I recently came across a photo on Flickr that forced me to write about this blocking technique, because there is no way that I could have orchestrated a better illustration of why it’s crucial to pike when blocking.
In the photo, the blocker on the left is piking, while the blocker on the right is not.
There isn’t much difference in their heights after the jump, maybe just a couple of inches. But the blocker on the left is considerably farther over the net because he’s piking, and we all know how important it is to penetrate over the net when we block.
There are a lot of people who haven’t ever heard of this skill, but as you can see it can make a big difference in penetration and height during the block. What is means is that you bend at the waist, bringing your feet and your hands toward one another very slightly. As the photo illustrates, this allows you to penetrate further over the net without hitting the tape. Think of it like trying to touch your toes while you jump.
Piking is pretty hard to get used to, but as you can see from the picture it’s definitely worth practicing. The hardest part is striking a balance between penetrating over the net as far as you can but not getting all caught up in the net. This also requires a decent amount of ab strength, so if you’re having trouble pulling it off throw in a couple dozen more crunches every day and see how you do.
I recommend practicing this A LOT without a ball or a hitter so you can figure out where your balance between penetrating over the net and not hitting the tape is. Practice piking from a stationary stance first, and then incorporate it into your blocks as you move across the net.
This is a sample of the type of instruction you could be getting in your inbox if you were signed up for my instructional email series. So, what are you waiting for?