Do arm passing sleeves help with volleyball? (Answered)

Arm sleeves are worn by quite a lot of players as they can help during a volleyball match. They even have several functions: from draining sweat, keeping you warm, recovering faster after a game, making it more comfortable to slide over the floor,  removing the sting when you touch the ball to being a fashion item.

Arm sleeves fulfill all of these functions. Not every volleyball player wears this as they might find it uncomfortable or that it restricts their movement. Let’s discuss arm sleeves and their advantages and disadvantages in more detail below.    

Why do girls wear long sleeves in volleyball?

Some players prefer to wear long sleeves instead of arm sleeves. Both offer the same advantages that we discussed before (keeping you warm, making it easier to slide over the floor, absorbing sweat, and so on). Arm sleeves offer more flexibility because you can wash them separately and mix them with other shirts. You can also wear an arm sleeve on one arm if you want to, offering more flexibility. You can also take them off more easily. There are also shorter arm sleeves if you want to wear these. 

 A long sleeve t-shirt might be more comfortable as the sleeves stay in place. 

Arm sleeves are not just worn in high school but also by professional volleyball players. This shows that a lot of players see the advantages of wearing this.

Let’s list the reasons why you should wear volleyball sleeves:

  • Picking up sweat. The court can be really slippery when someone sweats on the floor. Arm sleeves can help you to wipe off your hands, shoes, or forehead. Especially at the end of the match, players can sweat a lot and this can help you to remove it fast.
  • Making your arms less tired. In theory the pressure that these provide should help your body and provide a calming effect. Some players don’t feel an effect from this though.
  • You can slide over the floor and this can create an annoying feeling. Arm sleeves can help with this so that you slide better over the floor without feeling a sting. Let’s look at how pancaking a volleyball makes you slide over the floor:
  • When you receive and underhanded pass, the ball can leave a sting. Arm sleeves can help to reduce this. Don’t expect miracles from this though as you will still feel it.
  • During winter it can be quite cold in some sports arenas. This is a huge area and it may be too costly to warm it up. Therefore arm sleeves can help you to keep warm at the beginning of the match.  You can always take them off once you feel that they are no longer needed.
  • Arm sleeves come in a lot of colors. Famous brands such as Nike produce these and they look quite cool. Some players wear it as a cool fashion item. 

Some of the disadvantages of wearing arm sleeves:

  • You have to spend a lot of time maintaining them. Since they are quite difficult to wash, you have to wash them by hand or be careful when you use your washing machine. They get dirty quite fast because of all the sweat.
  • If you are used to play with them, it can be annoying if you forgot them at home. You always have to check if you have them with you when you leave the house.
  • The colors have to match with all the outfits of the team. This can mean that you will need several pairs. It doesn’t look very nice if the colors of the arm sleeves don’t match with the rest of the outfit.
  • They can be distracting during a match as they can move on your arm. If you have to get them back in place, you will lose your focus. 

Are volleyball sleeves legal?

In most competitions, arm sleeves can be worn. From the NCAA championships to the Olympics, players wear arm sleeves. It is always possible that some competitions don’t allow them so you have to check the rules of the tournament but in general arm sleeves are legal in volleyball games. At the end of the day, it is just a piece of fabric so it won’t provide a lot of advantages over players that don’t wear this. They are also worn in a lot of other sports and some people exaggerate the advantage that this offer. Big brands such as Nike offer arm sleeves and this indicates that this won’t be disallowed any time soon. 

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

The arm sleeves should be clean and no sharp objects should stick out of them as this could damage the ball or injure players on your team. Arm sleeves can tear and you have to throw them away when this happens. 

They are not worn that often by beach volleyball players as it is often quite hot outside already. Some players wear sweatbands around their arms or head as an alternative to arm sleeves. You won’t slide over a hard floor in beach volleyball so arm sleeves offer fewer advantages than they do to indoor volleyball players. 

In the Olympics, most national competitions and the international tournaments arm sleeves are allowed as they don’t give an unfair advantage. Everyone can wear one or two if they want. Therefore it is not forbidden. If studies come out that show that they provide certain advantages, they might get forbidden in the future. Arm sleeves are also allowed in other sports so I don’t expect them to become forbidden any time soon.

Why do athletes wear sleeves on one arm?

It might be a weird view but some athletes wear a sleeve on one arm. Even during the Olympics, some players prefer to do this. What is going on? This can have different reasons. They can use this to wipe off their shoes. Some players sweat a lot and arm sleeves make it easy to quickly wipe this off.

This can help with ball control and also makes the floor less slippery. One arm sleeve is often enough for this as they are quite big and can absorb a lot of moisture. It is also possible that they see it as a fashion statement and want to feature the brand that is sponsoring them.

Some players want additional support for the arm that they use a lot. For example, outside hitters often use the same arm a lot as they have to attack. Defenders often use both arms to intercept and pass the ball. Servers and hitters often use only one arm to attack. This decreases the need to have arm sleeves on both arms.

To conclude we can state that arm sleeves have several advantages but also some disadvantages. They are more flexible than long-sleeved shirts because you can take them off easily.

They help to drain sweat, are a fashion statement, can help to reduce the sting of sliding or receiving the ball, and could also help you to recover after the match. A lot of players enjoy wearing them and they are allowed in a lot of competitions, such as the Olympics.

Don’t expect too much of them though as they won’t solve all the issues that you are having. You will have to see for yourself if you enjoy wearing them. They are allowed in most competitions and there are no rules that prohibit them from being used in most matches so far.

We have discussed what professional volleyball players wear here.