What is a Dig in Volleyball?

Volleyball is a thrilling sport that demands a combination of power, precision, and agility. While powerful spikes and soaring jumps often steal the spotlight, a strong defense is just as crucial for success. The cornerstone of any effective defense is the dig.

This article, I am a professional experienced volleyball coach, and I will guide you through everything you need to know about the dig. We’ll break down what it is, why it’s important, and most importantly, how to master this essential skill.

What Exactly is a Dig?

What is a Dig in Volleyball?

Imagine this: the opposing team unleashes a powerful spike aimed at your court. Your job as a defender is to prevent the ball from hitting the ground. Here’s where the dig comes in.

A dig is a defensive technique used to control a hard-driven ball from the opposing team, typically a spike. It’s essentially a controlled pass, but with a key difference. Unlike receiving a serve, digs involve handling a faster, downward-traveling ball.

Why is the Dig So Important?

The dig plays a vital role in volleyball for several reasons:

  • Keeps the Ball in Play: A successful dig prevents the other team from scoring a point. It allows you to regain control of the ball and set it up for your own team’s attack.
  • Sets Up Your Offense: A good dig doesn’t just stop the opponent’s attack; it creates an opportunity for your team to score. By controlling the ball with a dig, you can set it up for your setter to initiate a powerful counterattack.
  • Disrupts the Opponent’s Rhythm: A well-executed dig can throw off the opponent’s offensive flow. By anticipating and successfully digging their attacks, you can force them to adapt their strategy and limit their scoring opportunities.

Understanding the Difference Between Digs and Other Techniques

It’s important to distinguish digs from other defensive techniques in volleyball:

  • Bump Pass: While both digs and bump passes use forearms to control the ball, digs involve a lower body position and are used for faster, harder-driven balls.
  • Receiving a Serve: Serves are typically less powerful than spikes, so receiving them requires a slightly different platform positioning compared to digging.

Mastering the Dig Technique: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you understand the importance of the dig, let’s delve into the technique itself. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements:

1. Body Positioning:

  • Low and Athletic Stance: Keep your knees bent and your center of gravity low. This allows for quicker reaction time and better platform stability.
  • Weight on Balls of Feet: This enables you to move explosively in any direction to reach the ball.
  • Balanced and Ready: Maintain a balanced posture with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Be prepared to shuffle laterally or lunge forward as needed.

2. Platform Creation:

  • Forearms Together: Use your forearms to create a stable platform for receiving the ball.
  • Fingers Together: Interlace your fingers tightly to create a solid surface.
  • Elbows Locked: Keep your elbows slightly bent but locked together for better control.
  • Thumbs Point Upward: Position your thumbs pointing upwards on the outside of your forearms.
  • Flat Platform: Aim for a flat platform, not cupped hands, for cleaner ball control.

3. Movement and Reaction

  • Read the Attacker: Try to anticipate the direction of the spike by observing the attacker’s body language and arm swing.
  • Shuffle Laterally: Use quick shuffles with your feet to adjust your position as the ball travels in the air.
  • Quick Reflexes: Develop your reaction time to be able to move and position yourself effectively for the dig.

Advanced Digging Techniques:

There are various digging techniques to master as you progress in volleyball:

  • Platform Dig: The most common and versatile technique, using a stable two-handed platform to control the ball.
  • Forearm Dig: Used against powerful spikes, this technique utilizes one forearm for a more forceful reception.
  • One-Hand Dig: Employed in unexpected situations or when space is limited, prioritize getting the ball up rather than perfect form.

Developing Your Digging Skills:

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Regularly practice proper digging form and receive repetitions against teammates or using a ball launcher.
  • Reaction Time Exercises: Participate in drills that challenge your reaction time, such as reacting to visual cues or partner throws.
  • Strength and Conditioning: Building core strength and upper body stability will enhance your ability to control harder-driven balls.

The Impact of a Great Dig:

A well-executed dig can have a significant impact on the game:

  • Disrupts Opponent’s Offense: By effectively digging a powerful spike, you can break the opponent’s offensive rhythm and force them to adjust their tactics.
  • Sets Up Counterattack: A successful dig creates an opportunity for your team to transition quickly into offense. With the ball under control, your setter can initiate a counterattack that can potentially score a point.
  • Teamwork and Communication: Defense in volleyball is a team effort. Effective communication between teammates allows you to anticipate where the ball is going and position yourselves for a successful dig.

Read Also : How to Get Better at Volleyball: 5 Tips from an Experienced Coach


The dig is a fundamental skill that every volleyball player should strive to master. By understanding its importance, practicing proper technique, and developing your reflexes, you can become a defensive powerhouse on the court. Remember, a well-timed dig can not only prevent the other team from scoring but also set your team up for a winning play. If you have any question you can comment and also contact with me. visit my website for more information about the volleyball

Bonus Section:

  • Volleyball Digging Trivia: Did you know that the term “dig” originated from the early days of beach volleyball, where players would literally “dig” the ball out of the sand to prevent it from hitting the ground?
  • Legendary Diggers: Throughout volleyball history, several players have been renowned for their exceptional digging skills. Some notable names include Paula Pequeno (Brazil) and Alexey Verbov (Russia).

Additional Tips:

  • Maintain a Positive Attitude: Developing new skills takes time and dedication. Stay positive and focus on improvement during practice.
  • Visualize Success: Imagine yourself making a perfect dig and helping your team win the point. Visualization can be a powerful tool for improving performance.
  • Enjoy the Game: Volleyball is a fun and exciting sport. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks; focus on learning and enjoying the experience.

By following these tips and practicing diligently, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master of the dig and a valuable asset to your volleyball team. If you have any question you can comment I will answer you

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