Why do Volleyball Players Tape Their Fingers? (Avoid Doing This!)

A lot of volleyball players tape their fingers. Even professional players do so. Is there a reason to do this or is this just for aesthetic reasons? Do they use special tape to do this? Let’s discuss what I have learned from decades of playing volleyball. 

Why do some volleyball players tape their fingers: does it help?

There are several reasons given to wear finger tape. From offering more grip, having a cool look, to being able to smash harder. 

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All these might be true but the real reason why volleyball players wear tape is that they want to protect their fingers. This means that you want to reduce the impact of the ball and also avoid overstretching.

If a ball hits them hard, your fingers might bend and this could be painful. Therefore some players tape their fingers to avoid this. Taping multiple fingers together can give them more stability.

Some players have weaker fingers and they want to make sure that they don’t miss a pass or smash due to this. Tape can help your fingers to remain in the same position. It can also help to protect fingernails if you want to keep them for quite long. 

Tape comes in a lot of sizes and colors.

The tape also helps with dry skin; if you hit a volleyball a lot, your skin can start to crack and this can be quite painful. Volleyballs are often made out of leather and these can dry out your skin.

By wearing tape you avoid direct contact with the leather and make sure that your fingers don’t dry out further. You can also use some moisturizer to help with this if you don’t enjoy wearing tape. 

These are the main reasons why volleyball players tape their fingers: to protect them from a ball that can throw them back or offer relief when you have dry skin. It can also be a habit and a way to prepare yourself mentally for a game as taping your fingers can have a calming effect on your mind.

I would say that about 2 players per team tape their fingers so this is definitely not something that all the players do. 

Even Olympic athletes wear finger tape to play volleyball matches so there is a real utility to using this.

How do you tape your fingers for volleyball 

The following video provides a good overview of how you can tape your fingers. It is quite easy to do this. You start at the outside (by adding some tape on the tip) and work your way to the palm of your hand. This taping takes some time so be sure to start before the volleyball training or match.

Let’s check how this works:

It is a step-by-step process that you will get the hang of quite easily if you have done it a few times. The main challenge is how firm you will tighten the tape. Some players like to have it really tight whereas others don’t like this that much. You can always ask your coach or other players on your team for help if you are struggling to do this by yourself.

Always check with the responsible person on your team if you have done it right. This makes sure that you didn’t do anything that can affect your abilities to play in the weeks to come. 

It might be necessary to start over again a few times to get it just right. It is best to practice at home or before a training session. If you are nervous about the match and you don’t have a lot of experience with tape, it can end in a mess.

Therefore it is important that you can practice putting on the tape a few times so that you know what you have to do. It is also important that you can do this quite fast as you might want to replace the tape during the match. This can be quite frustrating at first but over time you will get the hang of it and it will become very easy to add this to your fingers.

Make sure that the tape will stay in place. You can do this by tugging it and seeing if it is firm enough. This tape will come in contact with the ball and if it is moving around, it will be annoying to play with.

What are the best finger tapes for volleyball? Best types of finger tape for volleyball players

Finger tape is used in a lot of sports so you can use generic tape for this. Just make sure that the glue doesn’t stick on the outside as this can attach itself to the ball and affect your pass. The tape can get loose if you sweat a lot and it also gets dirty after a while. It can be quite a mess. The advantage of this tape is that it is quite cheap.

It is important to think about what color you will wear. It should fit with the outfit that you have on as it otherwise might attract the attention of the other team and they might want to take advantage of the fact that you have taped your fingers.

The following tape is made out of cotton and this makes sure that the sweat is able to flow away and doesn’t stay on the finger itself. This might sound like a detail but it has a big impact on the feel of the tape once you start sweating.

It also uses an adhesive that is strong so it stays in place but it doesn’t tear too hard when you want to take it off your fingers. Some players prefer darker colors as these stay clean for a longer period of time. Your hands come in contact with a lot of dust and sweat so the white tape can get a dirty look after a while.

Something that is quite new is finger sleeves. These make it easier to add protection to your fingers. This allows your fingers to breathe and could get less hot, thereby increasing your comfort. The main drawback is that you have to wash them.

They might be less tight around your fingers and can move while you are making a pass, resulting in a bad interception. They have different sizes so if you have a snug fit, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Make sure that you play with them a few times during training before you wear them during a competitive game.  

They produce less garbage and are therefore an eco-friendly solution to tape your fingers for volleyball matches. 

Especially for younger players this can be a great solution as taping your fingers is not always easy and if you do it wrong, it can be quite difficult to play with. With these sleeves, you can’t go wrong as they are easy to put on and take off. 

They look quite cool as well. They come in a pair so you can use them on two fingers.

You have to check with your coach if these offer enough support to help you. In some instances, you need finger gloves that offer more protection.  

You also have gloves that can act as an alternative for tape. They only work for certain fingers so you have to check if they work for the purpose that you want to use them for. They are made out of Spandex and should be quite comfortable. These gloves also look quite cool. Tape can look dirty after a while these gloves should retain their style for a long period of time. The product comes in different sizes so you will have to see what works for you based on the sizing chart on their website. 

 Where to buy volleyball finger tape 

You can buy volleyball finger tape on Amazon or at your local department store. Just ask for athletic tape and they can probably help you. Some volleyball clubs also have their own store where they offer several products.

They often sell finger tape there as well. If you are unsure if you will like it, you can ask a player on your team if you can use some of the tapes that they have. This will allow you to give it a try and see if it is something for you.

You have to try this for yourself before you can decide if you like it or not. Since the tape is used in a lot of other sports, you can also find it in gyms, climbing halls, basketball shops, and so on. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a place to buy finger tape as it is the same tape that is used in all of these sports.

Make sure that the tape is strong and doesn’t break too fast as cheaper brands tend to use materials that are not able to withstand the pressure of the ball. 

It is often best to buy several rolls at the same time so that you don’t have to think about this anymore. Using a service such as ‘subscribe and save’ can also help you to have enough rolls in stock. Nothing is more annoying than having to play in a match and running out of tape. You can ask a team member but it is better to have enough tape with you.

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Do setters tape their fingers?

This is not obligated but some setters tape their fingers as they want to make sure that they have enough grip on the ball. Your hands can get sweaty during the match and tape can provide additional traction. Some players also want to make sure that their fingers don’t bend in the wrong direction when they have to touch the ball.

Setters often have to pass the ball very fast and a wrong touch can lead to a lot of trouble and even to the player having to quit the match. It is one of the roles that use a lot of underhand passes and these can bend your fingers in the wrong way.

Even some professional setters do this as they feel that the tape offers them support and makes sure that they touch the ball in the right way. These pros play volleyball very fast and therefore they risk touching the ball in the wrong way. Tape can ensure that the players only touch the ball with stretched fingers. As discussed before, it is important that you tape your hands in the right way so that it doesn’t get annoying after a while.

To conclude, we can state that finger tape has its purpose in volleyball and is not just for show. It can help you to keep your fingers straight while passing or blocking. A ball can have an impact on your fingers and tape can help to protect them. Therefore I would say that it can help some players but I almost never use it as it distracts me too much while playing.