The Dig In Volleyball Complete Guide

The Dig In Volleyball: Complete Guide

A dig in volleyball is one of the most important defensive plays to help win the game. When you dig successfully it keeps your team in the volley. In this article we will explain how to get a dig and give you some strategies/tips to become successful at digging.

What Counts As A Dig In Volleyball?

A dig is a defensive pass that keeps the ball from hitting the floor on your side of the net after an attack from the opposing team. An attack is anytime a player strategically hits the ball with overhand contact onto the opponent’s court. 

Being able to dig a volleyball when playing defense is very important. If you can dig the ball correctly and get it up to the setter, that gives your team an opportunity to attack the ball and score a point. 

It is crucial to be in your defensive zone on the court, so you can position yourself to dig the ball. The direction the ball is being hit should be predictable most of the time. You can watch the hitters body motion to position yourself for the dig. 

Be sure to also watch the way the hitters’ shoulders and hips are facing when they approach the net. You should be able to determine where the ball is going and position yourself to get the dig. 

What Types Of Digs Are In Vollleyball?

What Types Of Digs Are In Vollleyball

Most of the time the ball is not going to come right to you when playing in a game, so knowing how to dig properly is very important. You must be able to read where the ball is going and head to that spot quickly. When you get to that spot, you may need to dig the ball. In this section, we will discuss different kinds of digs you can use to make those great defensive plays. 

Remember to get in the proper stance when playing defense. Be sure to have your legs shoulder length apart and knees bent. Bend your arms out in front of your body and be ready to defend.


The traditional dig is the most common dig used in volleyball. Players remain on their feet when performing this dig. This type of dig requires you to anticipate where the ball is coming and quickly get into position. 

When you are in position, be sure to lower your hips and get your forearms underneath the ball while forming your platform. The ball will hit your arms and pop up into the air. Your feet should be facing where you want the ball to be passed. The ball should end up in the middle of the court close to your team’s 10-foot line. 


The dive is used when a player cannot stay on their feet when digging a volleyball. The ball may be coming over too fast or you did not get to your position quick enough. This dig requires you to go to the ground to save the ball.

When diving, first start by getting low and taking a step to the side of the ball. Next, extend your arms into your platform and pass the ball. After making the pass, dive onto the floor with your stomach and push back your arms on the floor. By diving onto your stomach, you save your hips and knees from injury. If you cannot extend a full platform to make the pass, you can form a fist and hit with that arm or use the pancake.       


The overhead dig is used when the ball was attacked and is going over your head. Players remain on their feet during this dig and put their hands up over their head. This dig requires you to use your fingers when hitting the ball kind of like a set. 

When performing the overhead dig, be sure your legs are bent. That will help you push the ball up into the air. When you contact the ball with your fingers it gives you more control to get it up to the setter’s position. This will take some practice.

Hands together and cup: The hands together and cup technique can also be used for the overhead dig. This dig is used when you know the ball is coming to you at a fast pace. This is an emergency move players use to dig the ball when they don’t have time to get into a digging position.

When performing this dig, the player cups their hands together above their head with their thumbs behind. The goal of this dig is to pop the ball up without any extra moves, so the ball stays in play. 

How Do You Dig A Volleyball?

How Do You Dig A Volleyball

Being able to dig a ball is essential when playing the game of volleyball, especially as a defensive player. There are many times that the ball is going to need to be saved to keep it in play. In this section, we will go over techniques and strategies on digging a volleyball.

Watch Opposing Team

When playing defense, be sure to observe the opposing team’s strategies. Pay attention to where/how the setter is setting and who they are setting. If they take the ball in front of them, they are probably trying to push it to an outside hitter. If they take the ball directly above them, watch for the backset. For the middle hitter, it may be a quick short set.

Once you figure out where the ball is going, that will help you get into position better. You also may notice the setter prefers setting to a certain position, so the ball will go there most of the time.

Move To The Ball

After you have figured out where the ball is going, move quickly into position to make the dig. With your knees bent and your body low to the ground, make sure your hands are at your sides and run to the ball fast. Do not run with your hands together as this will slow you down.

By being low, it will be easier to make a quick step forward or to the side to get the ball. Be sure not to hesitate and use your instincts to get to the ball.

Be In Ready Position

When playing a defensive position be sure to stand with your knees slightly bent and lean slightly forward so that your shoulders are in front of your knees. Also, make sure your hands are extended in front of you about 3 or 4 inches in front of your knees. Before moving to your digging position, keep your hands apart so that you can move quickly to the ball.

Once you get to where the ball is going, put your hands together with one fist placed inside the palm of the other hand. Both thumbs should be side by side and pointed to the floor. When digging, keep your thumbs pointed to the floor. This will create a nice platform which you will use to dig the ball up in the air. 


Being able to dig in volleyball is an important skill to have when playing the game of volleyball. It keeps the ball in play on your side of the court and prevents the other team from scoring. 

Be sure to practice the proper techniques for digging as often as you can. Practice drills and repetitions will help you get used to the ball hitting your arms hard and help you get used to moving your arms to absorb the impact.

If you are just beginning to learn the game of volleyball, be sure to check out our article Volleyball Tips For Beginners.

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