How to Execute a Volleyball Pass

The Key to a Good Volleyball Pass is a Good Platform

STARE JABLONKI, POLAND - JULY 4: Emily Day of USA passes the ball during the match between Austria and USA during Day 4 of the FIVB World Championships on July 4, 2013 in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Adam Nurkiewicz / Getty Images

Volleyball passing is essential. The team that cannot pass the ball, cannot win the game. It is that simple. Passing the ball begins the play and allows a team to get the ball to its hitters to score points. Learning to pass should be your first priority when learning to play.

The key to passing is ball control – learning to judge how fast the ball is coming, what kind of spin it has on it and how you need to adjust in order to get it to the same spot every time. Serves vary in speed and type, but no matter what kind of serve you get, your goal is to have your pass go right to the top of the setter’s head without making him move.

Ready Position

Before the server contacts the ball, get into ready position so that when the ball crosses the net, you will be ready to move to it and pass the ball.

  • Put your feet in a wide but comfortable stance (more than shoulder width apart.)
  • Bend deeply at your knees, bend forward at the waist and put your weight on your toes.
  • Hold your arms loosely slightly in front of you and to your sides.Do not yet connect your hands.

Move to the Ball

Once you see the serve coming, you’ll need to get both feet behind the ball. Get to the spot quickly and then wait for ball to come to you. Keep your hands free as you move and connect them when you get into position.

  • From your ready position, keep your knees bent and move to the right or left with a shuffle or side step. Step out, bring your feet together and then step again.
  • When you get to the correct spot, return to ready position with your hips facing your target, or the place you want to ball to go. Avoid making contact with the ball while moving if at all possible.


Now that you are in the right spot with your feet behind the ball in ready position, it is time to create your “platform.” The platform is the area between your wrists and your elbow where you will contact the ball.

  • With your arms out, face your open palms toward each other, thumbs facing up.
  • Close the fingers on one hand to your palm with your thumb up.
  • Wrap the other hand around the first while still keeping both thumbs up.
  • Place your thumbs down on top of your grasped hands, pointing forward. Make sure your thumbs are lined up right next to each other and at exactly the same height. Do not cross your thumbs.
  • Tilt your wrists down toward the floor.
  • With your arms locked straight and your hands at waist height, angle your elbows slightly inward as much as you can without changing your hand position. This will expose the flat side of your inner forearm and create your platform.

Passing Motion

  • To control the pass, contact the ball in the middle of your platform, the flat, fleshy area between your elbows and your wrists. Do not contact the ball on your hands, wrists or the inside of your elbows.
  • Bump the ball with your hips facing your target. You may need to push it a little to get it where it needs to go.
  • To take some speed off of the ball, give a little with your platform when contact is made instead of pushing. In other words, instead of pushing forward with your platform as you contact the ball, do the opposite. Let your arms sink back a little when the ball contacts your forearms. This will take some of the heat off of it and allow you to keep it on your side of the net.