The Height Of Middle Blockers In Volleyball: Why Size Matters

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Written By Margaret Satchell

I love helping people get in shape by playing sports instead of just boring gym routines. Live life to the fullest.





Volleyball is a sport that requires a diverse set of skills and physical attributes from its players. Among these attributes, height is particularly important for middle blockers. These players, positioned in the front row, are responsible for blocking the opposing team’s attacks at the net.

Their height and reach give them an advantage in intercepting high hits and tipping the ball back into the opponent’s court. However, the importance of height for middle blockers goes beyond just blocking. As one of the tallest players on the court, middle blockers are often used for attacking as well.

Their height allows them to hit the ball at a higher angle, making it more difficult for the opposing team to defend. This versatility makes the middle blocker position one of the most crucial on the court, and the physical demands of the position require a specific height range to be effective.

In this article, we will explore why size matters for middle blockers, the recommended height for the position, and the challenges faced by undersized players.

Importance of Height

The pre-existing knowledge suggests that height is crucial for middle blockers in volleyball, as it directly correlates to their blocking speed and ability to set blocks quickly. This makes it challenging for undersized players to compete at the professional/international level. However, the debate of height versus skill remains prevalent in the volleyball community.

While taller players may have an advantage in terms of physical attributes, skill and coordination also play a significant role in the success of middle blockers.

Over the years, there has been an evolution in the height of middle blockers. The Olympic men’s middle blocker average height has increased from 203cm in 1984 to 206cm in 2016, while women’s has increased from 184cm to 189cm in the same period. This trend is expected to continue, with an estimated average height of 207cm for Olympic middle blockers in 2023.

The increase in height may be attributed to advancements in nutrition and training, as well as a shift in the style of play towards more aggressive and powerful attacks.

Challenges for Undersized Players

Undersized players face significant difficulties when playing the middle blocker position in volleyball due to the critical role that height plays in executing effective blocks. While skills and coordination are important, they cannot compensate for a lack of height. Middle blockers need to be able to set blocks quickly, which requires length. Undersized players cannot react quickly enough to block attacks, leading to a disadvantage on the court.

However, this does not mean that undersized players cannot excel in volleyball. Overcoming limitations through hard work and dedication is possible. Developing skills such as agility, speed, and technique can help undersized players make up for their lack of height. Additionally, changing positions to outside hitter or opposite can be a good alternative for those who are not tall enough to play middle blocker.

While height is a significant advantage in this position, it is not the only factor that contributes to success in volleyball.

Alternative Positions to Consider

One option for players who are not well-suited to the middle blocker position is to consider alternative positions that may better match their physical attributes and skill set.

Two alternative positions that players can consider are the outside hitter and the opposite.

The outside hitter position requires players to be versatile and well-rounded, with skills in both attacking and defending.

This position is often a good fit for players who have good jumping ability, quick reflexes, and excellent ball control.

On the other hand, the opposite position is typically reserved for players who have a strong attacking ability and can hit from the back row.

Opposites often have a height advantage, but what sets them apart is their ability to hit with both hands, making them a double-threat on the court.

When considering a transition to an alternative position, it is important for players to focus on training and skill development in order to excel in their new role.

This may involve working on specific techniques, such as serving, passing, and hitting, as well as developing a better understanding of the game and the roles of other positions.

Coaches can help by providing guidance and support, and encouraging players to take on new challenges.

With hard work and dedication, players can find success in a variety of positions and contribute to their team’s success on the court.

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