Volleyball Digging Skills – Digging Hard Driven Ball
Explore volleyball digging skills and learn how to defend hard driven
When digging powerful volleyball spikes, the player should use the
following "higher contact point" or “volleyball scoop” technique.
What is the goal of defensive player?
The goal is not just to dig the ball up - the defensive player needs to
give setter the opportunity to use all possible variations in
The defender should not take too many risks either. When digging
extremely hard driven ball the defender should aim the ball a little
bit off the net – to avoid passing the ball to the other side of the
net. The defender should never give other team a free ball or a
How to learn to defend those hard spikes?
Volleyball Digging Skills - Defending Hard Driven Spikes
Keeping Contact Point Higher
In order to keep the ball on the own side, the platform may need to
kept “higher” on the level of the shoulders, “pointing towards sealing”
(NOT pointing towards setter/net or the opponent’s side!!).
platform higher helps defenders to dig the ball straight up.
Do NOT Sit Back - Do NOT Put the
Weight on the Heels!
Important tip! When practicing to dig hard driven spikes, it is
important to pay attention that players doesn't have all the weight on
the heels while staying in the low sitting position.
feet a slightly wider than a shoulder-width, then your feet feel light
when the center of the gravity is somewhere between your feet.
Have the weight evenly on the foot - or maybe a little bit
more on the toes than your heels - absolutely do not
put the weight on the heels. Often on the court, you need to be in
the position to move quickly forward, if the opponent tips or the ball
falls in front of you.
Have light feet and be ready to move quickly!
Players need to be ready to move quickly under the ball which reflects
and changes direction. If the player has the weight on the heels, s/he
is not able to move quickly after a tip or roll. Beginning volleyball
players often put the weight on the heel when defending a hard driven
Volleyball Digging Skills - "One Legged Squat" Technique
This technique is extremly useful to dig low balls which fall fairly
close to you.
Often when the player is in the low defensive position, the block slows
down the spike, or the spiker rolls or tips the ball - and the ball
falls in front of the defender.
The player needs to take a quick step to get under the low ball.
The player could take a low long step and lower him/herself
into one legged squat position - and reach far forward by lowering your
upper body paraller to the leg.
In order to perform this digging technique successfully, the player needs to be
quite athletic and have lots of power in the legs and the core (abs,
back and hips).
The player may want to perform a sideways roll after digging the
ball. Read more in the "Volleyball Digging Skills - Diving"-section.
Volleyball Digging Skills – Scoop
If the ball is hit near the defender’s feet
- on the low
level in front of the defender
– which often happens when the
is late and is not fully prepared for the sudden volleyball spike –
players should try to save the ball with the
What is Volleyball Scoop?
The player observes the ball approaching fast and dropping in front of
him/her. The only way to save the ball is to scoop the ball up.
player joins hands together for this two-hand dig and bends forward
toward the approaching ball. This position is not very comfortable. It
is like the regular "ready stance", but upper body has been dropped
down, pushing it "between the legs".
The player reaches toward the
is about the hit the ground in front of the digger. The player scoops
the ball with slightly bent arms – to be exact the
player bends the elbows and wrists to form "a scoop".
should contact the ball with wrist/thumb area - and have
the wrist slightly bent.
When scooping the player is not able to control and direct the ball
therefore it should be used as an emergency hit only. The purpose of it
is just to save the ball from falling into the court.
Volleyball Digging Skills - Playing the Ball by the Foot
Since the rule changes in 2000’s, players have been allowed to play the
ball by the foot.
In some situations the kick could be more appropriate than playing by
arms – sometimes the kick is the only solution to save the ball.
When to Play the Ball by the Foot?
Back Court Kick
Players use the kick to play the ball when it rebounds from the defense
or block far back behind the court. The players sprints back after the
ball and returns the ball with a kick over her own head into the court.
Ball falls quickly near the player
The kick can be a proper way to play the ball when the player fails to
be on the low defensive position and the low ball falls quickly near
One situation in which there is no time to get into low
defensive position to play the ball is when the ball falls between the
net and the block – and the kick could be the only option to save the
Digging Skills Related Pages
Check out volleyball
page to learn how to dig the ball on the
left or right side.