9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips: A List of Digging Action Steps

A Comprehensive List of Digging Actions To Take Before, During and After You Dig A Ball

Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips: A Checklist of Digging Action Steps (Matt Van Winkle)Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips: A Comprehensive Checklist of Digging Action Steps (Matt Van Winkle)

This is a breakdown in an easy-to-read format of the steps to take as a libero, defensive specialist or back court defender which starts from the moment the opposing team serves to after you finish your dig. 

9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips
Before The Serve - What You Should Do

Verbally establish your defensive assignment and defensive position.                                           

  • Does the opposing team set high balls to the outsides or do they run quick plays?
  • Are you digging line or cross court?
  • What team defense are you playing and where do you need to be in that defense? Behind the block? deep down the line?
  • Do you cover tips to the middle or do you cover the seam between the block?

As a digger you need to know and you communicate/confirm this to your blockers and other diggers

Identify where the setter is as well as the number and location of eligible attackers.                            

  • Is the setter front row? If so tell your teammates and locate the other two front row eligible hitters.
  • Is she backrow? Then locate the jersey number and location of the hitters and tell all your teammates both in the front row and backrow

9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips: Ashley Engle calls out how. many opposing team hitters are in the front row.9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips: Ashley Engle calls out how. many opposing team hitters are in the front row.

Know the style of offense of the opposing team (high outside, play-set combination, quick set, setter dumps, etc.) and identify the probable options.                                                                    

  • Who are you going to dig?
  • Where in the backcourt are you going to dig them?
  • Are you supposed to dig hard hits or run down the tips?
  • Do you cover the seams? 

Do you know the opposing team's hitter tendencies

  • Who tips all the time? 
  • Who can only hit cross court? 
  • Who hits on the way down from her spike approach? 
  • Who has a slow armswing?

9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips
Ball Is Served - What You Should Do

Quickly assume your final correct floor position. The act of serving is completely separate from the act of running to your starting defensive position. 

9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips
Ball Is Passed - What You Should Do

Is the opponent's first pass coming over the net?      

  • If so, pass the free ball to your setter 
  • If not, watch the quality of the pass and assess the setter's options.
  • Can she run all her options? Will she be forced to tip the ball back over or is she in trouble because of a bad pass?  
  • Sometime during the flight of the pass glance at the attackers to read and verbalize/talk about the developing play. Then (focus your attention to the setter) as the pass arrives 

9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips
Ball Is Set - What You Should Do

Watch the setter deliver the ball.

Assume the "mental ready position."

  • Know a tip is coming BEFORE it happens, be ready for the HARD driven ball FIRST, then be able to react from your position.

Even though you're in a specific spot, you are responsible for an area.

9 Backcourt Defense Volleyball Tips
Ball Is Attacked - What You Should Do


  • React in the direction of the attacked ball.                   
  • Never let a ball hit the floor without maximum effort to prevent the ball from hitting the floor
  • Play the ball low. Don't rush to contact the ball, play it at its lowest point possible.

Scroll down to read more information about how to improve your digging. 

Do You Follow Me on Instagram?

Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!

I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.

Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.

If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list. 

How To Play Volleyball:

Where Do you Go From Here?

No need to guess where you need to go now? Here are three options: 

1. Learn more about Digging by clicking the related links below.

2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)

3. Or visit the pages in the How To Play section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started

4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to O.I. Gotchu the Volleybragswag Octopus below. 

Meet O.I. Gotchu, Libero on VolleyBragSwag's All Beast Team

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Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!

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