Volleyball Defense How Does Blocking and Digging Work Together?

 After your team serves your front row blockers are the first line of defense to stop an opposing team's attack hit while back row diggers are the last line. 


The block in volleyball is the first line of your team's volleyball defense when your squad has earned the right to serve the ball.

Once the ball crosses the net your players and teammates are on defense.



The three players in the front court as blockers work together with the three in the back court who's job it is to keep the ball off the floor when and if it comes past the block.


Volleyball Defense:
Two Ways To Keep The Opposing Team From Scoring


Just so I'm clear, there are two ways to try and keep the other team from scoring a point when your team is serving the ball.

The first way is at the net where your front row players are in charge of blocking the opposing team's attempt to hit the ball into your team's court.



The second way this happens is if the opposing team has successfully hit the ball past your block and into your court.

Then your team's back row players are in charge of digging or defending that ball in an effort to keep it off the ground on your  side.

This example is illustrated perfectly in the picture of the volleyball player below who's digging a ball after the opposing hitter was successful in getting the ball past the triple block put up by the digger's front row players.



When playing defense, the ultimate goal of the defensive team is to 


Volleyball Defense
How Blocking and Digging Work Together


A team in defense has blockers that take one area at the net while diggers plant themselves in the back court outside of the area that the block takes.


In the video above the serving team (in white) is on defense. The team receiving the serve is in serve receive.  Once the serve crosses the net, the defensive team's three blockers wait at the net to try and stop the ball from coming into their court.

If the ball gets past the blockers, then the players in the back row play volleyball defense by digging the ball into the air to keep it off the ground. 

If they do, the team has two more contacts, for a total of three, to get the ball to one of their hitters and attack the ball back over the net. 


When the blockers  take away a certain area of the court, the diggers should systematically cover the other parts of the court.



This way most of the open spaces on the court are covered in team defense, making it harder for the opposing team to hit the ball to an open space. 


Basically if the front row players can't do their job successfully by putting up a good block then its the back row's player responsibility to keep the ball off the floor.

The front row players spend hours in blocking practice drills so that they can work in tandem with their back row players, so that everyone knows where to be, what to do and when to do it.



Learning how and where to time your jump when you block in volleyball is important because when the blockers are consistent with their movements and placement in the front row, then the players in defense behind them know exactly where they need to place themselves in the back court.


In order to effectively do this, the front row blockers have to know where to be when they have a hitter who hits in a particular direction, let's say cross court.


They have to be disciplined enough to set up in the correct spot consistently so that their back row players know what they are doing and know where to set up behind them for each and every play and for each and every possible scenario that the offensive team might try against them.


That's why it's crucial for in volleyball defense for blockers to have good technique against different hitters who spike different kinds of sets, at different speeds, at different locations along the net.

This is what helps many top defensive teams win points. 


Basic Volleyball
Defense Strategy


This is a basic explanation of volleyball defense strategy.

Individual volleyball defense skills like

are important for a player to be good at, especially if you play all six positions for your team during a match.



As players learn more about the game, then they learn more advanced volleyball defense strategy like

  • digging the seam of the block 
  • playing more advanced defense systems like 
  1. rotational defense
  2. perimeter defense
  3. man up defense 
  4. man-back defense 


All these things are a part of learning how to adopt your team's volleyball defense strategies.


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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. 


Volleyball Defense Strategy:
Where To Go From Here


Alright, alright, alright! Time to study something something. You still have those three options: 

  1. Let's learn more about defense strategy for blocking, digging and how to defend your court by exploring the Related Links below. 
  2. Or you can choose the suggested reading on our Sitemap page   Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the Volleyball Strategy section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started. 

You might like these pages on volleyball strategy!




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