The Importance of the Volleyball Pass in Serve Receive 

Step by Step Instruction on Passing in Volleyball 

The volleyball pass is a technique used by a player in serve receive who clasps both arms together at the wrists, usually one palm of the hand inside the other while contacting the ball on the forearms, specifically the area above the wrists and below the inside of the elbow.

When Does The Volleyball Pass Occur? 

The forearm pass is usually performed by one of three to five players on a team that is receiving the serve from the team on defense. 

The first person to contact the ball on the team that's in serve receive, uses "the pass", to get the ball to their setter.

The Volleyball pass in serve receptionThe Volleyball pass in serve reception

The setter waits at the net, inside the ten foot line and is in charge of setting the ball to any of the front row or back row hitters (except the libero), ready to hit the ball over the net in an attempt to score a point against the team on defense.  

Controlling the pass, also called "controlling the ball" or "ball control" is a  big part of becoming a very good volleyball passer. 

Improve Accuracy So You Can Pass Like A Pro

To improve the accuracy of your forearm pass, adopt the following habits that professional players do, in order to pass a higher percentage of serves to your setter.

On serve receive, remember to focus on the ball when it's in the server's hands.

First, you need to check out the server's body position to pick up any cuesWhat should you be looking for?

Look for clues as to where she plans to serve the ball.

Volleyball Pass: Penn State players Focusing On the Ball In Illinois Server's Hands ((Richard Yuan)Volleyball Pass: Penn State players Focusing On the Ball In Illinois Server's Hands ((Richard Yuan)

After you've checked out the server's body position and made your adjustments based on where it looks like the server is going to serve, then quickly share this information with your teammates.

What do you say? "Hey watch the server, looks like she's going to serve short." "Hey you guys, stay low and be ready to move backwards looks like she's serving deep."

It takes two seconds to say this very quickly to your other teammates.

You just maintain your focus on the opposing team's server while a) you are saying this out loud to your teammate and b) getting into the ideal position for you to forearm pass a ball based on what you've just called out.

Once you've communicated to your teammates what you think the server is about to do, and after the referee has blown the whistle, your focus should be completely on the ball while its still in the server's tossing hand.

Effective Volleyball Passes

Here's the deal, once the server tosses the ball in the air for their pre- serve ritual there really isn't much they can change.

At that point, you should lock your eyes in on the ball and start to visibly track it from the server's hands once she makes contact with it.

Keep visually tracking the ball, keeping your eyes on it as it crosses the net and as the ball travels closer and closer towards you.

When performing any forearm pass, you want to intensify your ability to focus on the ball as it comes from the server, into your court, all the way into the extended arms of your platform.

You don't want to take your eyes off the ball even when it makes contact with your forearms while you are passing it.

That's right.

You want to watch the ball all the way into your court until it makes contact with your passing platform and then you want to keep watching the ball as it travels off of your platform and makes its way to the setter.

Another thing you can do with your eyes during your volleyball passes is to act like your eyes have a tracking device in them that won't allow you to take them off of the ball.

Imagine that this tracking device is activated just before the server tosses the ball in the air for her serve, and continues tracking the ball all the way across the net into your platform and continued until the ball reaches the setter's hands from your pass.

Focusing on the ball like this should reduce the amount of times you get surprised by the ball at the last minute.

Maintaining this type of focus on the ball will help you anticipate any last minute moves that you may have to make after the served ball crosses the net to your side of the court.

Volleyball Pass: Track the ball with your eyes as it crosses the net and contacts your platformVolleyball Pass: Track the ball with your eyes as it crosses the net and contacts your platform

Professional volleyball players have protected themselves against the effects of a floater serve because they will watch the ball out of the opposing server's hands, so when it gets to the net and then crosses to their side it's easy for them to move their feet to get into position to pass the ball right to the target.

The earlier a player can get positioned behind the ball and be stopped to pass it, the more your volleyball pass efficiency improves.

If you are late in getting positioned behind the ball then you have to do a better job of moving your feet and getting stopped behind it, so you have a better chance of controlling the ball to the target.

Karch Kiraly on the Importance of the Forearm Pass

"I’ve often said that forearm passing is the cornerstone of volleyball, and I believe it more than ever now that I’m a coach.If you want to elevate the play of those around you, indoors or beach, you have to be able to make the ball go where you want by using your forearm platform."

Karch Kiraly

(Karch Kiraly Volleyball Quote on Passing)

When you are not positioned behind the ball, in many cases you have to swing your platform outside of your body to pass it.

For those players who are just learning about passing in volleyball and haven't yet developed great body control or ball control skills, this usually means either your body will be off balance or you will end up using too much of your upper body to try and get the ball to the target.

The lesson here is to avoid trying to do two things at once.

Avoid running and passing the ball at the same time!

What will happen is that your forearm pass will become less accurate and it'll be harder to get the ball to your setter.

In most cases, the ball will go immediately over the net, which gives a free ball to your opposing team.

Volleyball players should anticipate where the ball is going to land and move quickly to get to that spot first.

Watch Japan's Arisa Sato, one of the best passers in the world

Wherever it looks like the ball is going to cross the net and land in your area, which may be only a side step or two steps away from you, you want to beat the ball to THAT spot.

Then you want to be stopped so your momentum is not moving you forward.  Ideally, you want to stop moving by the time the ball contacts your platform.

Your passing in volleyball will improve when you pass the ball making two separate and distinct movements.

First you want to stay light on your feet so that you can run or side step to get to where you anticipate the ball is about to land.

Then your feet should be stopped and your shoulders and body should be squared and parallel to the net.

You then should quickly clasp your hands together, keeping your elbows pressed together and your thumbs pointing to the ground in order to form your platform.

Lastly, when you pass a volleyball you want to stay very focused and concentrated on the ball starting when it's in the opposing team's server's hands and ending when it's bounced off of your platform and is heading to your setter's hands.

Remember, to pass a volleyball, you want to get to your spot quickly, beat the ball there, get stopped, form your platform, then make the pass.

It does happen quickly, but as your forearm passing gets better by using this sequence, you'll see a marked improvement in your passing skills.  

How To Play Volleyball: 
Where Do You Go From Here?

Where do you need to go now? 

Your three options are: 

  1. You can learn more about Passing in volleyball 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. 

Related Links:

Improve Your Forearm Pass With Our Five Ball Control Tips 

Volleyball Passing: 3 Tricks To Improve Your Passing Skills

Improve Forearm Passing in Volleyball

The Volleyball Pass in Serve Receive

Meet Resee the Kangaroo and Passing Specialist on VolleyBragSwag's All Beast Team

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