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Block and Defense Coordination

Block as first line of team defense and defense or dig as second line of team defense should work together properly to stop opponent attack and decrease attacker efficiency, it means that defenders should protect the areas of the court that blockers don’t protect or can’t protect, although the block and defense will work better if we play smart and efficient in serve in order to make away the setter from the net, so our blockers have enough time to move and organize the block.

We must have well-organized plan for block and defense for deferent attackers and in deferent situations of the game. Some key points for coordination of block and defense of the team:

  1. When ball goes to opponent court, all players must be ready and focused in their starting position
  2. Blockers must jump vertical and don’t fly
  3. Blockers hands position should be shoulder apart and don’t open hands so the ball can’t pass between hands of blocker
  4. Blockers must inform back court defender that what is their tactical task in block; close line or open line for out-side blockers, commit block or read blocking for middle blockers, make one attacker free (for example, making opposite of the opponent free when he/she is back row player)
  5. Defenders should adjust their positions according to tactical plan, block situation and what they read from attacker approach and his/her elbow movement.
  6. Defenders should cover the area that is over the short blocker.
  7. Defenders should position in a place to be able to see the ball (in one-block and not well-organized two-block situations), it means that they shouldn’t position in the shadow of block. In two or three block situation that block is well-organized, defenders should stay in their tactical position, but the defender who is in diagonal should position in the place to be able to see the ball.
  8. Defenders should know their responsibilities and most important thing is to be responsible and committed to defense, because sometimes defenders wait for each other and look at teammates to dig the ball or sometimes players think or evaluate that this ball is defendable or no?
  9. Defenders and blockers should have positive and effective communication and give each other feedback, especially defenders can give useful feedback to blockers about their place for jump, timing and hands position.
  10. In defense focus on saving the ball with your maximum effort and don’t make excuse.
  11. The coach of the team should assign who is responsible for tips for different situations, and also when the attacker of opponent team is using tip or roll-shot players who see the attacker’s action should call out in order to help the responsible defenders.
  12. Two rules of defense:
  • You can defense all ball
  • If you think that this ball is not defendable, refer to first rule.


We think that the coach of the team must teach block and defense versus all types of attacks during practice, theoretically and practically. The coach can teach theoretically by using videos, pictures, papers or white board and so on. Practically the coach will assign position of players and by coach-centered drill teach and correct. As immediately as players learned the basic of positioning the coach must change coach-centered drills to player-centered drills, because in coach-centered drills mostly coaches attack above the box and there is little evaluation and decision making process for defenders and blockers, but in player-centered drills that players will attack against blockers and defenders, so it is more game like and therefore it will be more effective.

In order to structuring our block and defense system and strategy in modern volleyball we need this categorization:

  1. Setter tendencies
  2. Attacker tendencies

We need to have enough information from opponent setter tendencies in deferent situation in order to pre-organize our blockers or preparing them mentally and technically, specially, when the first ball is perfect or good, because only in these situations blockers don’t have enough time to move and if we give them some information about setter tendencies and probability of different types of sets they will have mental representation and they can make decision more effective

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