How to Pass Better in Volleyball

Most coaches and professional players consider passing as the most important skill in the game of volleyball. Yes, even more than spiking or digging or serving.

“You cannot play volleyball unless you are good at passing,” says professional player James Martin Natividad, who has a profile page on Sportamix. Natividad is a medal-winning player from the Philippines who plays both beach and indoor volleyball. “You have to condition your body and have good training in order to pass well.”

You have to be able to pass the serve and put your team in a position to score. There are two different variations of passing, the forearm underhand and the overhead pass.

Forearm Underhand

Also known as bumping, a forearm underhand pass is the most basic way to hit the volleyball. It’s when a player uses his or her forearms to pass to another teammate. The trick is to make sure that you aim the ball in the right direction.

Passing the ball is the first of three ball contacts that a team makes in the bump-set-spike play. A good pass allows the setter to make a good set-up for a strong spike. 

Overhead Pass

An overhead pass involves hitting the ball overhead and directly to a teammate. You use your fingers for an overhead setting action.

For all your passes, stand in a comfortable athletic stance, with your knees bent and your feet ready to move. When passing, square up your shoulders and move your feet in the direction of your target. 

Tilt your arms in the direction that you want your pass to go, and you can get the ball behind you too by knocking the ball over your head. Use your legs to, to squat and achieve power. 

Pass to Yourself

You can become better at passing the volleyball even by yourself. Try passing the ball straight up in the air with your hands over your head and do it 50 times without letting the ball hit the ground. Use your legs and bend each time, it’s a good workout.

Trying moving forward and backward while doing the overhead pass. Keep your moves smooth. Then, add in a bump and alternate between overhead and bump passing.

Pass to a Wall

Try passing yourself up against a wall, allowing the ball to bounce back to you. Shuffle your feet sideways and back the length of a net while passing against the wall. 

Keep a good pace, and develop accuracy, then speed it up.

Passing in Competitive Women's Volleyball

Toss Catch Drill

This requires two players, and have one toss the ball to another who passes it back. The goal is to be consistent with basic passing and be aware of using legs, not arms or wrists, when passing back to the tosser.

How To Avoid the Pain

One of the biggest complaints after a good game of volleyball is the red sore marks up and down your arms. There are ways of lessening the impact of the ball on your forearms.

Whether it’s indoor or beach volleyball, the forearms could experience a great deal of pain.

Hold your arms in front of your body, and clasp your dominant hand over your non-dominant fist. So, for example, if you are right handed, you clasp your right hand over your left hand. Keep your helps slightly bended to cushion the impact and keep bending your legs.

Contact with the ball should be between the ball and the base of your thumb, not the forearms. Try to position yourself under the ball as much as possible to avoid stretching your arms out to meet the ball.

Keep a wide squat with your legs slightly more than your shoulder width.

You may consider wearing long sleeved shirts or protective arm sleeves at first before you perfect the bump. If your arms are sore and the pain gets worse, stop playing and rest.

Remember, it’s most important to have fun, and avoid the pain.