Establish an effective blocking system through great footwork, positioning and teamwork!
- Learn blocking footwork to get to the block quickly and react appropriately to the other team's attack patterns
- Discover the four phases of blocking and how to gain an advantage through planning, reading and seeing the hitter
- Recognize the advantages and disadvantages of bunch versus spread blocking
with Hugh McCutcheon,
University of Minnesota Head Coach;
2018 International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee;
2015 AVCA National Coach of the Year;
2015 & 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year;
2013, 2015, 2018 AVCA North Region Coach of the Year;
2008 USOC National Coach of the Year;
2x NCAA Final Four (2015, 2016), 2012 NCA A Elite Eight and 2x NCAA Sweet Sixteen (2013, 2017);
former Men's and Women's U. S. National Team Head Coach;
2012 Women's Olympic team (silver medal);
2008 Men's Team (gold medal)
Hugh McCutcheon provides multiple considerations in establishing an effective blocking system. He explains multiple defensive court scenarios and how to place your players in the best position for your team to be successful.
The true goal for blocking balls is to stuff the hitter for points. Hitting efficiency is reduced as more blockers are introduced. Coach McCutcheon demonstrates multiple drills that can be used by players at every level to increase their body position awareness and foot speed in relation to effective blocking skills.
The Five Blocking Movements
McCutcheon explains that defensive footwork should depend on the speed of the offense as well as the speed of the blocker. He stresses the importance of how the body - from the feet to the head - should respond when blocking.
The five blocking movements that McCutcheon covers include:
- Three-Step Crossover - The most widely-used blocking technique, where the first step is a short one and the second step is long. The first step is just a simple push and go, while the last step is a jam step used to push back toward the court.
- Two-Step Block - A simple hop move that is used to cover a small space in a short amount of time.
- Five-Step Blocking Movement - Utilizes the combination of the two-step block and the three-step crossover.
- Quick 3 - This blocking move is run as fast as possible. Blocker drift is acceptable for this action.
- X2 - This move is similar to a layup in basketball. The takeoff is done with one foot and is even faster than the Quick 3 blocking movement.
Blocking Footwork Drills
A great way to check footwork is to create lines on both sides of the net to work on the five blocking movements concurrently. With players lined up across from each other, coaches are able to get a visual of the potential mistakes that can be made while identifying gaps that may exist in athletes' training.
One method that McCutcheon uses is to call out a series of movements to allow players to become comfortable using multiple blocking strategies quickly. This is a game-like action that adds some fun and creativity to blocking systems.
Ultimately, there is much misconception regarding the use of the swing block. The swing terminology is only intended for the jumping portion of the block. There should be no swinging of the arms with the blocking motion itself. McCutcheon has the expertise to break down the entire swing blocking movement and concepts in an easy-to-understand segment.
This video gives you all the tools and knowledge required to improve your team's blocking game. Coach McCutcheon has a unique perspective having been a high school player, professional player, collegiate player, Olympic athlete, and now elite coach of the sport of volleyball. Let him help you take your team's blocking skills to the next level!
Produced at the 2018 Iowa Volleyball Coaches Clinic.
60 minutes. 2018.Volleyball Videos