Middle blocker in volleyball (1)

Middle blocker-the Volleyball position that fans just can’t miss on the court due to their height. Many players think that playing middle blocker is much easier than Libero, outside hitter, opposite, or a setter; however, they are very wrong!

For middle blockers to be successful, they need lots of intelligence; however, this is not something they can learn from today to tomorrow. In most cases, it requires years of practice to achieve that. In volleyball, height plays a crucial role because it allows players to change the directions quicker due to less hang time, which is especially important for middle blockers – Read on to learn more. Oh yeah, and the middle blocker is the player who gets substituted for libero after getting out of serve.

So, let’s take a detailed look at the position of the middle blocker in volleyball, skills, and how the teams use it in volleyball featuring Tobias Krick.

Positions where middle blocker plays.

Middle blockers spend most of the game in front-row

Obviously, the name immediately tells us that middle blockers’ main skill is blocking; however, to be good at it requires a great deal of intelligence. Their main playing position is in zone 3, which is in the middle of the front row, and that means they must watch all the players on the opponent’s side of the court to anticipate where the attack will be.

By blocking, it doesn’t mean just jumping and reaching over the net whenever or wherever they want. Middle blockers must constantly read the opponent’s setter and either jump with their player (that’s the case, especially on the perfect pass) on the middle, or they go on the side to connect to either double block or triple block.

Jumping with the opponent’s middle blocker on a perfect pass

The middle blocker’s first tempo attack is usually the most effective in volleyball, but the pass must be at least positive or even perfect to make it successfully. Therefore, the middle blockers must be ready to jump with the opponent’s middle player because it can be an easy point if they don’t.

Volleyball is a fast-paced sport, so the decision must be quick. Let’s say the opponent’s setter doesn’t set the ball, but our middle blocker still makes a jump in the block. This is where the height of players comes into play; due to less hangtime, they can react quicker either on the pipe or on the sides and help with blocking the wing spikers.

In that case, it can happen they are late, so the position of the hands plays a crucial role. One thing that middle blockers don’t want in volleyball is being late.

Oh, and one more thing; communication with other players in defense also plays a big factor in how the team work in the block-defense segment which is an important part of the volleyball game!

Tobias Krick / Quick transition from jumping on the middle, to the right side making a successful block

Jumping all the time, but the setter doesn’t set the ball.

One of the things the middle blocker must deal with in volleyball is constantly jumping on the attack, but the setter just doesn’t set the ball; however, they have to be ready to get the set anytime. I mentioned a first tempo attack a few times. If you have never heard of it or didn’t know what it is, I recommend watching the video below first.

The middle blocker should be the player with the best efficiency and percentage in the attack, and to achieve that, those attacks on the first tempo (quick attack) must be done very fast. There are a few different variations of attack through the middle, and here in Slovenia, we call them:

Middle blocker quick attacks

  1. First: The middle blocker attacks near the setter.
  2. Push: That attack is done the same way as the first tempo; the only difference is that the set is 1m away from the setter.
  3. Alma: And the last one from where the ball is set in front is alma. It runs around 3m away from the setter, and it is the attack that can also be used on a bad pass.
  4. Behind: Same as first tempo but it is set behind the setter.
  5. And fifith which women’s volleyball players mostly use; slide attack.
Tobias Krick / Different variations of attack

It is important to note that every country or region has different names and signals for those kinds of attacks so keep that in mind. Having them will give the opponent headache, stretch the floor and consequently give hitters more freedom.

The middle blocker plays Only one position in defence which can be the game decider.

Even if there are just a few moments in volleyball where middle blockers get a chance to play defense, they must take it as seriously as possible. That can be a game-deciding action, so it’s crucial to give some focus on training on that, too. When the middle blockers go out of serve, the libero substitutes them, giving them some break until they are back on the net.

The hybrid serve in volleyball

Middle blockers usually use float from zone 5 to 5, and in many teams, they are one of the best servers. Volleyball is evolving year by year, and recently we could see that also with a new way of serve, so-called hybrid. Players throw the ball without the rotation and after they decide either to float it or give it a spin making it extremely hard to predict and pass.

The middle blocker position is the most prone to injuries in volleyball.

Making probably the most jumps out of all, and overall being heavier than other players, joints suffer more, increasing the chance of injuries. That’s why proper physical preparation plays a crucial role, and it must be taken seriously. For injury prevention, the middle blockers need also quality equipment such as volleyball shoes and compression sleeves. Incrediwear is in our opinion the best brand for compression equipment and really worth it, so if you suffer any injuries or pain, give it a try.

Best volleyball shoes for middle blockers (Editor’s choice)

Mizuno Wave Momentum 2



What does Middle blocker do?

The primary skills Middle Blockers need to master are blocking and attacking. However, they need to be good servers as well. In some situations, they must also set and sometimes defend the ball. Many consider the middle blocker the easiest volleyball position to play; however, it is not easy. You must be intelligent as a middle blocker to play on the highest level.

Are Middle blockers important?

The short answer would be: Yes, they are essential. All defense in the back row relies on how the block is positioned. If the block is set perfectly, it is much easier to play defense. An attack in the Middle is the most efficient attack in volleyball. When the reception is perfect, an attack through the Middle should be one of the main options. But even if the Middle doesn’t get a set, it is still important to serve as a decoy for the opponent’s middle blocker. That way, if the set goes to outside hitters, they will have only one blocker on the side to deal with.

Why are middle blockers so tall?

Being tall can be very beneficial for middle blockers. That is because they can reach over the net much faster if the opponent team runs the first tempo attack or pipe. Because hangtime is short, the reaction to block on the sides of the court can be much quicker.

Can middle blocker be short?

They can be short, but the chance to play on the highest level will be lower. There are so many benefits to a middle blocker being tall, so height plays an important role.


Even if it doesn’t seem like the middle blocker plays a crucial role in volleyball, it does. It requires skills to play it successfully, however, to achieve that it needs to be done lots of practice. Having good middle blockers will improve the defense drastically furthermore the overall team’s performance. Detailed tips on how to play the position of middle blocker and other volleyball positions will be covered in the other blog posts so stay tuned to learn more on how to become like Tobi.

What are your thoughts on the position of the middle blocker? Did we miss something that you would like to add? Leave a comment down below.

So, Would you like to be like Tobi?!

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