What Is a Bump in Volleyball?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Bumping a volleyball is an essential move that has a lot of influence in every game. If you’re a beginner in this sport, you might wonder what is a bump in volleyball, and how to master this technique.

What Is a Bump in Volleyball?

A bump is the most basic way to pass in volleyball. The objective of this move is to safely hit a ball that is below your head and pass it to a teammate. It is often the first touch of the team as it is used to receive the opponent’s serve.

Even though this is a basic move, mastering it requires a lot of time and effort. After all, there are a lot of small details that can influence the outcome of a bump. That is why you need to learn the types of bumps, how to contact the ball, and even the ways to position your arms.

Woman bumping a volleyball

Types of Bump

The main objective of bumping is to safely pass the ball, however, it can have different uses depending on the situation. There are two types of bumps, and they should be used smartly in order to correctly pass the ball.

Regular Bump

This is the normal type of bump. It is often performed when a ball is coming towards you and you need to receive it below your head. During the bump, you need to contact the ball with your forearms and just let it hit them.

If you try to swing your arms while performing this move, you will probably send the ball outside of the court or too high up. This is because your arms can change the trajectory of the volleyball, so if you swing them upwards, the ball could even hit the ceiling.

Bump Below the Waist or “Dig”

This type of bump is commonly known as a dig, and it is used to save a challenging ball. Unlike the regular bump, this one happens below the waist and is often performed by safely falling into the ground. The digger’s objective is to prevent the ball from hitting the court at all costs.

This is often used to stop a difficult spike performed by the opponent. To do it, you need to anticipate the ball and try to get below it as fast as possible. This way you will be able to save a ball that would otherwise be unstoppable.

Pros and Cons of Digging the Ball

You can save difficult spikesIt can injure you if done incorrectly
You can keep the ball aliveIt can disorganize your team
You can fix your teammate’s mistakesYou could have a collision against a teammate

What Are the Ways to Position Your Hands to Bump a Volleyball?

Players participating in a volleyball game

When bumping a volleyball, you need to get your hands together and clasp them. This is also called “building a platform” with your hands. This platform can be easily built by wrapping your left hand around your right fist.

The final position should have your thumbs parallel to each other and pointing straight to the ground. You also need to make sure that your wrists and hands are at the same height. If they are not, the trajectory of the bump might be affected.

Tips to Make the Right Contact With the Ball

Making the right contact with the volleyball could be tricky as there are a lot of small details that should not be overlooked. Here are some tips that will allow you to have a better contact with the ball:

  • When performing a regular bump, the contact needs to be made at waist level.
  • Do not swing or aim with your arms. If you want to give direction to the ball, you need to twist your shoulders towards your target.
  • Always make sure to hit the volleyball with your forearms. If you accidentally hit it with your hand, the ball might not take the trajectory you intended.
  • Try not to hit the ball with one arm. The most common cause for this mistake is to have one arm higher than the other. If you hit the ball with one arm, the bump will not be accurate.
  • Keep your arms straight (not stiff).
  • Build strength in your arms. This can even optimize your overall performance as a player.
  • Keep your wrists pressed against each other. This will help you to receive powerful balls without breaking the position.
Man executing a volleyball bump

Related Questions

Does Constantly Bumping the Volleyball Hurt Your Forearms?

Constantly bumping the volleyball should only produce a little pain in your forearms. However, this pain is likely to go away after a few weeks. To avoid it, you can wear long sleeve shirts until you get used to bumping.

If the pain remains for too long you need to check your technique. Incorrectly bumping the volleyball can make your arms sorer than they would normally be, and it could also make you face an injury.

Is the Bump Considered a Hit in Volleyball?

Yes, in volleyball, the bump is regarded as a hit. If you bump the ball, your team will have two more hits before having to send the ball to the opposing side of the court.

Why Do Players Need to Hold Their Hands While Bumping?

Although it is not required in the rules, volleyball players hold their hands for extra precision, strength, and control over the ball. After all, this avoids their arms from separating while bumping.


While it is true that bumping a volleyball is a basic move, it is also one of the most important ones. Mastering it allows players to properly distribute the ball and even perform incredible saves.

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.