What are the 5 basic SKILLS of volleyball? Serving, digging, spiking, blocking, and setting explained

Volleyball has five basic skills: serving, digging, spiking, blocking, and setting. Serving, spiking, and setting are offensive maneuvers, blocking and digging are defensive movements.

Serving means sending the ball to your teammate so that he or she can push the ball over the net and score. Digging is diving to catch the ball when it is almost hitting the ground on your side of the net.

Setting is throwing the ball over the net when you are standing behind your field to restart the game after you have scored a point.

Blocking makes sure that the ball immediately goes back to the side of the opponent without hitting the floor on your side of the field.

Spiking, finally, is attacking the other team after you have received an assist. All of these skills are required if you want to become a great volleyball player. Let’s discuss them one by one and see how you can get better at each of these skills. 

Setting: give that assist

If you are standing just behind the net, you are probably going to attack. A player from the last row might pass the ball to you. Then you have to pass the ball to one of your team members so that he or she can score a point. It is important that you make sure that the ball arrives at the right height and speed. You also have to think about where your team members like the ball. Some players want to have it really high so that they can come in swinging, others prefer to have a slow ball so that they have more time to jump and start their attack. Therefore you should adjust your assist to the playing style of the person that is going to spike. This can be challenging if the pass that you have received was not that good as you might not stand stable and still have to deliver a great pass. Therefore serving is an important skill and something that is very valuable for your team.

Digging: catch that ball

Digging is a defensive skill. When the other team attacks, they will send the ball to the floor on your part of the field. You have to make sure that the ball doesn’t land on that part and keep it in the air. Therefore, it is essential that you can dive quite close to the floor. Digging is the skill where you dive and fly close by the floor so that the ball doesn’t hit the ground. It requires a lot of coordination to make sure that you don’t hit the floor too hard, keep the ball in the air, and at the same time pass it to another member of your team. It can take quite some time to develop this skill as you have to master agility, ball handling, coordination, and communication. This is one of the harder volleyball skills to master. 

Serving: Get that ball over the net

When your team has scored a point, it has the ball. You have to restart the game by standing behind your court (you can pick the spot behind the line) and you have to throw the ball over the net. This is done by throwing the ball in the air and hitting the ball. You have to make sure that the ball lands in the fields of your opponents and doesn’t go outside as you can’t score a point otherwise. You also have to get the ball over the net. Therefore, this requires a lot of practice to make sure that you use the same amount of force. Some players are also able to add effects to the ball to surprise the opponents. You can score a lot of points if you are great at this skill. You often have to train this by yourself and it can be a great idea to practice over and over again until you get it just right. 

Blocking: stop that ball at the net

For this skill, you have to be able to predict when the opponents are going to attack. You also have to jump quite high as your arms need to get over the net so that you can intercept the ball and send it back to the other side of the court. Missing the ball can be annoying as the other team often scores a point if you do. Therefore you only should block when you are quite sure that you will be able to stop the ball. This is not used in every defensive action. It can be a useful skill because you are stopping the attack of the other team immediately and making sure that they don’t score a point. Not that many players are great at blocking because you need to be great at timing your jump. Sometimes two players try to block the ball at the same time to make it more difficult for the opposing team. This requires a lot of coordination and teamwork.

Spiking: time to attack

Spiking is hitting the ball so that it lands in the field of your opponent. You have to jump and hit the ball at just the right time to get good at this. This requires a lot of coordination and training to get it just right. You also have to make sure that your attack is not too predictable as the other team can anticipate where the ball is going and adjust their defense based on this. If you hit the ball too hard, you might push it out of the field. Therefore you have to make sure that you use just the right amount of force and aim it at a place where the defense of the other side is weak. 

To conclude, we can say that there are 5 essential skills that every volleyball player has to master as you need to use them all given that you rotate over the field. These are spiking, serving, blocking, setting, and digging. Each of these skills requires agility, ball handling, coordination, and communication. Therefore the required expertise for each of these overlaps. If you get better at ball handling, you get better at each of these 5 essential skills. This means that you have to identify drills that make you better at each of these skills and perform them over and over again until you are able to perform them all.

Some players prefer to specialize and get really good at one skill. This can help the team to score a lot of points but you have to make sure that you don’t have weak points either as the other team can exploit these. If you are great at spiking but terrible at digging, you have a problem as you won’t be able to defend well enough and the opposing team will be able to score a ton of points. Therefore you can’t be too specialized in volleyball as you need to play in different positions. You need to be able to defend and attack. This is different from other sports where you can only focus on one of these two.