The 6 Basic Skills of Volleyball All Varsity Players Should Know

Varsity players know the 6 basic skills of volleyball are serving, passing, setting, blocking, digging and hitting. Serving starts the rally and is the most important skill.

Passing, serving, setting, spiking, blocking and digging are the six basic skills of volleyball which are the first things varsity players need to learn about the sport.  

Basic Skills of Volleyball:
The Serve: What does it mean to serve in volleyball?

The volleyball serve is the first opportunity for a player to score a point.

Once the referee blows the whistle to start the rally you have 8 seconds to complete your serve routine and get the ball over the net.

Once you toss the ball in the air you must contact the ball to send it over the net or let the ball drop without touching it again until it hits the floor first. 

If you let the ball drop to the floor, the referee will blow the whistle again and this time you have five seconds to serve the ball over the net.  

Basic Skills of Volleyball: 
Passing: How do you pass a volleyball?

The pass also known as the bump, or the forearm pass is a service reception technique used to contact a ball that's entered your court area when your team is on offense.

Once the opposing team served ball crosses the net onto your side and arrives just above your hip level, you

This creates a platform with both arms that you use to contact the ball deflecting it from your angled platform into the air towards the person most responsible for making the second contact on the ball, your setter or if its the third contact then you send the ball over the net. 

Basic Skills of Volleyball:
Setting: What is the set in volleyball?

The set is usually the second contact in a rally and the person who sets the ball the most is called the setter. 

The setter on a volleyball team is like a point guard on a basketball team who runs the offense and calls the plays. 

Offensive plays consist of a combination of sets called by using hand signals to eligible hitters who hit these sets at different heights, speeds and locations along the net in order to confuse the opposing team's blockers in an effort to score points. 

If you are the setter on your team, you determine

  • who gets to hit each set
  • how high each set will be
  • how fast the set will be and 
  • where along the net or backrow the set will be. 

Basic Skills of Volleyball
Spiking: How do you spike a volleyball?

An attack hit or a spike describes the technique commonly used for the third contact in a rally that sends the ball over the net with power. 

A spike starts with a three step or four step approach a player uses to jump off the ground to contact the ball with an armswing while its in the air. 

With your spike approach the first two steps are slow and the last two steps are bigger and faster that propel you in the air gathering momentum as you go, to lift you above the top of the net so you contact the ball with an armswing that contacts the ball at its highest height to attack or hit it down into the opposing court. 

Basic Skills of Volleyball: 
Blocking: How do you block a volleyball?

A block is the first opportunity for a team on defense to keep the team on offense from hitting into their court. 

Once the whistle blows and your team serves the ball over the net, your team is on defense, ready to defend your court.

Once the ball is served, the three front row players on the server's side will work together in an attempt to block a player by

  • forming a wall with their hands, and arms  (and for some who jump high their shoulders)  
  • that extends over and penetrate's the plane above the net 
  • in order to stop the opposing team's hitter from spiking the ball into the defensive team's court or to a specific area of the court.

Basic Skills of Volleyball: 
Digging: How do you dig a volleyball?

The dig is a slang term used to describe an underhand technique made on the first contact of a ball in a rally that's been sent over the net with an attack hit.

You sink your hips low to the floor, below the ball before it gets to you and you use your extended arms clasped at the wrists to create a platform with your forearms to "dig" or deflect the ball up in the air. 

If you are the 'digger" or defender your job is to dig the ball up high enough in the air and ideally to the middle of the court close to the ten foot line, so that the second contact in the rally can be made.

Basic Skills of Volleyball
Where Do I Go From Here?

If you'd like more information on basic skills in volleyball check out the pages below. 

  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  • How to Improve Volleyball Skills: Pass, Serve, Set, Hit, Block and Dig
  • The 6 Basic Skills of Volleyball All Varsity Players Should Know

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