Do volleyball players wear elbow pads and arm sleeves? BEST Options

Not every volleyball player wears arm sleeves or elbow pads. However, they both have their function. Arm sleeves can help you to remove sweat and could help you to recover faster after training as they provide some pressure on your arms.

Elbow pads are mainly used by younger players to reduce the impact if they had to dive (or dig as we call it in volleyball terms) for a ball. Professional players are better at reducing the impact by using a specific technique to do this. So which ones should you get? Let’s dive into it.

Is there a difference between elbow pads and arm sleeves? 

Yes, there is a difference between elbow pads and arm sleeves. Elbow pads have padding whereas arm sleeves don’t. They also have a different reason to wear them. Elbow pads focus on reducing the impact of a fall. Arm sleeves have another function. You can compare arm sleeves with long socks. Both have as main function that you have fewer issues when you slide over the floor.

I have used elbow pads before as they can really reduce the impact when you dig a ball. As I don’t slide that often over the floor, I don’t use arm sleeves that often but other players really like it as it reduces the impact of the volleyball as well. They might also like the look of it. Not a lot of professional players wear arm sleeves but some do. 

Some players think that arm sleeves make you recover faster after a game as they provide pressure and this should have a positive impact. I haven’t noticed this impact but it might be different for each player.

The fabric is quite stretchy so it shouldn’t affect your movements and passes too much. It takes some time to get used to at first but you might like it. If you sweat a lot, they make it easy to wipe away the sweat so that you don’t lose ball control because your hands are wet. 

Arm sleeves are quite easy to wash whereas elbow pads are harder to maintain. This is also one of the reasons that some players pick arm sleeves over elbow pads but in general, they have a very different functions so it is not the main reason that people would pick one over the other. Elbow pads are not that expensive so it is not a big problem if you have to replace them after a few months. 

Best arm sleeves or passing sleeves that actually help:

The best volleyball arm sleeves (also called passing sleeves) depend on your situation. Some people want to make sure that these are really tight whereas other players prefer to have them somewhat loose. They can’t be too loose as they will move too much while you play. The length of the sleeves is important as well.

I have heard a lot of good things about these arm sleeves of Nike: You can choose for yourself if you like them or not. The main difference between arm sleeves is the fabric that is used and the elastics that are used. Some of them use cheap fabrics that breakfast and smell due to the sweat. I would buy more expensive arm sleeves if you want to get them. The small increase in price offers a big quality improvement. 

For arms sleeves, the fit is really important. They should be tight so that they don’t fall off but at the same time they should be comfortable. Some manufacturers use fabric that stretches and stitch parts in it that hold the arm sleeve in position. This makes it more expensive but can increase comfort. 

Picking the color for arm sleeves is important, especially if you sweat a lot. Sweat can discolor the arm sleeves quite fast. Therefore I never buy white arm sleeves as sweat stains can get quite obvious on them. You have to replace these quite fast for this reason. 

Most arm sleeves are quite easy to maintain, you just have to wash them by hand from time to time and you are good to go. You will have to replace them every 6 months anyway if you play a lot as the fabric will become looser. Nothing is more annoying than arm sleeves that keep dropping while you are playing. It can be very distracting to have to reposition them all the time during a game. Arm sleeves are not that expensive so it is better to buy new ones from time to time.

It is a good idea to try several brands and see what works for you. Every brand has its own approach to design. I would stay away from cheaper options as these often use materials that are lower quality and therefore don’t last as long. It is just not worth it to save a few dollars if the quality is not that good for something that you will use a lot. 

If your arms get in contact with the floor a lot, these might rip over time so you have to replace them quite regularly. The friction between your arms and the floor can damage the stitching or the fabric. This is another reason to invest slightly more in qualitative brands. Some products are not designed with this usage in mind and therefore will break quite rapidly if you wear them while sliding over the ground. 

The arm sleeves of Nike are not specifically designed for volleyball players but they do a good job overall. I like that they feel very soft and you don’t notice them too much while you play. They consist of Spandex, Polyester, and Silicone. This combination of materials makes sure that they stay in the same position while you play but can also deal with the sweat. 

Other brands such as SportsTrail use nylon and that material is stronger and stretchier. You can try both and see what works for you. I prefer polyester as I enjoy the look and feel of that material but nylon should in theory be a better material for arm sleeves in volleyball. 

What is also important to check is how the arm sleeves will stay in place. Some brands use elastic at the bottom and top of the product. This is not very comfortable as this presses on your arm and is also a part that can break quite easily. Other brands add another elastic band in the middle so that the pressure is more spread out.

Arm sleeves can therefore take some time to get used to but after a wash and wearing them for a while, they will stretch more and often get more comfortable. You can always ask another team member to try his or hers to see if it is something for you. I have played with them for a few years and enjoyed doing so but nowadays I tend to play without them as it takes quite some maintenance to wash them.

Some people wear arm sleeves because they like the aesthetics. Then it depends on personal preferences what you like. There are a lot of color options and sizes out there. An example of a volleyball arm pad can be found below:

Nowadays there are some arm sleeves that add some padding in the front. This helps reduce the impact of the ball on your arm. This can help younger players as they are not used to catching a ball and the force might be overwhelming at first. The disadvantage of this is that the padding can affect the trajectory of the ball.

Therefore I wouldn’t recommend these for a long period of time. It can be fine for a few training sessions here and there but eventually, you will have to be able to deal with the impact and control the ball. It is only if you push through this initial phase where it hurts, that you will be able to deal with it. Often the hand position is not correct or you don’t catch the ball early enough. If you use arm sleeves with padding, you will not learn the correct way to catch a ball so therefore I wouldn’t recommend these.

Elbow pads don’t affect how you play the ball so these are fine but arm sleeves with padding are just a temporary help and you shouldn’t use these during competition as you will learn the wrong reflexes and movements.   

Best volleyball elbow pads for arms

Once again, you have elbow pads in different shapes, sizes, and colors. This depends on personal preferences and I would recommend that you try several to see which one you like. You will spend a lot of time wearing them so make sure that you are comfortable with them.

Personally, I like these the best as they fit my arms just perfectly: You might ask your team members to try on theirs to see which ones you like or you can go to a store and ask to wear a few of them. 

There are also several types of protection that help to slow down your fall. Some use foam, whereas others use gels to reduce the impact. I personally like gels for this as they are better at absorbing a fall but you can see what you like best.

Foam might be more flexible and therefore easier to wear. If you play volleyball inside, the floor shouldn’t be too hard and standard elbow pads should suffice. If you play volleyball on rough surfaces such as concrete, you might look into elbow pads with better padding. There are not a lot of big brands that offer elbow pads as these are not that popular. Most players buy knee pads but elbow pads are less common. 

Elbow pads that have been specifically designed for volleyball mainly target beginning players as not a lot of professionals wear them. The reviews seem quite good for this product so some players see the advantage of wearing them. It is one size fits all but they might be too small for older players. 

It is also important that you don’t expect wonders from these. They might move while you play and therefore not be able to reduce the movement. You will still feel the impact if you land hard. Therefore it can be important to work on your falling technique if you find that you land too hard. There are several ways to reduce the impact by changing the way you throw your body.

Make sure to discuss this with your coach or other players to discuss what is possible. Larger players can use another approach than smaller ones but overall you shouldn’t land too hard as you might have to dig multiple times during a game. Make sure that you find a style that works for you. This can take quite some practice but there are definitely approaches out there that help you to reduce the impact. 

To conclude we can say that there are more options for arm sleeves than there are for elbow pads as not a lot of people wear the latter. You can choose between different colors, fabrics, sizes, and designs. These can all have an impact on the look and feel of these products. You have to try several to see which ones you like the best. Some teams already provide the brand that you have to buy. This makes sure that everyone on the team is looking uniform. That makes the choice a lot easier.