Passing is one of the main skills in the game of volleyball. It is essential for all players to know this skill and practice it often. Everyone on the team will pass at some point or another in every game. In this article we will discuss techniques and strategies that will help you become a better passer.
We will also cover some tips to remember when passing the volleyball. A team must play defense to win a game, so being able to pass well is the key to a great defense. If there is not good passing on a team, then there will not be a set or hit on offense.
What Is A Pass In Volleyball?
The pass in volleyball is the first touch of the volleyball when it comes over the net. Players bring their forearms together to form a platform to move the ball up to a player. The pass is used to place the ball near the net so the setter can set it. It is also used to keep the ball under control to get it back over the net.
Many coaches and players will often say that the pass is the most important skill in volleyball. If your team doesn’t start with a good pass, then having a good set and hit is almost impossible. I know I have heard coaches say, “A good offense always starts will a great pass.” Using the strategies and tips below will lead you to achieve more great passes.
How To Pass A Volleyball
When starting out playing volleyball, passing is the skill that is taught first. The reason it is taught first is because it is used the most often and keeps the ball under control on the court. Below is a list of steps to use when passing a volleyball.
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent.
- Stagger your feet so that your dominant foot is 2-3 inches in front of your non-dominant foot.
- Bend over so your shoulders are over your knees and arms are apart.
- As the ball is coming toward you, move toward the ball get your body behind it, and face your target.
- When you get to the ball, bring your arms and hands together.
- Create a platform by putting your arms straight out. Then bring your hands together by making a fist with your non-dominant hand and wrap your dominant hand around the fist so that thumbs are down.
- Keep your hips below the level of the ball.
- Using your platform, contact the ball on your forearms above your wrists and below your elbows.
When performing a pass, remember to not swing your arms when contacting the ball. Put your whole body into the pass as to avoid an uncontrollable pass. Be sure to angle your arms and shoulder when passing the ball to your intended target.
Tips To Be A Better Passer
Being an accurate passer in volleyball takes a lot of self-discipline and control. Passing the ball effectively requires players to keep the ball in control on the court so their team can make some great offensive plays. All positions on the court pass the volleyball, but the positions that pass the most are the libero and defensive specialist. Listed below are some tips to remember when becoming a better passer.
- Keep both wrists together when passing. This will help the ball stay in control and not shank off into another direction.
- Make contact with your forearms. Contact the ball above your wrists and below your elbows.
- Keep your elbows straight when contacting the ball. This gives you a wider platform and provides maximum control of the ball.
- Don’t swing your arms when passing. Not much arm movement is needed to make a successful pass. Be sure to lift the ball with your arms rather than swing them.
- Keep your dominant foot inches in front of your non-dominant foot. This helps you move quicker to the ball.
- Face your target when passing the ball. This will help get the ball to your target.
- Get your body behind the ball. Don’t reach with your arms, move quickly with your feet first then pass the ball.
If you perform these tips while playing volleyball, you will be sure to become a better passer. I know it may seem like a lot to remember at first, so try picking out a couple at a time to focus on.
Volleyball Passing Drills
The best way to get better at passing in volleyball is to practice. The more you practice the easier it will be to get the ball to your target. Listed below are some drills that will help any player improve their passing.
Difficulty Level: Beginner
This drill is all about the fundamentals of passing a volleyball. There are three positions the body needs to do to pass correctly. They are Ready Position, Arms Straight Out, and Form Platform. When teaching this drill, it’s best to start with the 3rd position first.
Form Platform (Position 3): Start the drill with this position. Have some players up at the net on one knee facing another player with a volleyball. Have the player on one knee hold out their platform while the other player tosses the ball. When the ball comes to the passer, they pass the ball to their partner.
Arms Straight Out (Position 2): With players still on their knee, work on keeping arms straight out without bending and passing the ball to their partner.
Ready Position (Position 1): Keep players on their knee with their arms out and have them step with their foot to pass the ball.
- Be sure to start the drill with forming the platform as this is a very important aspect of passing.
- Make sure players do not swing at the ball, but keeping their arms out straight.
Serve And Pass Drill
Diffuculty Level: Intermediate
To start this drill have two passers and one setter on each side of the court. Also, have a server on each side. The servers on each court serve the ball to the passers on the other side. The passer’s goal is to pass a “good pass” to the setter. If the pass is good, it is counted as one. Each side needs to get to ten good passes before switching with other players.
- If passers are struggling to get passes to the setter, lower the amount needed to switch. Also, if they are going too quickly, have the passers get to a higher number.
- To make it more challenging, the passers need to get a certain amount of “good passes” in a row to the setter.
Hula Hoop Passing Game
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
This game is played in front of the ten foot line. Players earn a point when the ball goes inside their hula hoop. If the ball touches the hula hoop or falls outside the hoop within the ten foot line the other player earns a point. If the ball goes outside the ten foot line and does not go through the hoop, that player gets the point.
Two players stand on opposite sides of the net each with a hula hoop. One player starts the game by tossing it over the net to the other side. The player on the other side moves their hula hoop so the ball lands inside it. After the ball bounces, that player then passes it over to the other side. Keep playing until a certain number of points is reached or time runs out.
This drill is great for movement to the ball and getting behind it to make an effective pass.
- Modify the court size so that your team can be successful.
- Be sure players are using the fundamentals of passing. (bend knees, arms out, good platform, step toward the target when passing)
Passer In The Middle
Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced
This drill is played like the game Monkey In The Middle. A passer is in the middle between two tossers. One tosser starts the drill by tossing the ball to the passer in the middle. The passer in the middle then turns their body and passes it to the other tosser. The tosser catches the ball and tosses it back to the passer.
This keeps going until the passer has made a certain amount of passes or time runs out. The players then switch positions so that there is another passer in the middle. This drill is great for practicing moving to the ball and getting the pass to the target.
- Be sure players are experienced with the fundamentals of passing.
- This drill is not for beginners as there is a lot of moving and knowing exactly where the target is.
Quick Up Passing
Difficulty Level: Beginner/Intermediate
In this drill the player starts by lying face-down on the court facing the coach. When the coach slaps the ball, it is the player’s cue to get up by pushing with their arms. Right after the coach slaps the ball they need to bounce it to the player and the player will pass it. This is repeated until all players have a chance to pass.
Practicing this drill will help players get to their feet quickly and move to the ball while making a good pass.
- Be sure players do not get up before the coach slaps the ball.
- Make it more challenging by seeing how many good passes the team can get in a certain amount of time.
You can also visit The Art Of Coaching Volleyball to learn some more passing drills.
The skill of passing is essential for all players to perform effectively in volleyball. Every position on the court passes. Knowing and performing the passing tips above can give you an advantage against your opponent. Practicing the drills will help you become more accurate with your passing.
If you are just beginning your volleyball journey or need some friendly reminders about the game, check out our article Volleyball Tips For Beginners.