The Volleyball Dig: What Is It, When To Do It and How To Dig A Ball

The volleyball dig or digging a volleyball up in defense means that you are able to keep an attacked ball by the opposing team off your court floor. 


To dig a volleyball or by digging a volleyball up in defense you are keeping a hard or softly attacked ball by an opposing team's hitter off of your volleyball 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. 


How Do You Hold Your Volleyball Hands, Wrists and Arms When You Dig A Ball?


How do you hold your volleyball hands, wrists and arms when you dig a ball?

Both arms are held together at the wrists so your arms form a flat surface, called a "platform" for the ball to bounce off of.

To volleyball dig both arms are held together at the wrists so your arms form a flat surface, called a To volleyball dig both arms are held together at the wrists so your arms form a flat surface, called a "platform" for the ball to bounce off of.

Your Wrists

To keep both wrists held together

  • a digger places closed fist inside the palm of the other hand and wraps the fingers around the closed fists so both thumbs are now together side by side. 


Your Elbows and Arms

This keeps the elbows and arms straight throughout the entire digging action.

  • You contact the ball on your platform above the wrists and below the inside of your elbows. 

This area on your arms in volleyball terminology is called your "platform" and its what you use to contact and control balls that are below your waist. 

You use your platform to contact the ball when you're



Your Hips

Just before you dig a ball 

  • you lower your hips so they are below the level 

of the oncoming ball and you present your platform in front of you blocking the path of the ball so its deflected up in the air towards the middle of your court close to your team's ten foot line. 


Volleyball Dig: Where Do You Need To Be On The Court In Order To Dig A Volleyball Up?

As a digger its your job to place yourself in the path of the oncoming ball that's been hit by an opposing team's hitter. (Ralph Arvesen)As a digger its your job to place yourself in the path of the oncoming ball that's been hit by an opposing team's hitter. (Ralph Arvesen)

Where do you position yourself on the court to dig a ball up? 


  • Depending on the defense that your team is playing this may mean that you stand in the shadow of your blockers or you have to place yourself in the seam of the block so if the hitter hits between the two blockers the digger will pick up that ball in the back court


The Volleyball Dig
What does '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 volleyball 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.




Defensive Volleyball Plays
When Do You Dig A Ball?


Defensive plays are made 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 volleyball players', will use their defensive volleyball skills to dig the ball up to keep it off the ground so the opposing team can't score  a point. 


Defensive Volleyball Plays: The dig is the last line of defense for a team to keep an opposing team's attack from scoring points by keep the ball off the floor. (Ralph Aversen)Defensive Volleyball Plays: The dig is the last line of defense for a team to keep an opposing team's attack from scoring points by keep the ball off the floor. (Ralph Aversen)


On defensive plays, 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. 


The Volleyball Dig; 

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


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 make a defensive volleyball play or dig a ball up that you or your attackers send into their court to try and score a point. 




Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out more of my volleyball passing articles by clicking one of the links below! (April Chapple)Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out more of my volleyball passing articles by clicking one of the links below! (April Chapple)

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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. 


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.

You might like these pages about the volleyball dig. 



  1. Improve Your Volleyball Performance with Vegas VB Coach April Chapple
  2.  ›
  3. Volleyball Basics: Six Essential Skills Varsity Players Have To Know
  4.  ›
  5. The Volleyball Dig: What Is It, When To Do It and How To Dig A Ball




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MY PASSING EBOOK QUICKLY HELPS YOU IMPROVE YOUR PASSING SKILLS.    Learn how to perform one of the most important skills you need to know to gain more playing time on the court!MY PASSING EBOOK QUICKLY HELPS YOU IMPROVE YOUR PASSING SKILLS. Learn how to perform one of the most important skills you need to know to gain more playing time on the court!

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