How Is a Block Used in Volleyball?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When you start your journey as a volleyball player, you might wonder how a block is used in volleyball. While this is a basic move, it has many details that shouldn’t be overlooked. After all, defending might be more rich and complicated than it seems.

How Is a Block Used in Volleyball?

In volleyball, a block is used to deflect the ball from the opponent’s attack and reduce the chance of them scoring during that play. There are three types of blocks and each is used to keep the volleyball on the opponent’s side of the court.

Player trying to block a ball in volleyball

Blocks are also used in advanced tactics that can make the opponent overthink every attack. To start mastering blocks, you need to learn about the types of blocks, the strategies, and the terms used by the blockers.

How to Use Different Types of Blocks

Each type of block has its unique use on the volleyball court. Their characteristics allow the team to build a strategy against the opponent’s attacks. If you want to neutralize your opponent’s offense effectively, you need to learn how to use these blocks.

Single Block 

A single block happens when only one player tries to block the volleyball. Since it only takes one player to perform it, it is the quickest and most efficient way to defend your team

This block works well when the opponent’s offense is not very strong. This way your team will be able to focus more on the attack.

Double Block

The double block takes place when two players try to block the volleyball. Even though it requires more synchronicity, a double block should be used to avoid any successful attacks from a tough opponent. It is a great strategy that could neutralize any offense.

To effectively use this block, two players need to jump simultaneously. One of the players needs to be the main blocker (the one that directly deflects the ball), while the other player should position himself to avoid sudden direction changes.

Double block technique failing to block the ball during a game

Triple Block

The triple block happens when three players try to block the volleyball in unison. This block is one of the toughest ones to achieve as it takes a lot of synchronicity. If you perform it correctly, you can completely tear down the opponent’s attacks.

To use this block, three players need to jump at the same time. One of them needs to jump directly in front of the ball (the main blocker) while the other two should jump and block the remaining space on his sides. This way, the ball will have nowhere to go.

Type of blockWhen to use
SingleAgainst quick attacks
DoubleAgainst a difficult offense
TripleAgainst difficult hitters

What Are the Different Blocker Positions?

There are four types of blockers with different roles on the volleyball court. In addition to that, they have different skills and physical capabilities that allow them to contribute to the defense. Here are the types of blockers:

  • Strong Side Blocker: This blocker comes from the right side of the court. Since the opponent is prone to attack from that side, this player needs to be experienced to defend a strong hitter.
  • Middle Blocker: This is the player that moves from the middle of the net to block. Since many attacks come from the middle, this blocker needs to be taller and quicker than the other players.  
  • Weak Side Blocker: This blocker comes from the left side of the court. Their objective is similar to the strong side blocker, though they can focus more on supporting their teammates. 
  • Offside Blocker: This player is away from the opponent’s attack, making them able to examine and quickly block any ball. They can also position themselves offensively so the team can instantly attack after a successful defense.
Player blocking the ball

What Are the Terms Related to Blocking?

Defense in volleyball doesn’t entirely rely on blocking skills. If you want to be a good player, you need to learn how to communicate with your teammates. Getting to know these volleyball terms will help you have better chemistry with your team:

  • Stuff block or Roof: A blocker scores a point by reflecting the ball with the same intensity as it was sent. 
  • Closing the block: A blocker supports another blocker by joining him. An example of this is when a double block is performed. The defender is “closing the block” because the indoor ball won’t have any space to go forward. 
  • Joust: Two opposing players touch the ball at the same time. This is a very specific scenario where the blocker and the hitter dispute the ball by pushing it. However, winning the joust doesn’t mean winning the point.
  • Penetrating the net: A blocker reaches over the net when blocking or attacking. 
  • Turning in: A blocker positions his body to face the opponent’s court. By doing so, they ensure the ball reflects into their court and not outside.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about blocks in volleyball:

Does a Block Count as Touch?

If the volleyball touches the blocker and continues to go forward into his side of the court, it is not considered one of the three times a team can touch the ball. However, if a player “blocks” anywhere below the net, it could be considered a touch, rather than a block. 

Can You Block and Then Hit in Volleyball?

Yes, you can block a ball and then hit it in volleyball. However, this only applies in this scenario; in other situations, you are not allowed to touch the ball twice in a row.

Can You Block a Volleyball With Your Head?

Yes, using your head to block a ball is possible. However, it is not the most effective method of blocking a volleyball. After all, it might hit you too hard and make you feel dizzy.


Blocking a volleyball requires a lot of team effort and synchronicity. Without this, the defense won’t have a good base, and the opponent might end up scoring a lot of points.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.