Tournament Time Questions

Here at GMS we get a lot of these kinds of questions right before the post-season:

Hello GMS talented and amazing coaches,

Our team is going into Zone/Region Champions this week and state the following week and I need some help with my blocking!!!!! Please help!? I attended your Pepperdine clinic this last summer and another one years ago at SJSU and know how good you all are. I’ve read your book. Most of the drills I can figure out, but I really need help with our second Middle Blocker and with keeping our outside and right side where they need to be. Please help!?

Our Reply:

Marv likes to say this: “The best passing drills are pass, set, hit. The best hitting drills are pass, set, hit. Etc.”. You can probably see where I am going with this, right? You can work on blocking in just about any drill, just make sure that blocking is the focus of your attention and your feedback.

That having been said, we like the BSBH drill (Ball, Setter, Ball, Hitter) drill for working on blocking, but it is a little slow-moving. You could also play some kind of Monarch of the Court game where there are six on one side so that there is a line of blockers as well. If you want to work on specific people a lot however, the BSBH drill is better. You can get in some 6v6 drills (just about any will do) and work in that environment too.

Now, the most important thing I’ll tell you in the this whole email is that BLOCKING DOES NOT WIN GAMES. If I had to work on something going into my championships, it would be (in this order):
Serving
Passing
Left-Side Attack
Digging
Right-Side Attack
Quick Attack
Blocking

As you can see, I don’t think I’d ever get to blocking, and it certainly wouldn’t break my heart if I didn’t. I would work really hard on being the best serving and passing team in the tournament, and have a good left-side attack. I’d also be pretty pleased if we were the best digging team in the tournament as well. If we didn’t block a single ball but were good at the above skills, we’d win a LOT of matches – maybe all of them.

So I guess I am trying to talk you out of worrying about blocking. Don’t focus on that – focus on the other stuff in the list that has more of an immediate and dramatic impact on the outcome of a match.

Best of luck,

Chris