6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique

These six drills to improve volleyball skills in digging and defense technique are exercise we do in boot camp classes and trainings to improve ball control. 


6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique
Not Digging Balls That Are Hit Right At Your Feet?


Are you having a problem digging balls that're hit right at your feet? 

One digging issue you may have is that you are putting your hands together to form your platform...too late. 


Once the hitter commits to their armswing, that's when you as the digger should have your hands together to form your digging platform.

Many times players wait too long and still have their hands apart after the hitter has contacted the ball...by then its too late. 


6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique
Diggers Put Their Hands Together Quickly When Diving To Dig A Ball Behind The Block


Putting your hands together earlier creates a platform with both forearms to dig the ball with and something to keep the ball off the floor earlier. 

When I use my phone to show players what they’re doing wrong more times than not they can see what I’m telling them to correct and they fix it fast. 


6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique
Day 2 Middle School VB Clinic


I showed this group of middle school liberos Dafne, Delaney and Selena on Day 2 of our first clinic how long it was taking them to put their hands together before digging. 

If you wait too long to put your hands together before you dig the ball.. it gives you less time to make minor tweaks and corrections to your platform angles. 

Keeping your platform arms a ball’s distance away from your body and putting your hands together once you’ve landed in your adjusted defensive position is the key to touching more balls hit right at you and controlling those balls so they’re more likely to reach their target.


6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique
Working on Libero Training digging three types of attacked balls...


Working on Libero Training digging three types of attacked balls...

  • digging the hard hit
  • reading then chasing down the tip while trying to stay on your feet
  • running down the deep shot to the far Zone 5 corner while trying to stay on your feet


  • digging a settable ball (high in the court as near to Zone 3 - middle front- as possible) if not possible then to the middle of the court
  • getting comfortable covering the entire zone 5 left back area of the court while taking only 3-4 steps to get to each ball
  • reading fast and reacting fast while controlling our body parts so we can control the ball

6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique
Two Hitters vs One Digger, Continuous Digging To The Target


Usually done during warmups in order to get warm-up to play defense in the match.

When you are digging you should be working on three things

  • first getting the hips under the ball fast        
  • second keeping arms further away from the body (you should be able to fit a volleyball under your arm pits-that's the perfect distance!)                                                             
  • third digging the ball from a lower point without rising out of your/her squat Two keys to remember..                                                          
  • eliminate extra body movements that don’t help you perform the skill get comfortable staying lower to the floor In this video, all the players are learning to be comfortable playing the ball without rising out of their squat which

-eliminates extra movement while digging       

-the player views the ball from a lower point     

-the player plays the ball closer to the floor which allows more time for better ball control   -player keeps arms a balls distance away from their body which covers more court around them


6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique 
For diggers playing back row defense



Diggers dig. Defense back row.

Hitters vs. diggers no block. 

Working on reading the Hitter.

Working on tracking the Ball that’s tossed to the Setter.

  • Then watching what set the Setter delivers to what Hitter ( this case Zone 4)
  • then watching the Ball that’s set to the Hitter (is it a high ball?, is it a hut? Is it a ‘go’?)
  • before watching (eyes go back to the Hitter) the Hitter to get clues as to where to be on my side of the court to dig the ball they hit. 


6 Drills To Improve Volleyball Skills in Digging and Defense Technique
Ball-Setter-Ball-Hitter



In other words BALL- Setter- BALL - Hitter

Working on fearlessness. Getting comfortable facing a hard hit ball while dropping hips below the level of the oncoming ball. .

Getting comfortable letting the ball come down low (belly button level) before playing it...staying in your lower defensive position without rising up out of your squat ...to play the ball.

Digger works on being stopped...once the Hitter starts their armswing

Volleyball Drills: 
Where Do You Go From Here?


Your three options are: 

  1. You can learn more about Drills by visiting 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. 

Learn more about volleyball drills on these pages!

  • Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  •  ›
  • Volleyball Drills For Setters, Hitters, Liberos, Passers and Blockers
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