What Is a Dig in Volleyball? Techniques, Drills, and Mistakes

A good number of sports lovers enjoy either playing or watching volleyball. Without a doubt, it is one of the most enjoyable sports you will experience across the globe. It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert player or just starting volleyball as your game of choice. Learning the dig could help your team big time. The dig is a vital key for your defensive potential. Here, you will learn the secrets of volleyball, how to dig, and its importance, as well as furnish you with various other handy tips.

What Is a Dig in Volleyball?

So, what is a dig in volleyball? A volleyball dig is a defensive maneuver that a player executes to prevent the ball from hitting the ground after an attack from the opponent. A dig is a controlled turn tactical enough to transform your opponent’s powerful attack to your team’s advantage. In short, a dig can turn what would have otherwise been a point for your opponent point into an opportunity for your team.

Another name for a dig is a bump. Gentle bumps are used in passing. However, digs entail absorbing the force of the attack and directing the ball upwards and towards one of your team members. A bump is a reflective skill that requires anticipation, quick reflexes, and the right technique.

What Are 10 Handy Techniques for Tactical Digs?

Wondering what are the essential practices you need to master this move? Worry not. Here, we have a selection of 10 techniques you should follow to improve your dig game: volleyball how to dig

  • Be in Position

Anticipate the direction where your opponent will hit the ball and move there quickly. Ensure you are positioned under the ball before it can reach its highest point. You might also prefer a staggered stance for reaction time and balance. This is where one of your feet is a bit forward.

  • Platform Creation

With your forearms, form a stable platform by stacking your arms, thumbs, and fingers interlacing in a way to create a flat surface measuring approximately the size of a book. Keep your hands relaxed to absorb the impact.

  • Posture and Footwork

Stand in a low athletic stance, ensuring your knees are bent with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, move quickly so that you are under the ball and let your core engage and your shoulders square to the net. Move swiftly and lightly on your toes. Use short steps to maintain balance.

  • Contact Point

Make sure you contact the volleyball with your “sweet spot,” in this case, at your middle forearms. Lean a bit into the ball at contact, as at this point, you can easily control its direction.

  • Focus on the Ball

Focus your eyes on the ball throughout the whole digging process so you can track the ball’s trajectory and reaction. Focusing on it is important to anticipate who you should pass it to. volleyball dig

  • Accurate Passes

Focus more on accurate passes rather than powerful passes. High-quality passes are better than powerful ones that could go out of bounds

  • Follow Through

After contact, extend your arms upwards to direct the ball toward your target. Ensure you give your teammates a controllable pass to set them up for an effective attack.

  • Practice Various Digs

With the many dig techniques available, including forearm digs, bump passes, diving digs, and much more, you should practice as many as you can and learn to execute them well. This way, you become more versatile.

  • Communicate With Others

Maintain constant communication with the rest of your team members. Let them know that you are digging.

  • Be Patient

To be a pro in executing digs takes time and practice. You should not expect to see instant results; hence, don’t be discouraged, but put in a lot of practice to see improvement.

Volleyball Digs Drills

By now, you understand that a well-executed dig can neutralize your opponent’s attack. A curated and anticipated move like this can demoralize your opponent and initiate a powerful counteroffensive. You need dedication, practice, and doing the right drills to execute powerful volleyball digs. Check out the drills for dig & spike volleyball we have below and incorporate them into your practice routine.dig & spike volleyball

Wall Dig Drill

The wall dig drill is fundamental for seasoned players and novices alike. The technique only needs a ball and a wall. With these, one can practice arm positioning and control. Throw the ball against the wall and then dig it while focusing on a flat platform. Practice controlled passes and speed work.

Partner Dig Drill

This drill requires a partner to stand facing you, serving you the ball. The drill enhances your reaction time to the ball and your ability to handle various serving styles. Focus on controlled digs, quick footwork, and platform positioning. You can introduce overhand serves later for increased challenge.

Zigzag Drill

This drill comprises footwork with dig drills. It hones your skill and makes you a well-rounded defender. Place markers in a zigzag pattern across the pitch and shuffle sideways toward each marker. Your partner serves you with a ball to dig whenever you reach sideways of each marker. This improves your reaction time, footwork, and ability to dig while moving.

Volleyball Digs Mistakes

Like any sport, volleyball digs could result in mistakes that both experts and beginners would prefer to avoid. Some dig errors include:

  • Foot Work

One common mistake comes from sloppy footwork, meaning you cannot absorb the ball’s impact. As a result, there could be missed digs or shanks. Also, players could find themselves not being in a ready position.what is a dig in volleyball

A ready position is when your feet are shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent so that you can transfer the ball’s weight to your feet. Not being in position bars you from reacting fast or moving towards the ball. Not shuffling your legs is another mistake. Without shuffling, you cannot move quickly or toward the ball’s direction.

  • Platform

Without forming a platform, your hands are not flat and together, and your fingers are not spread to create a stable surface for the ball to land. When your hands are close together, they help you control the ball’s trajectory during this defensive maneuver. Conversely, when they are too far apart, the ball could slip away from you or bounce off in an unintended direction. Don’t make your hands too stiff, or it will be harder to absorb the ball’s impact, causing pain or injury. Make sure to relax your fingers to cushion the ball’s impact.

  • Other Mistakes

Do not panic; it can result in poor decision-making and rushed movements. Consequently, do not give up on the dig, but ensure you try every dig, even the most difficult ones. Also, communicate well with your teammates and let them know your position so you can cover each other effectively.


Volleyball digs can be a game-changer in a match where your opponents seem to be ahead of you. Mastering how to execute them well takes time, dedication, and practice. You should also be able to understand various pitfalls, such as footwork errors and inappropriate platforms, that could cost you a game. Avoid platform mistakes such as improper hand positioning, stiff hands, and more. Most importantly, avoid panic, maintain communication, and don’t shy away from getting the hang of digs in volleyball. When done effectively, they have the potential to save any match.