Learning Volleyball Digging - How to dig hard driven spike, tips.. how to dig overhead

Volleyball digging has few different techniques which help volleyball players to direct the ball to the hands of the setter or just to keep the ball in play.

Volleyball Digging - Basic Position

Digging posture is very close to the serve receive posture. Position of legs and body are very much like in underhand or overhead serve receive.

Foot position in volleyball defense

When digging the player should place the feet “wider than her/his shoulders apart to give the player a well balanced stand.

In other words, on horizontal direction, the player positions legs wider than shoulders. In vertical direction, the other foot is located in front of the other.

On the passing moment the arms should be completely extended (except in volleyball scoop) and joined together.

Without going into details notice that hands can be folded together with few different ways.

Contacting the Ball

When the player contacts the ball, she should remember NOT to swing the ball heavily with the arms. When digging a free ball, instead of swinging the arms, the player should just "direct the ball with arms" and follow through with the whole body.

Coaches should pay extra attention to this unnecessary “arm swing” – it is one of the most common false in volleyball techniques for beginning volleyball players.

Harder the ball travels, the less movement players needs to do. If the spike is hard, there is no movement needed – the player needs to absorb the power instead.

Aim Easier Balls Directly to the Setter - Shoot them!

This basic digging position can be used to dig balls that are easier - for example free balls - or the balls which are not that hardly driven. The player is able to control the ball in front of her body in the optimal digging position. These balls that travel with less speed should be aimed directly to the setter’s hands.

If player is able to control the ball, it is important to send “shoot”-like ball with no arch to the setter since it quickens the offense. In modern volleyball the ball is sent to the setter as fast as possible.

Volleyball Digging – The ball on the Side

Often on the volleyball court - especially when playing at the higher level where the ball travels fasters - the ball may not be landing the optimal position directly in front of the digger.


When the hard driven volleyball spike approaches the player, often the player is not able to move directly behind the ball. In that case the player may need to step out with the one foot and move the arm platform - to the side which the ball falls.


When contacting ball on the side an athlete needs to pay attention that the arm platform is directed towards the setter.

It is important the other hand/arm is placed higher than the other one – in other words, the platform should not be “flat”. If it is flat, the ball rebounds behind the player towards the back of the court.

Higher Contact Point - On Hard Driven Balls

Often those balls on the side are contacted higher on the chest/shoulders height - especially if the ball is hard driven. It is important for players to practice digging those hard driven balls in practice. Check the following link to learn more.

Volleyball Digging Related Pages

To read how to dig hard driven ball, go to Volleyball Digging Skills

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