How to Dig Better in Volleyball

You will gasp, laugh and wince at these remarkable digs during games.

Undoubtedly, the most exciting part of a volleyball game is someone successfully performing a hard-to-get dig. It’s a definite way to show off your dedication to the team, and the sport. Some coaches are known to call a good dig a “work of art.”

A volleyball dig is a pass of a hard-driven ball from the other team. Sometimes they seem impossible to retrieve, but a few tips can help you get to the ball more easily.

Digging is connecting to a ball coming from a high point above the net. The ball is being hit in a downward fast path sometimes from as far as 30 feet away.

You have to act fast, and you have to adjust quickly. 

You could be faced with a variety of different types of digs that will include some extreme measures. 

Here are some:

  • A dive that results in a pancake, where you slide your hand under the ball and it hits the back of your hand to get it up.
  • Digging, diving and rolling using a one-step dive.
  • Diving to dig a ball that is in front of you, using a one-step dive.
  • Diving and digging a ball farther in front of you using a two-step dive
  • Diving with one-armed digs.
Pro Volleyball Player James Martin Natividad Digging
James Martin Natividad, from the Philippines, is on Sportamix, too.

Digging is essential to be a good defender and it shows that you’re willing to keep the game going by retrieving the ball at all costs and keeping it in play. 

Professional volleyball player James Martin Natividad from the Philippines plays both Beach and Indoor volleyball. He warns, “Volleyball is not an easy game. You can get hurt if you are not careful.”

One of the best ways to avoid injuring yourself in a dig or a dive. Avoid landing on your knees directly, and roll when falling. Keep your knees bent and bend with your knees, not your back.

When diving, it’s got to be done with care because in a gym it could result in some severe injuries. Of course, that’s why beach volleyball allows for some dramatic dives and digs that are buffered by the sand.

Diving dig in beach volleyball

The trick about diving is to avoid all parts of your body hitting the floor at the same time. Try to hit the ball before you hit the floor.

Watch the hitter and observe how he or she is positioned. Note how  the hitter is standing, how the shoulders are facing and where the hitter’s body is compared to the ball. These are all tell-tale signs of what to expect when the ball comes to you.

Make sure you are standing in the correct position to prepare for a volleyball dig. Keep close to the ground, knees bent, shoulders square over the knees and have your feet  in a stance that is more than shoulder-width apart.

Keep your arms in front of your body and keep them bent. Stay relaxed, but put your weight on your toes in a ready position.

Use both hands to dig, because it’s easier to control with two hands. Keep your chin up.

Sometimes a dig requires an overhand approach. Contact the ball with your fingers if possible but try to avoid inuring them.

Visualize the dig, where you are going to land, and where you want the ball to go. It’s a difficult skill to master, and simply just takes practice and luck.

Standing dig in beach volleyball