How to dive in volleyball: a STEP by step explanation of this skill for beginners

Diving or digging is a defensive action in volleyball. After the opponent has pushed the ball over the field, you have to make sure that it doesn’t touch the ground. Sometimes you have to run and jump to get this done. This is called digging. You also have to pass the ball to a player on your team so it is more than just keeping the ball in the air. Digging can be quite spectacular as some players are flying over the court so that they can catch the ball. In this post, we are going to give a step-by-step explanation of how you have to do this.

Who else than an Olympic athlete is good at explaining this? In the video below Rachael Adams explains how she dives or digs. 

Step 1 Position your feet on the ground.

You have to make sure that you don’t fall back when the ball comes towards you. A lot of players get nervous when this happens and they move too much. Therefore it is important that you have a stable position and that your feet are clearly aligned on the floor. They have to be quite wide so that you can feel that you are standing in a very stable position. Make sure that your shoes are not slippery by wiping them off if needed. If the ball is suddenly changing directions, you still have to be able to move quite fast so you have to stand stable but still be ready to move if needed. 

Step 2: Hold your hands ready:

You have to fold your hands as in the position below. You can start by laying one hand in the other, the backside of one hand touches the front side of the other. Then you fold both hands so that your thumbs touch. The palms touch as well so make sure that your hands look like in the video below. A small difference can have a big impact on how the ball moves so be sure to keep your hands together when you touch the ball. Don’t wait too long doing this as you have to be ready when the ball comes towards you. Even if you are unsure if the ball will come your way, you might fold your hands so that you are prepared if it does come your way.

Step 3: Move your arms to become a digging machine

You have to look at the ball and see when it will come your way. Based on the position of the opponents, you also have to guess where the ball is going to come from. You have to be present when you are playing volleyball. This is not the time to think about school or work as you might miss that the ball is coming your way. If the ball is coming close by, you can swing your arms. This dig is quite easy to perform as you don’t have to move much of your body. Just change the angle of your arms while you maintain the hand position that we discussed before. 

The angle at which you hold your arms when you touch the ball affects the direction that you will send the ball. You have to send the ball to the setter. Therefore you have to know where this person stands so that you send a good pass that they can use to send an assist for the hitter. You can experiment with different arm angles to see what works best for you. 

You might need to bend your knees to get under the ball.

Step 4: pass the ball

At this point, the ball will arrive and you have to touch it. As you can see in the image below, this is done by using your forearms. Sometimes the ball lands lower and you touch it with your hands. This can make it harder to control the ball as forearms can be used to give direction to the ball. Digging is all about controlling the ball so that you can give a good pass. You have to slow down the ball and send it in the right direction. Always keep the position of your hands in mind as these affect the position of the rest of your body. Sometimes if you are running or jumping to get a ball, you might forget about the basics. Therefore you always have to think about the position of your arms. Try to have a stable position on the floor. If you are jumping while you are trying to catch the ball, it might be hard to control it well enough to pass. 

Your forearms might feel quite hot after a while. Especially leather balls can land quite hard. You will get used to this over time. You might consider wearing arm sleeves if it annoys you too much. Your technique also will improve over time, making this less of an issue as you will get better at absorbing the energy and giving a calm pass. 

The pass should be high enough so that the other player has time to receive the ball and pass it to the next player. If the ball is too low, you are making it hard for him or her. Therefore we often use an arch-shaped trajectory for the ball. This increases the chance that your team member can catch the ball and use it to attack. 

Digging is an important part of the defense. You have to make sure that the ball doesn’t fall on the floor after an attack of the opposite team. To conclude, we can state that there are several steps if you want to dig the ball. You have to be prepared and stand in a stable position. At this point, you have to check where the ball is and anticipate where it will go. Have your hands and arms in the right position so that you are ready when the ball comes your way. At this point, you have to move your arms in the direction of the ball. Once you touch the ball, you have to make sure that you slow down the ball so that you can give a calm pass to the setter. This person will complete the attack by passing it to the spiker.