Volleyball Digging:
9 Steps On How To Improve Digging in Volleyball

Here's how to improve your volleyball digging skills using my step by step list of volleyball basics for before during and after you need to dig a volleyball. 


What is volleyball digging? 

To a dig a volleyball means you

  • prevent a hard hit spike or an attack hit ball from the opposing team by
  • placing your platformed arms held together and in the path of the ball to
  • deflect it up in the air

to keep it from hitting your team's court floor.

Learn quickly how to improve your digging skills with this easy-to-read breakdown of the steps to take as a

  • libero
  • defensive specialist 
  • back court defender

which starts from the moment the opposing team serves until after you finish your dig. 



Volleyball Digging
Before The Serve - How Do You Do A Volleyball Dig?


How do you defend a spike in volleyball? - Before the serve what are the four things you need to do?

  1. Verbally establish your defensive assignment and defensive position.  
  2. Identify where the setter is as well as the number and location of eligible attackers. 
  3. Know the style of offense of the opposing team (high outside, play-set combination, quick set, setter dumps, etc.) and identify the probable options.   
  4. Do you know the opposing team's hitter tendencies? 

Volleyball Digging
Verbally establish your defensive assignment and defensive position.   


1. Verbally establish your defensive assignment and defensive position.                                           

  • Does the opposing team set high balls to the outsides or do they run quick plays?
  • Are you digging line or cross court?
  • What team defense are you playing and where do you need to be in that defense?
  •  Behind the block? deep down the line?
  • Do you cover tips to the middle or do you cover the seam between the block?

As a digger you need to know and you communicate/confirm this to your blockers and other diggers


Volleyball Digging
Identify where the setter is as well as the number and location of eligible attackers.   


2. Identify where the setter is as well as the number and location of eligible attackers.                            

  • Is the setter front row? If so tell your teammates and locate the other two front row eligible hitters.
  • Is she backrow? Then locate the jersey number and location of the hitters and tell all your teammates both in the front row and backrow


Volleyball Digging
Know the style of offense of the opposing team (high outside, play-set combination, quick set, setter dumps, etc.) and identify the probable options. 
  


3. Know the style of offense of the opposing team (high outside, play-set combination, quick set, setter dumps, etc.) and identify the probable options.                                                                    

  • Who are you going to dig?
  • Where in the backcourt are you going to dig them?
  • Are you supposed to dig hard hits or run down the tips?
  • Do you cover the seams? 

Volleyball Digging
Do you know the opposing team's hitter tendencies


4. Do you know the opposing team's hitter tendencies

  • Who tips all the time? 
  • Who can only hit cross court? 
  • Who hits on the way down from her spike approach? 
  • Who has a slow armswing?

Volleyball Digging
The Ball is Served - How Do You Defend A Spike in Volleyball?


How do you do a volleyball dig after the ball is served what do you need to do?


Volleyball Digging
Quickly assume your final correct floor position.


The act of serving is completely separate from the act of running to your starting defensive position. 



Volleyball Digging
What Do You Do Once The Opposing Team Passes The Ball


Once the opposing team passes the ball what's the one thing you need to do?

1. Is the opponent's first pass coming over the net?  


Volleyball Digging
If the opponent's first pass is coming over the net...


  • If so, pass the free ball to your setter 
  • If not, watch the quality of the pass and assess the setter's options.
  • Can she run all her options? Will she be forced to tip the ball back over or is she in trouble because of a bad pass and is forced to joust with the opposing team's blockers?
  • Sometime during the flight of the pass glance at the attackers to read and verbalize/talk about the developing play. Then (focus your attention to the setter) as the pass arrives 

Volleyball Digging
When The Ball Is Set How Do You Prepare To Dig In Volleyball?


Once the ball is set by the opposing team what two things should you do?

  • Watch the setter deliver the ball. 
  • Assume the "mental ready position"

Volleyball Digging
Watch the setter deliver the ball. 


  • Use the proper footwork to adjust to your appropriate floor position while watching the approach angle and body language of the attacker

Volleyball Digging
Assume the "mental ready position."


Assume the "mental ready position."

  • Know a tip is coming BEFORE it happens, be ready for the HARD driven ball FIRST, then be able to react from your position.

Even though you're in a specific spot, you are responsible for an area.


Volleyball Digging
When The Ball Is Attacked How Do You Do A Volleyball Dig?


React...Pursue...Retrieve!

  • React in the direction of the attacked ball.                   
  • Never let a ball hit the floor without maximum effort to prevent the ball from hitting the floor
  • Play the ball low. Don't rush to contact the ball, play it at its lowest point possible.
  • Keep shoulders strong and thumbs pointed to the ground to create a strong platform to use to deflect the ball in the air


Click here to read more information about how to dig a volleyball. 


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. 



             Volleyball Skills:                  Where Do You Go From Here?


No need to guess where you need to go now? Here are three options: 

1. Learn more about Skills in Volleyball 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 section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started

4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to O.I. Gotchu the Volleybragswag Octopus below. 


Meet O.I. Gotchu, Libero on VolleyBragSwag's All Beast Team


You might like these pages on skills below. 

Photo Credits 

"Dig"by acase1968 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


"Double Dig"by acase1968 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"SOU volleyball setter - Lauren McGowne"by acase1968 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"Oregon Ducks volleyball"by acase1968 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"Digging it"by acase1968 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

"Jump Serve"by acase1968 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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