How to Bump a Volleyball

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At first, learning the correct method to pass a volleyball can be difficult. The technique needs to be near perfect if you want to be a good player. Therefore, knowing how to bump a volleyball is crucial.

How to Bump a Volleyball

Mastering how to correctly bump a volleyball can change the entire outcome of a game. After all, if you do it incorrectly the ball might fly out of the court and you could lose a point. Not only that, but you could also make a mistake while passing it to your teammates.

That’s why you need to learn and master the basic techniques. Though that’s just the first phase of your journey. There are many other advanced (yet small) details that you need to follow when it comes to bumping a volleyball.

Make contact with the ball between your wrists and your elbow and the move is always done at waist level

Step 1: Square Up and Position Your Body

Bending your knees, tilting your torso slightly forward, and getting into a good position will influence the execution of your bump. There are certain details about your positioning that you need to know to perform a correct pass. These tips will help you have a better form.

  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Make sure that your body faces the net
  • When receiving a ball, do not reach only with your arms. Instead, you should quickly position yourself right under the ball
  • Bend your knees as much as possible. You can use them to add more power to the pass. This will, ultimately, allow you to guide the ball better
  • Keep your eyes on the ball at all times, even when you bump it
  • Try to keep your chin down
  • Try not to move while passing the ball. If you do, this will add a little spin to it

Importance of Good Body Positioning

Body PartBenefit
FeetQuick reach and better aim
KneesStronger pass, better aim
TorsoEnhances accuracy
EyesImproves reaction time

Step 2: Position Your Arms

If your arm positioning is correct, the ball will have a good trajectory. For this, you want to clasp your hands and create a “platform” that will help you correctly contact the ball. Though, remember that you should only bump the ball with your forearms, nothing else.

There are many ways to create the platform. The quickest way is wrapping your left hand around your right one. While doing this you should have your elbows locked and slightly close to each other. Be sure to keep your arms relaxed and prepared as well.

A person bumping a volleyball

Your final arm position should have your thumbs parallel to each other and point straight to the ground. Your wrists and hands should also be together side by side, don’t let one be higher than the other. Lastly, your shoulders should be relaxed and ready to act.

Step 3: Make Contact With the Ball

Making the right contact with the ball is essential when it comes to bumping. However, It might not be as simple as it seems. You need to be aware of certain details to perform an effective pass.

Here are some tips that will help you have better contact with the ball.

  • The contact should be made at waist level
  • Be sure to contact the ball between your wrists and your elbow. That is called the “sweet zone” and it is the only part of your body that should hit the ball when bumping
  • Always try to hit the ball with both arms. If you only hit it with one, the ball might not take the trajectory you intended
  • Don’t swing your arms while contacting. It should just “bump” on your forearm
  • Try to press both wrists when contacting and don’t let them break apart, no matter how strong the serve is
  • Fully extend your arms and keep them strong. If you don’t, then you might send the ball out of the court
  • Don’t try to aim with your arms. Instead, twist your shoulders to give a trajectory

Step 4: Step Back and Reposition

You indeed need to move and search the ball to correctly bump it. Yet, you can’t stay put, you need to reposition yourself back to your zone. In volleyball, everything happens fast.

An image of a person showing how to bump a volleyball

It doesn’t matter if you are a defensive or an offensive player. You need to stay quick and focused.

How to Avoid Getting Hurt When Bumping a Volleyball

If you’re a beginner or even a regular player, you might experience pain after receiving a hard serve. After all, you’re repeatedly hitting your forearms. To avoid that, you should wear long sleeve shirts until you get used to bumping the ball.

However, there are many other reasons for arm pain. If your arms are hurting too much, it could be because your technique is not adequate. Oftentimes, you might hit the ball with something else other than your forearm, therefore causing pain. This could make you face an injury.

If the ball contacts too high and touches your hand, it will hurt. The same goes for if the ball contacts too low and touches between your elbow and your bicep. Because of that, try to keep the contact only on your forearm, nothing else.

How to Bump and Save Challenging Balls

The next step after you understand how to bump the ball is to learn how to dig. This is a defensive technique that requires the player to quickly reach for a challenging ball. In this scenario, you will probably have to throw yourself into the floor to bump the ball.

To do this, you will need to anticipate the ball as much as possible. Then, immediately try to align your forearms under the ball. Use your left foot to hop and get airborne. As you’re making contact, lean into the ball and try to aim your bump into a player on your team.

You’re probably going to be hitting the ground a couple of times if you do this. This is a common risk factor for finger injuries. Therefore, be sure to practice a lot, and slowly work your way up before fully committing to it.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about bumping a volleyball.

Why Does Bumping a Volleyball Hurt?

A volleyball is usually painful to bump because the ball moves at a high speed toward your arms. Additionally, some balls can be hard, which can increase the pain in your forearms.

However, bumping should only produce minor inconveniences in your forearms. If you feel too much pain, you need to check your technique.

Can You Bump a Volleyball With Your Wrist?

No, you shouldn’t use your wrists to bump a volleyball. This could only send the ball out of bounds, making you lose the point. Additionally, overusing it can harm your wrists.

Can You Get Injured by Bumping a Volleyball?

No, if you use the correct technique and practice a safe amount of time, bumping will not injure your arms. However, if you bump incorrectly, it could lead to an arm injury over time.


As basic as it seems, bumping the ball has a lot of details. They allow this simple technique to be one of the most influential factors in volleyball. That’s why beginners should learn the drills right away to set a good base.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.