How to Make a Volleyball Dig

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 14: Sulaiman Saad of Qatar digs the ball in the Men's Bronze Medal Volleyball Match against Saudi Arabia during the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 at Al-Rayyan Indoor Hall on December 14, 2006 in Doha, Qatar. Saudi Arabia defeated Qatar 3-2 to win the Bronze Medal.
Volley Ball Dig. Andrew Wong / Getty Images

The volleyball dig can keep your team in the game and is a key skill to develop. When the ball is attacked by your opponent, your job is to keep the ball from hitting the floor. A dig is a pass of a hard-driven ball from the other team. Like a pass, your arm position and platform remain the same. The difference is that the ball is coming from a high point above the net and hit in a downward trajectory. When passing the ball is coming from 30 feet away and usually below the height of the net. You must react quickly and adjust accordingly.


It is important to keep your knees bent and remain in a low stance for your ready position. You should be lower than you are to receive serve. Keep your weight balanced on your toes so you can spring forward or to the side to get the ball. Bend at the waist to put your shoulders over your knees and keep your arms out to the side just wider than your knees.


Get into position according to the defense your team is playing. You are responsible for getting the ball up in your section of the court. Watch the ball and be ready for anything -- a setter dump, a tip, a hard driven ball or to chase down a hit that goes high off your blocker's hands.

Watch the Hitter

Once the ball has been set, watch the hitter to glean any clues about where the ball might be hit. Where are the shoulders facing? Where is the hitter's body in relation to the ball? What are the hitter's placement options? How well is the block set up? Are they taking or giving the line? Is there a hole in the block?

The answers to these questions will help you to get in position to dig the ball. Get in front of the hitter's shoulder. If the block is solid, you may want to move up for the tip. If it is not, stay back, get into the hole and get ready for the hard driven ball.

The Goal

The goal is to dig the ball with both arms, so once you see where the ball is headed, bring your arms together, connect your hands and create your flat platform. Do not swing your arms. If the ball is hit to your right, bring your left arm to meet your right on the right side of your body. Do not connect your hands in the center of your body and swing your arms out to the ball. This helps you to control the hard driven ball.

Sometimes, it is impossible to get to the ball with two hands. In that case, it is more important to get the ball up than to use perfect form. Make a fist with your hand and reach to the ball with one arm if you have to and get the ball up in the reach of one of your teammates.

Overhand Dig

If the ball comes off the block hard and high, you may need to reach up over your head to get it. You can strike the ball with the heel of your palm, making sure it goes up and toward the net, remaining on your side. The overhand dig is not as easy to control as a standard dig, but it can be used as a last resort.


If the ball at a distance from you and you do not have enough time to get there by moving your feet, you may want to dive for it. Take a step toward the ball, reach out with your body and sprawl, playing through the ball and angling it back toward the setter at the net. Practice diving without the ball so you can learn how to avoid landing hard on your hip, knees or elbows. Always dive out, not down so you can slide, not thump when you hit the floor. If done right, diving should not hurt.

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