Dig A Volleyball Using The Barrel Roll Digging and Defense Technique 

Dig volleyballs that are 3-4 feet away from you by using the barrel roll technique we teach in Vegas Volleyball Boot Camp classes. 

To dig a volleyball that's more than 2-3 steps away from you and low to the floor, you need to know 

  • how to play balls up on the move, then
  • complete your digging action and 
  • fall to the ground in a safe way that you get back up and keep playing without getting hurt. 

Many times during a match, as a digger you have to dig hard hit spikes by chasing a ball, taking several steps to get to a ball that was hit several feet from where you are positioned in defense. 

I teach players in Boot Camp classes that you can get to any ball that's on the court by taking 3 no more than 4 large fast steps to chase down a ball in defense.

We practice 2-3 ways to do this ..

For the balls hit or tipped close to you in defense we use the extension and pop up to drop our hips fast to beat the ball to the floor.


For balls spiked further away we teach the extension and one step to barrel roll to get to balls that go up over the block before they come down. 

For balls that are tipped to the middle of the court we teach the three step barrel roll technique to dig a volleyball.

Dig A Volleyball Using The Barrel Roll Technique
What's a "roll"?

The roll  or barrel roll is one of the several acrobatic individual defense techniques you can use to collapse to the ground after finishing a volleyball dig that takes you off balance.

This technique helps you complete your defense action safely and  most importantly...allows the play to continue without the ball hitting the floor.

The "roll" is used as a way to

  • finish to the floor and
  • recover your footing after digging an attacked or deflected ball you had to leave your feet and hit the ground for

In practice, we like to teach different ways to fall to the floor when you have to dig a ball that's either close to you, a few feet a way from you or even further away.

Depending on how far you go to dig a ball, will determine what kind of technique to use to contact the floor after contacting the ball.

The roll  is a method used by players who have to leave their base defensive position to run more than several feet to chase a ball to keep it from hitting the floor of the court.

The roll itself does not get the ball up, but once a player has 

  • outstretched their arm to dig the ball while at the same time
  • extending their whole body to its full length to reach and make contact with the ball, 

the momentum continues to move the body forward and that player needs a safe way to fall to the ground without getting hurt. 

The key to performing the roll without getting bruised continuously is to stay low to the ground and to play the ball as low to the ground as possible.

Watch unbelievable volleyball digs by
this Texas girls high school volleyball player!

Autumn Finney's defense was so spectacular
she was featured on Sports Center!

In the video above libero Autumn Finney and her teammates used the roll to dig volleyballs that were

a) low to the ground and

b) far away from the net

in order to keep the ball from hitting the floor, while they worked to get the ball closer to and eventually over the net.

If you haven't seen the video, now is the time to look at it before continuing on reading this page, 

Dig A Volleyball With The Barrel Roll Without Bruising Your Knees

Another key to rolling correctly is being able to keep your knees from banging the floor.

That's why kneepads are usually a required part of a player's uniform.

Notice...in the videos above, none of the players fall to their knees!

When they contact the ground the players roll to the sides of their body...to their hip and to the side of their lower leg...turning to their side before making impact with the ground.  

That's how Autumn and her teammates were able to land safely on the court floor after reaching to dig a volleyball...and still continue playing...

Learning how to dig a volleyball that isn't hit right at you requires you to start in a low position and finish in a low position which keeps you only inches from the floor when you start and complete the roll.

We emphasize this alot in our Boot Camp class training and we use mats for our players to practice their rolling and barrel rolling technique on. 

Friday Night Boot Camp class players ages 9 - 13 - barrel roll training with mats at Veteran's Memorial Leisure Center. 

When players stand or stay up too high to dig a volleyball that's when they get more bruises because they now have further to fall  or drop before they contact the ground.

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 Now?

Okay here's where you need to go now! There are three options: 

  1. Learn more about Digging and Defenseby 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 Volleyball section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started. 
  4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to Miss O.I Gotchu the Octopus wearing the #8 jersey below.  Miss O.I. is the libero for the All Beast VolleyBragSwag All Star team.

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