Big Jon Guida is making his way through the AVP Next Tour with partner Jake Elliot. They just won last weekend’s AVP Next, East End Volleyball’s stop in Hilton Head Island, SC (Jon’s home turf).
A few weeks back, Jon asked for a little guidance with his blocking. I put together a piece for him which I later shared here: Blocking Your Way to the AVP Tour. Following is more for Jon, as he progresses throughout the summer. I am using pictures (as we all know they speak a thousand words) to help him to tweak his game. At this point in his volleyball career, Jon needs minor tweaking to the physical part of his game and more focus on reading the game, reading the situation, playing in the moment, and trusting himself and his partner.
Jon Guida blocking in Hilton Head
Being 6’6″ must be nice. Having a 35″ + vertical must also be nice. I have neither, therefore, I coach 🙂 Jon’s doing a great job reaching into the angle, but I have three tweaks with his form:
- “Shrug” – I believe one of the most under-coached, under-rated moves in blocking: shrugging the shoulder up to the ears. This does a few things: 1) Provides a couple more inches in reach, 2) “Locks” or tightens muscles in your shoulder and arms – a stronger block, 3) forces the head down which creates a tighter seal on the net, better penetration, 4) the head down also protects the face (again, must be nice to be Big Jon or Phil Dalhausser – see picture below).
- Hand Position – Notice his left hand. Looks to me as if it is pointed slightly upward, towards the sky. An easy tool for an opposing hitter. Jon needs to keep his hands facing into the court or “pretend there is a campfire in the middle of the opponent’s court and warm his hands over the fire!
- Fingers Spread – His fingers could be spread wider and tighter. Sometimes a finger or two can block a softer hit shot. I’ve heard coaches say, “Thumbs to the sky” and “Mickey Mouse Ears” as cues. I also believe that the “Shrug” helps to tighten the fingers.
Now let’s compare with the best blocker in the world Phil Dalhausser:
Phil Dalhausser perfect blocking form
- Great Shrug – Notice the seal of the net, the penetration. His shoulder and arms are “locked”. No one is going to tool this block. His head is down. He could even get this block with his head or the ball might go straight up in the air for Todd Rogers to recover.
- Great Hand Position – Looks as if Phil is “warming his hands over the campfire” quite nicely; both hands are down, facing the center of the court.
- Great Fingers – Wide, strong and tight. “Thumbs to the sky”. It even looks as if his pinky on his left hand is turned in a bit more to protect from getting tooled. Awesome!
These minor tweaks are the difference between good and great. Keep in mind, Phil Dalhausser led the AVP Tour with ‘only’ 2.12 Blocks/Game last year. Make the details your advantage to get one more block.