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Setter tendencies and blocking strategies

Setter tendencies and blocking strategies

  1. Does he/she have any special tendencies in each rotation?
  2. Does he/she play with quick attackers more in perfect receptions or good receptions? Or both of them?
  3. Does he/she play with quick attackers only when he/she jumps for set or even without jump he/she plays with quick attackers?
  4. In three rotations that the setter of the opponent is front row player, does he/she play with opposite when reception is perfect or good?
  5. What is his/her tendencies when reception is close to position four or two? Does he/she prefer to play long distance sets or short distance sets or there are no special tendencies?
  6. When does he/she run and set, what is his/her tendencies? When running forward, does he/she play front set or back set? When running backward, does he/she does play front set or back set?
  7. In important point who is the first option of the setter of opponent team? what about transition set?
  8. How they play more after free ball?
  9. When they lose two or three points in side-out in a row, what is their choice in next attack after reception?
  10. Does the setter use dink when he/she is front row player?
  11. Does he/she repeat the set with unsuccessful attacker?


According to this type of information that related to tendencies of the setter of the opponent we can organize and use some type of block and defense strategies:

  1. Commit block strategy
  2. Reading block strategy
  3. Release block strategy
  4. Overload block strategy




   Commit block strategy


In this strategy our main goal is controlling the quick attacker of the opponent that gets a lot of sets and his/her efficiency is very high. In order to achieve this goal our middle blocker is main responsible to follow the quick attacker of the opponent and jump with him/her before the setter release the ball. The middle blocker should jump same time with quick attacker or little before him/her (it depends to speed and timing of the quick attacker) and push hands over the net and close attacker strong direction.

Advantages and disadvantages:


The main advantage of this strategy is that we control one of the very high efficient attacker of the opponent, the other advantage of this strategy is clarity of responsibilities of the blockers and defenders, because they know if the first ball in opponent court is good or perfect what is the plan.

The main disadvantage of this strategy is that always we will face one-block situation versus out-side hitters of opponent and so the hitter will have big chance to get point.

Player requirements:


To execute this strategy, we need a middle blocker with good eye tracking, balanced lateral agility and good technique in pushing the hands over the net.

So we should include commit block in our individual practices for middle blocker in order to develop their skill and confidence.





Coaching points:


Focus on eyes of the middle blocker and become sure that they are looking quick hitter of the opponent not the setter or first ball.

If your out-side blockers are short or weak, this strategy will give good opportunity to use this weakness of your team, so don’t forget to consider the distribution pattern of the opponent setter.


Read block strategy


In this strategy all three blockers will stay ready in their starting positions and will not move until the setter sets, after they will read and react to the sets that are in their area, and the middle blocker is responsible to cover all areas.

The main goal of this strategy is to put as more blocker as possible against each attacker with very good structure and discipline.




Advantages and disadvantages:


The main advantage of this strategy is that blockers will not do any wrong or useless movement in block, they will see the set and after will react appropriately.

The main disadvantage of this strategy will show itself when the opponent have fast and high quick attacker, so in this strategy maybe our blockers will not have enough time to react to quick set.


Player requirements:


In this strategy we need tall players with very good eye tracking skill and also very fast respond with blocking technique to what they see.

All blockers should be very stable and fast in blocking foot works specially, cross steps and side steps.

Keep discipline in hands will increase the efficiency of this strategy so we need players with disciplined mind and hands.



Coaching points:


In order to execute this strategy properly the coach should spend a lot of time to teach foot works, eye-muscle coordination, two and three men block coordination and doing game-like drills to develop players reading ability.

This blocking strategy can be more effective when the first ball is not perfect.


Release block strategy


This strategy is very useful when we know that the opponent will use one of out-side hitters in this point and he/she is very powerful and efficient. Some teams have one outstanding player that in critical points or transition attack the setter will set to him/her, why we must wait and move after the set when we know that where will he/she set? According to this idea, in this type of situation the middle blocker will release from his/her starting position toward the main attacker a little before the setter sets.

Advantages and disadvantages:


The main advantage of this strategy is that we put two block with good structure versus the best attacker of the opponent and if it works we will show that we have useful information from the opponent and it gives us also mental superiority.

On the other hands, if this risky strategy doesn’t work, the quick attacker of the opponent will be free  if he/she attack strong and efficient it can impact our team mental and tactical situation.

Player requirements:


For executing this strategy, we need experienced middle blocker who knows when release from starting position, because if he/she release too early the setter of the opponent will realize, and if he/she release late the block will not be well-organized.








Coaching points:


Don’t do this strategy as a regular strategy, because it is very risky and the opponent team will realize immediately after doing, so it is better to use it only in critical points and surprisingly.

Use some hidden signals to communicate with your middle blocker, we don’t want that all the people in the hall know our blocking strategy in this point.

Overload block strategy


When we know that the opponent in some rotations or some moments of the game will attack from some positions more than the others and their attack load is more, how do you think? Shall we also ask our blockers to stay more close to these positions and overload our block in these positions? We think that it can be logic. For instance, when the setter of opponent is front row player we know that they play rarely with opposite, so why should we put one of our blockers in front of him/her? When their attacking load is more in position 3 and 4 we should also overload our blocker more in position 3 and 4.

Advantages and disadvantages:


The main advantage of this blocking strategy is controlling the main attacking area of the opponent in each rotation by adjusting the blockers positions and little changes in their responsibilities. Also it will help our players to focus more, follow the game and communicate better to organize the blocking formation in its optimal situation.

Critical point in this strategy is that our defender should be very well-positioned and ready, because if the setter of the opponent paly with free attacker we must cover our blocker absence in this area.


Player requirements:


For this strategy specially, we need good out-side blockers who are able to block quick attacker of the opponent or help our middle blocker versus him/her.






Coaching points:


Don’t execute tactically what you cannot do technically.

Coordination between block and defense in this strategy is very vital, if you overload your blockers to the right side you should often overload your defenders to the left side in order to create balance.


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