There is nothing as effective as blocking a shot, if you want to devastate the other team mentally. Preventing that carefully prepared scoring opportunity can really help to demoralize the other team, as well as keep the score on your side. Knowing what constitutes a legal block is important, since you don’t want to have gone to the effort of trying to block, only to incur a foul.

Various sports have different rules for blocking shots legally. In basketball, you need to make sure that you do not touch the opposing player. This is obvious but there are many other chances that your actions can earn a foul or be disqualified. You want to make sure that you do not touch the net or the rim either. This can lead to a penalty if you are hit with goaltending or interference. You also need to prevent your arm from coming down during the block since this is also not permitted in basketball.

Make sure that you are able to leap high enough to block your opponent’s shot. If you can’t get the height, the ball may simply go over your hands and end up dropping into the basket. This is not what you want, so doing exercises that can help you increase the verticality of your leaps. Focus on squat jumps and other leg exercises that can help you build up your jumping muscles. Don’t neglect your arms, back or abdominals either, but you want to make sure that you are able to leap as high as possible.

However, if you think that blocking shots is all about jumping, you are going to miss a lot of blocking opportunities. This is because you need to learn how to read body language and tell when and where another player is going to set up for a shot. Because you want to make sure you are blocking the shot early on before the ball has travelled very far, knowing when the player you are covering is about to go for this is a valuable skill indeed. If you watch the game before you get on the court, you will begin to learn how to read players for the tell tale signs that they are about to shoot.

Of course, you want to make sure that you are handling the ball in such a way that you give maximum advantage to your team, even after the shot has been blocked. Learn how to hit the ball away from the other team and send it in the direction of your teammates. If you can block a shot and allow your team to get control of the ball, it may mean that what started as a chance for the one team to score could end up with your team getting points.

Learning how to block shots can be an important tool for increasing your team’s chances of success. It is mentally intimidating and can give you team the reputation of being truly unstoppable.

Picture credit: Dave HoggCreative Commons Attribution