the advantages swing blocking as opposed to other systems.
The swing blocking drill is from his his DVD dedicated to blocking. The dvd includes instruction on how to stop opponents from hitting the ball into the vulnerable parts of your defense and the proper mechanics of swing blocking. In addition, he covers strategies to prevent balls from going through the block and eliminate “cheap” points. He also includes a section on how to plan your blocking based on your opponents tendencies.
For more information about that DVD click the link Individual and Team Blocking Skills and Strategies.
The YouTube video below has sound, so please make sure that your sound is turned on and that you have access to the site. Some schools block access to YouTube.
The swing blocking drill begins with the lines on players. A line of right outside blockers, a line of middle blockers and a line if left outside blockers. For this drill the outside blockers are instructed to “pinch” towards the middle blocker and keep their weight on their outside foot.
The drill is quite simple. The coach, standing on the opposite side of the net points either to the left, the right or middle. The players then execute the proper footwork and move to the appropriate spot and execute the swing block.
If the players block to the left then the middle and left outside blocker execute the block and rotate out. Two knew players move in for them and they go to a different line. The opposite hitter will move into position to cover. He will not rotate out of the drill. The hitter that covers stays in until the block is directed to their side.
Key teaching points on the footwork are as follows.
If the block is towards the middle the outside hitter on that side and the middle will use a hop step to close the gap. If the block is to the outside then the the blockers must use a big crossover and a second step to get out and execute the block. The remaining blocker must also move into position to cover.
Coach Walton believes pinching middle and using the crossover step to get outside, helps to reduce injuries as both players are moving in the same direction.