What Does a Middle Blocker Do in Volleyball?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When it comes to volleyball, there are a lot of positions and roles inside of the court. If you are a beginner, you might wonder: what does a middle blocker do in volleyball? and what are its main objectives in the game?

What Does a Middle Blocker Do in Volleyball? 

The middle blocker position is the first line of defense against the opponent’s attacks. In order to protect a spike, this position jumps and builds a barrier with his arms over the net. This is why the center blocker must anticipate the actions of the opponent.

By doing this, the blocker will be able to prevent the opponent from scoring or at least make it more difficult for them. Because of that, this player needs to be tall, strong, and quick. After all, it doesn’t matter if you can read the opponent if you are too short to reach their attacks.

An image of what a middles blocker do

Middle Blocker Objectives

The center defenders must stand over the ten-foot line and are in charge of defending against opposing attacks. Whether it’s a spike, a serve, or a conventional attack, the blocker must be alert and extend their arms over the net to quickly reflect the ball.

They can also dig to save a tricky ball. When a blocker needs to throw himself into the ground to keep a ball alive, this movement occurs. Normally, the libero would do this, however, if they can save the ball, they should.

This blocker must also be able to rapidly change into an offensive role. If their team wins the ball, this blocker needs to switch to a middle hitter or a setter. As a result, they must be able to play both defensively and offensively.

Left and Right Blockers

On the court, there are two more blockers: one on the left and one on the right. When their team possesses the ball, they are the outside and opposite hitter. The goal of these blockers is to stuff or reflect the ball back into the opposing team’s side of the court.

When it comes to blocking, there are three types: solo blocks, double blocks, and triple blocks. Each of them is employed on specific occasions to protect the team from a dangerous opposite hitter.

Two middle blockers blocking the ball

For example, if the opponent has a very strong hitter, the coach may direct the blockers to focus on him and do a triple block (this is when the left and right blocker join the middle one). If the hitter is not very skilled, the blockers may perform a solo block on them.

The Libero

The libero is one of the only defensive roles that cannot block the ball. As I previously mentioned, the major goal of this player is to keep the ball off the ground, which is why they often perform a lot of digs.

However, they have a lot of limitations that influence their role during the game. For example, a libero can’t serve, block, or attack the ball. If they do it, it would be considered a violation of the rules, and they would lose the point.

Libero’s Objectives

One of the main objectives of a libero is to help the middle blocker. They should position themselves in order to potentially save the ball. For example, if the middle blocker fails to block an attack, the libero should be prepared to save it quickly.

However, this position has a lot of rules that influence it. Here you can see some of the things that a libero can’t do.

  • Throughout the game, liberos are not permitted to block. This implies they can’t jump and disrupt the opponent’s attack. If they do not, the opponent will be awarded a point.
  • A libero is not permitted to try to block. This means they can’t pretend to block a shot. If they try this, the opponent will get a point.
  • Liberos are not authorized to start the game. They must be substituted after the referee has reviewed the first lineup.
  • Liberos can be subbed in and out as many times as the coach want, there is no limit.
An image of two middle blockers

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about middle blockers in volleyball.

Can Middle Blockers Spike?

When their team has possession of the ball, middle blockers are allowed to spike. However, if the opposing team has the possession, they are not allowed to spike the opponent’s attack. This would be considered a violation of the rules, and they would lose the point.

How Tall Should a Middle Blocker Be?

To be an effective middle blocker, this position needs to be at least 6 feet and 8 inches tall and have long arms. This will allow them to successfully block the opponent’s spikes. However, there are also good middle blockers who are 6 feet and one inch tall.


When it comes to blockers, they have a significant role on the court that takes a lot of practice to master. They are, after all, one of the team’s most important defenders.

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.