“Tooling the block” is the term for when you purposely ricochet the ball off the block and out of bounds. This is something much more easily said then done, but if you can master it then you’ll never approach a block in fear again.
To accomplish this useful but elusive feat, it’s vital that you time your approach correctly. If you’re too late on your approach you’ll be coming down as you hit, which will make pushing the ball off the blocker’s hands much more difficult.
While you’re in the air, you need to either:
The second one takes a lot more precision, because it’s easy to miss the top of the hands and hit the ball out of bounds. The first one is easier to pull off, but it does take a whole lot of practice.
My favorite way to work on this is to have a friend stand on a chair or other stable platform and hold their hands up as if blocking while you attack. This is a good way to practice because they’re even more strong and stable than a real blocker — who is up in the air with no support — would be, meaning if you can tool them you can definitely tool a real blocker.
Practice both the “wipe” — pushing the ball out of bounds off the blocker’s hands — and the “touch” — rolling the ball off the tips of their fingers – until you’re comfortable with both.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.