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Blocking, Transitioning and Hitting Drills for Middles

Blocking, Transitioning and Hitting Drills for Middles

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Develop complete middle blockers who play fast and are offensive options in every situation

with Gwen Egbert,
Doane University Head Coach;
former Papillion-LaVista (NE) and Papillion-LaVista South (NE) High Schools;
Egbert won 700 games at the high school level along with six Class A State Championships and seven runner-up honors her teams reached the championship game of the Class A Tournament in 13 of their 17 state tournament appearances

  • Teach your middles to use their core when they block so they don't get pushed back by an attacker
  • Train middles to transition quickly and hit hard while remaining injury free
  • Make the most of your court space using drills that don't require a net

In a fast-paced volleyball match, middles encounter many scenarios that force them to quickly get off the net and into hitting position. In this presentation, six-time Nebraska state champion, Gwen Egbert, shares tips and drills that will help you prepare your middles for the rigors of competition.

Training the Core

You'll learn to get your athletes to engage their core muscles and improve their technique in hitting and blocking. Coach Egbert shows a series of stations that work on using the core for blocking and attacking. The stations use medicine balls and weighted gloves to train middles how to feel when the core is being engaged.

Coach Egbert also demonstrates a live action drill that works on middles engaging their core when blocking. This drill utilizes progressions that have middles working on blocking footwork while engaging the core on the block. The drill moves on to adding transition and eventually attacking with a setter.

Hitting Like a Middle

The arm swing for a middle is much faster than outside hitters, which means the arm swing needs to be mechanically different. Coach Egbert shows a progression of drills that focus on the quickness of the middle arm swing. The elbow needs to be back and players must lead with their fingers. Learning proper hitting mechanics means that the hitter will be able to hit hard, and for a long time, without injury.

Blocking and Transition Movements

This segment works on blocking and transitioning off the net to get ready to hit. Many times, middles are at different areas of the net and have varied time to transition. Coach Egbert works on full transition, the step hop and the step off. These drills will help your middles get off the floor quicker, face the ball and know where it is in transition.

Blocking and Transition Drills

Many controlled drills do not replicate the scenarios that middles encounter in a real match. Coach Egbert provides drills that create game-like chaotic situations for middles.

  • The Hit the Pass drill makes middles react and figure out how to transition depending on the pass. It forces players to find the ball and get off the net fast. This helps middles to be involved in the offense all the time, no matter if it's a great pass or not.
  • Every coach has had those bad moments where their middle gets lost in the pace and end up just staring at the ball. Coach Egbert's 6v6 drills help train middles to be better at reacting in these situations and prepares them for the unexpected.

Other drills in this section put middles through rigorous repetitions where they must be up in the air every time on offense whether they are set or not. This helps train them to be fast all the time and keeps them from being in the way and clogging up the offense, which limits attacking options.

Coach Egbert includes everything you need to make your middles into offensive and defensive powerhouses in this video.

Produced at the 2015 AVCA National Convention.

54 minutes. 2016.