How to Become a Better Passer in Volleyball

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The passer is the player in a volleyball team who contacts the ball that has been served or attacked by the other team. It means that a pass is the first contact that a team makes. The main responsibility of the passer is to pass the ball to the setter.

It’s important to learn how to become a better passer in volleyball. It allows the team to execute the pass/set/hit offensive sequence effectively. Let’s discuss the best strategy you can use to improve your volleyball passing skills.  

How to Become a Better Passer in Volleyball

You need to learn the right passing technique and perform training drills if you want to become a better passer in volleyball.

A player practicing on how to become a better passer in Volleyball

Step 1: Learn the Correct Passing Technique

The most commonly used type of pass in volleyball is called the forearm pass. You need to bring your forearms together to make a platform for the ball to pass it. The goal of the passer is to pass the ball using forearms near the net for the setter to set easily.

You need to learn to control the direction and height of the ball with your forearms as a passer. The following steps will help you perform the forearm pass correctly.

  1. First, you need to have a relaxed stance with slightly bent legs.
  2. Get ready to intercept the ball by moving quickly in the correct direction.
  3. Once you’re in the spot where the ball is going to fall, make a fist by folding one hand.
  4. Wrap the other hand around the fist and make sure that your both thumbs are parallel to each other.
  5. Press both thumbs firmly and keep your arms straight.
  6. Make sure that your shoulders are facing the ball.
  7. Bent down a little in that position as the ball approaches because you’ll need to intercept it near the centerline of your body.

You must not create the platform using your forearms before or while moving towards the ball. This way, you can lose control and fall to the ground. Move naturally to get to the spot where the ball will fall and make the platform right before contacting the ball.

You’ll need to make sure that you’re in a balanced position while bringing your forearms forward to make the platform. Not only will it help you to control your body, but it’ll also allow you to intercept and pass the ball accurately.

Step 2: Perform Drills

After learning the right technique to pass the ball, the next step is to perform drills that will help you improve your passing skills.

Two ladies are passing the Volleyball to each other

Shuffle Passing

The “shuffle steps” is a two-person drill that will help you balance your body while passing. Use the following steps to perform this drill.

  1. Stand at least 10 feet away from the person/coach who will be tossing the ball.
  2. The coach will toss the ball towards you and you’ll need to pass it back to him/her.
  3. After catching the ball, the coach will toss it again at least 10 feet high in any direction.
  4. You’ll need to identify where the wall will drop and move to that spot quickly. Your task is to make a platform with your forearms and pass the ball back to the coach.

Repeating these steps will allow you to practice getting into the position quickly and pass the ball to the right spot. It’ll also allow you to absorb the contact of the ball and pass it with just the right speed and angle.

Pipeline Passing

If you find it difficult to get into the correct passing position quickly, you should perform a pipeline passing drill. Not only will it help you to increase your movement speed to get into the right spot to intercept the ball, but it’ll also improve your passing accuracy.

This drill also requires two people and you can perform it using the following steps:

  1. Stand about 10 to 15 feet apart from your partner on the court.
  2. Your partner/coach will toss the ball towards you and you’ll need to pass it normally.
  3. Right after passing, you’ll need to start running to touch the sideline.
  4. Your partner will receive and toss the ball immediately while you’re running toward the sideline.
  5. You’ll need to come back to your spot to pass the ball again without letting it touch the ground. 

You’ll also need to make sure that you pass the ball to the spot where your partner is standing.

Basket Passing

Basket passing is one of the most common and effective drills that you can perform to become a better passer. It’s the best drill for people who want to improve their passing accuracy. You can perform this drill alone using the following steps.

  1. Place a big basket on a court and stand about 10 feet away from it.
  2. Grab all the balls you have and place them near the spot where you’ll stand.
  3. Pick up the ball, toss it up in the air, and try to pass it so that it goes into the basket.

Repeat these steps and if you find it difficult to pass the ball into the basket, reduce the distance to five feet. You can also count it a successful pass if the ball just hits the basket instead of falling into it. This drill will allow you to improve your passing accuracy within days.

A player ready to pass the ball to his teammate

Step 3: Learn to Read the Serve

Learning to read the serve is critical to becoming a good passer. Make sure that you keep your eyes on the ball instead of the server’s face. Paying attention to the server’s standing position and tossing style will help you predict the direction of the serve.

Additionally, it’s also important to communicate with your teammates constantly. If you have read the serve right and you’re sure you can intercept the ball, inform your teammates right away. It’ll allow you and your team to avoid confusion and you’ll pass the ball successfully.

Importance of Passing in Volleyball

Good PassBad Pass
Initiates a good offensiveBarely reaches the setter
Enables the setterDisorganizes the team
Organizes the teamDisables the opportunity for a quick attack

Passing in volleyball is probably the most important part of implementing your offensive strategy. If you can’t pass the ball effectively, the setter won’t be able to set it for the hitters. Not only will it shrink the chances of earning a point, but it’ll also increase the risk of losing.

You need to keep in mind that each team can touch the ball only three-time. The ball must be sent to the other side of the net on the third contact. If the passer fails to pass the ball effectively, the setter and hitter won’t be able to perform their moves correctly. Resultantly, your team will fail to execute the “pass/set/hit” offensive sequence.

Tips to Improve Volleyball Passing Skills

Using the following tips will help you improve your passing skills to become a great passer.

  • Make sure that your entire body is facing the ball before making a pass to send it in the right direction.
  • Get ready to move before the other team makes the third contact.
  • Balance your body before making a forearm platform to pass the ball.
  • Always keep your eyes on the ball even while moving.
  • Never intercept the ball above your head. Always aim to pass when the ball is below your shoulders.
  • The more your practice the better you’ll become at passing.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about becoming a better passer in volleyball.

What Makes a Great Passer?

A great passer knows where their teammates are positioned and who can contribute to the play. For instance, if the setter is unable to make a play, the passer must know who can finish the play with an attack.

What Are the Most Important Elements of Passing?

The two main elements of passing are good positioning and great communication. If you incorporate these two elements into your game you will be able to improve your passing.

How Can I Anticipate the Ball?

To improve your anticipations skills you need to keep your eyes on the ball and predict where it will fall. It might be difficult at first, however, it will become increasingly easy over time.

Final Words

Passing is one of the basic skills that every volleyball player must learn. The best way to become a good passer is to use the right passing technique and practice as much as you can. I hope this guide will provide you with the right strategy that you can use to improve your passing skills.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.