How to Properly Dive in Volleyball

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Diving in volleyball is an important skill that every player should learn. Learning the correct diving technique not only makes you a great defender but also helps you protect yourself from nasty injuries.

In this article, we’ll discuss a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to properly dive in volleyball. Make sure that you read and understand each step carefully to improve your diving skill.

How to Properly Dive in Volleyball

If you want to become a strong defender for your volleyball team, use the following steps to learn how to dive.

An image of a player showing how to properly dive in volleyball

Step 1: Learn the Basic Diving Technique

The first and the most important rule while diving is to keep your eyes on the ball with your head up. You don’t want to look to the ground while diving or you won’t be able to control the pass.

Reach the Right Spot

If the ball is away, you don’t want to jump to reach it. Determine the position where the ball will fall and take a few steps to reach it before diving. You want to be at least one step away from the spot where the ball will drop.

If you’re closer than that, you won’t be able to control the ball as well as your body. Standing too far away will keep you from intercepting the ball.

Place Your Body Correctly

Slightly bend your kneesStand still
Keep your arms preparedRelax your arms
Keep your eyes on the ballGet your eyes distracted

Make sure that you step to the side of the ball and crouch after reaching it. Stepping to the side of the ball will allow you to bend your front leg’s knee easily while diving. It’ll also keep you from hitting the ground with your knee after intercepting the ball, which can hurt you badly.

Make a Platform for Hitting

Once you’re under the ball, you’ll need to make a platform using your hands and wrists. Fold one of your hands to make a fist and wrap the other one around it. You’ll need to keep both of your thumbs parallel to each other.

It’s important to note that you don’t want the platform to face the ceiling. Instead, you’ll need to bend both of your hands down so that they work as an extension of your body. This way, you’ll be able to position the ball in the forward direction by applying less force.

Intercept the Ball

As the ball is coming down, bring your upper body forward as well as downward at the same time to hit the ball. You’ll need to use your feet to push yourself forward while getting your upper body as low as possible to the ground.

Hit the ball using the platform you made with your hands to send it in the correct direction. Make sure that you stretch your arms fully before hitting the ball to control its direction. 

Contact the Ground

After hitting the ball, you’ll need to place your palms on the ground to support your body. After that, you can let your chest touch the ground. Make sure your elbows, hip bones, or knees don’t touch the ground before your chest. These are hard body parts and they can get bruised easily while diving.

Once your chest touches the court’s surface, use your hands to slide in the forward direction. It’ll reduce the intensity of the contact and help you control your body efficiently. Stand back up immediately to get ready for the next pass.

An image of a player dicing in a match

Step 2: Practice the Basic Diving Technique

The best way to start practicing the diving technique is to use a stationary ball. Then you’ll need to stand about two to three feet away from the ball’s position while facing it. After that, step to the side of the ball, pick it up with your hands and send it in a specific direction.

Once you have tossed the ball, you’ll need to contact the ground using the same technique mentioned above. Make sure that you perform these steps quickly and repeatedly. It’ll allow you to contact the ground safely after hitting the ball.

Step 3: Practice the Diving Technique With a Running Start

You’ll need to follow the same steps to practice the diving technique with a running start. But you’ll need to stand at least eight to 10 feet away from the ball. It’ll allow you to have a running start before stepping to the side and picking up the ball.

Performing this drill is important because you mostly need to take a few steps in a volleyball game before diving. It’ll help you get in the position quickly to hit the ball and control your body efficiently while touching the ground.

Step 4: Practice With the Coach

For this drill, you’ll need a second person or coach to toss the ball for you to practice the diving technique. You and the coach will need to stand 20 feet apart. The coach will toss the ball so that it falls about 10 feet away from you.

You’ll need to take the required steps towards the ball to perform the dive properly. It’ll allow you to perform all the steps from running to sliding. You can also ask the coach to toss the ball in different directions to make this drill even more challenging.

The coach can also change his/her position after tossing the ball. This way you’ll be able to practice how to control the direction of your pass.

What Is Pancake Dive in Volleyball?

Pancake is a type of dive that you need to perform with your one hand stretched out fully. It’s extremely difficult to perform and can also be dangerous. It’s used when the ball is very low and you don’t have enough time to take the necessary steps to get into the diving position.

A volleyball player how to properly dive in volleyball

You should only use it as a last resort to keep your team from losing a point. You can perform the pancake dive using the following steps.

  • Use your non-dominant foot to push your body hard to lean forward.
  • Dive as low as possible in order to make your entire body parallel to the ground. This position will allow you to cover the maximum distance in a short time.
  • Place your non-dominant hand on the ground to support your entire body. You’ll need to make sure that your hand is around your waist so that it can balance your body weight effectively.
  • After that, you’ll need to stretch your dominant arm in the forward direction. Make a fist using the same hand while stretching it out. Your entire arm should also be parallel to the ground.
  • Once your hand is fully stretched out, you’ll need to intercept the ball with the upper side of your fist.
  • After hitting the ball, you’ll need to slide on the ground while pushing yourself forward with your non-dominant hand. Make sure that your knee pads and the elbow pad (of your dominant hand) touch the ground first to avoid bruises.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most important questions that people ask about how to properly dive in volleyball.

How Do You Overcome the Fear of Diving in Volleyball?

To overcome the fear of diving in volleyball, practice with a stationary ball without a running start. Then, while practicing, incorporate the running start and tossing technique.

This will not only help you overcome your fear of diving, but it will also allow you to improve your diving skills.

Does Diving in Volleyball Hurt?

Yes, diving can be a bit painful if you are not experienced. This is because, essentially, you are throwing yourself to the floor. This is why most players use knee pads and elbow covers in order to avoid injuries.

However, the more you practice this technique, the less you will get hurt.

When Do You Need to Perform a Dive in Volleyball?

When the ball is on your side of the court but out of reach, you must dive. Diving allows you to cover more ground in less time and hit the ball before it hits the ground. Never dive if you can reach the ball.

Since diving is not as effective as a normal hit, you might send the ball out of bounds. Therefore, if you see an opportunity of reaching the ball without diving, do it.

Final Words

Learning the correct way to dive in volleyball will help you improve your defending skills. You can use it to keep your team from losing points and increase the chances of winning the game. We hope this guide will help you learn the proper diving technique to improve your overall game.

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.