How To Dig A Volleyball Up When Your Team Is On Defense

When you dig a volleyball on your club or varsity team, you'll need to be okay with digging and defending hard hitting attackers on the opposing team.  

How To Dig A Volleyball

Ready Position

  • In the back row you should be in an athletic stance with knees slightly bent, leaning slightly forward so your shoulders are in front of your knees with hands and arms extended in front of you 3-4 inches in front of your knees 
  • Just before you have to dig a ball, keep your hands apart so you can run, shuffle step or move quickly to the ball once you know where the ball is going to possibly land
  • Quickly clasp hands together using the same hand grip as you do when you pass...one fist placed inside the palm of the other hand, both thumbs side by side together then pointed towards the ground
  • During the dig keep thumbs pointed to the floor, which keeps your arms straight and creates a nice flat platform which you use to dig the ball up into the air


How To Dig A Volleyball Up When Your Team Is On DefenseHow To Dig A Volleyball Up When Your Team Is On Defense


  • Before contacting the ball your hips have to be below the level of the oncoming ball.  This is what helps lift the ball up into the air and increases the chances of it staying on your side.  
  • When contacting or "digging" the ball, do not swing your arms to meet the ball. The attack hit is hard enough and you don't need to add additional movement to get the ball up. 
  • Angle your platform to the target where you want the ball to go and let the ball bounce off your platform. 
  • The trick is to use your straight armed platform to present the correct angle so the ball goes right to the target you are aiming for. 


Why Learn How To Dig A Volleyball?


To dig a volleyball or by digging a volleyball up in defense you are keeping an attacked ball by the opposing team off your court floor.

This keeps them from scoring a point, while at the same time you are setting your team up to run an offensive counterattack against them so your team can try to score a point. 


What does to 'dig a volleyball' mean? 


To dig a volleyball means you contact and intercept the ball, while your team is on defense by deflecting it up in the air with your arms held together.  

You defend, or dig the ball to keep it off your team's court floor once it crosses into your court after an attack hit by the opposing team, so they don't score a point .

There are offensive ways to contact the ball and there are defensive ways to contact the ball. 

The 'pass', the 'set', the 'serve' and the 'hit' describe offensive ways to contact the ball. These are terms that describe ways you contact the ball to set it up for an attack hit into the other team's court.

The "block" and "the dig" are defensive terms used to describe ways to contact the ball. You 'block' or  'dig a volleyball' when you need to defend your court from the other team's attack. 

How To Dig A Volleyball?
When Do You Dig?


In a rally, after a team serves, the serving team is on defense and the team who is receiving the serve is on offense. 

The team on defense has three blockers in the front row who will try and stop the opposing team's attack hit at the net by blocking the ball before it comes over the net.

If the blockers can't block it then the three players on defense in the back row, also called 'diggers' or 'defensive players', will use their defensive skills to dig the ball up to keep it off the ground so the opposing team can't score  a point. 

On defense, the block is the first line of defense for a team and the dig is the second and last line of defense for a team to try and keep an opposing team's attack hits from scoring points by keep the ball off the floor. 

When your team blocks, you are defending your court at the net, and if the ball gets by the block, then your back row players. also known as 'diggers', defend your court by digging the ball up into the air so it doesn't hit the floor. 

The minute your team digs a volleyball up and the ball stays on your side your team changes or "transitions" from being a team on defense to becoming a team on offense. 

Your team keeps the opposing team's attack off your floor, but you've also set your team up to run an offensive attack sending the ball into the opposing team's court.

Now its their  turn to try and block your team or dig a volleyball up that you or your attackers send into their court to try and score a point. 

With practice reps and plenty of defensive drills you will learn how to use your arms so they absorb the impact of hard hit balls.

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 Defense 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 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.


Related Links: 

Three Volleyball Digging Tips To Improve Your Defense Volleyball Game 

Learn To Dig Volleyball Spikes Like They Do In College

Volleyball Defense: What To Do After You've Served The Opposing Team

Dig A Volleyball Using The Barrel Roll Digging and Defense Technique

A Volleyball Dig Tutorial With Digging Basics For Defensive Players 

Volleyball Libero Facts About Setting Digging and Playing Backrow 

10 Defense Volleyball Questions On Making Digs and Defending Better

How To Dig A Volleyball Up When Your Team Is On Defense




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