How to hold your hands in volleyball: for beginners

Volleyball is a high-paced sport. Holding your hands in the right position is essential if you want to be able to keep the ball in the air. You are not allowed to hold the ball so only one touch is allowed for each player per attack. This again stresses the importance of holding your hands correctly. There are 5 main skills in volleyball and each of these requires another hand position. Let’s dive in and discuss the best hand position based on these skills. 

The 5 main hand positions:

Blocking: defending

Blocking: This is stopping the ball at the net. The defender is holding their hands over the net to stop the attack immediately. The hands are opened up as much as possible to make the block as bit as possible. It is not allowed to touch the net so you have to keep an eye on your hands at all times. Let’s take a look at how Olympic gold medal winner for team USA, Rachael Adams explains this in more detail:

As you can see, it is important that you get your hands in the right position while you are creating a block. This will allow you to block in a more efficient way as you don’t have to jump as high. Your hands have to go over the net so that the ball doesn’t get stuck between you and the net as this would allow the other team to score a point if the ball hits the ground. After your block, you have to lower your hands immediately so that you can attack if needed.  

Serving: restarting the game

Serving: This is restarting the game after your team has scored a point. You are standing behind the line of your court and have to push the ball over the net and inside the court of the other team. If they are not able to touch the ball before it lands inside their court, you have scored an ace. Even if they touch the ball before it lands in their court, you are still scoring a point. There are two main types of serving: a floater and a topspin. For a floater, you are hitting the middle of the ball with the palm of your hand. This allows you to be very precise. Top-spin is hitting the ball while your hand is curled around the top of it. This creates more effect and power. A lot of players are jumping while doing this to add more effect. Let’s see it in action:

Setting: giving an assist

Setting: This is passing to a hitter that is going to attack. In essence, you are giving an assist to another player. You have to send the ball quite high so that the other player can push it over the net. This is done with an underhand pass. The main advantage of this pass is that you can see the ball coming and it is easier to control the ball. Your hands are under the ball (often at eye height) and you push the ball upwards. This might sound easy but you have to take into account that players often move while they are doing this. They also have to anticipate where the other player is going to be after they have jumped. This pass, therefore, requires a lot of insight into the game.

Spiking: attacking

This is pushing the ball over the net. You are using the palm of your hand to hit the middle of the ball. This hand movement is quite similar to a floater. You need a lot of precision and power to score a point as you might need to evade a block. Spiking also can be more difficult if the pass that you have received is too low or not in the right direction. You have to be creative then and push the ball over the net anyway. Spikers can add a lot of speed to the ball. It is also possible to use less force and surprise the defense with a tip over the net. Let’s take a look at how Olympic medal winner for Team USA Jordan Larson explains this in more detail.

Digging: defending close to the floor

Digging: Digging is keeping the ball in the air after the other team has attacked. The goal is to control the ball and pass it to the setter (who is going to pass to the hitter that attacks). This is mainly done by liberos. Digging is mainly done with an underhand pass. This is done by laying the back of the hand in the palm of the other hand. Then you are folding the hands so that the thumbs touch each other. The goal is to catch the ball just below the thumbs so that you can control it. This can give a sting the first few times but once your technique improves, this should be felt less. It has to be noted that players are often diving over the floor while they are doing this. A volleyball court is quite big and players have to run and jump around a lot to keep the ball in the air at all times. This can be quite challenging at first so players have to spend a lot of time perfecting this skill. Every player has to be able to do this. Let’s go back to Rachael Adams for an explanation of this skill and how to hold your hands while doing this.

To conclude, we can state that there are several hand movements required in volleyball. These depend on the type of action you are taking (offense and defense). Within each action, there are several techniques as well. Practicing these requires a lot of repetition and focus. It can take years to get great at each of these. You start by learning one of them and move from there. Before you know it, you are a great volleyball player.