How to Overhead Dig
Hand Passing Tips

The overhead dig is a defensive technique used to playing to ball with hands in order to pass it to the setter. 

It’s sometimes easier to dig with the hands rather than the platform. You may find yourself in an awkward defensive position when It’s not possible to use the forearm platform. For example, if the ball is spiked at your face, you could quickly put your hands in front of your face to play the ball. 

Position for Digging

  • Hands Apart
  • Elbows in
  • Feet behind head

This is the position for when digging with the platform or digging with your hands.  

For a ball spiked toward your face, bring your hands up quickly. Take the ball with your hands using a  setting motion. Keep your hands stiff. Follow through up and forward. 

It’s ok to double contact the ball. So go ahead and be aggressive with your hands. 

Common Mistakes for the Overhead Dig

Bringing the platform together too soon. It takes longer to break the platform apart to bring the hands up to the head to dig. Keep your elbows in to make it faster to bring the hands up. If you are too late to bring the hands up, you will likely mishandle the ball, or get hit in the face or shoulder. 

Body position is too upright. This position will make it difficult to pass the ball forward. Keep the feet behind the head will help get the ball going forward. It’s much hard to dig the ball when your body weight is behind your feet. 

Keeping the elbow straight is a mistake. You want to bend the elbows so you have more time to react. When the elbows are extended you won’t have as much strength to push the ball. 

Hands kept too soft. You don’t want soft hands like setting. Make the hands stiff so the ball doesn’t slip through. Keep the hands stiff so you can push the ball up and forward. 

Overhead Dig Drills

Have a partner throw the ball toward your head. Practice the technique for the overhead dig. Always start in an athletic posture with the feet behind the body. 

Next, have someone spike the ball at your head. 

Tips for Digging

Before digging the ball, you need to recognize how much energy is in the ball. 

For example, if the ball isn’t hit very hard, you will need to put energy back into the ball when you play it. 

If the ball is hit really hard, you will need to absorb the energy so you don’t pass it too far. 

Passing Angles

Often when you pass, you will need to angle the ball to where you are sending it. 

So first, face the ball that’s coming to you. You face the ball first, then angle your arms so that you pass the ball toward the target. 

You can angle the ball by dropping the inside shoulder. 

Remember, when passing a free ball or when digging, you want to pass the ball toward the net so your setter can set the ball. You want to make it easy for your setter to set a hitter. The better you pass, the easier it will be for the setter to set. As a defensive player, your goal is to pass the ball in a way that makes it easy for the setter to set a hitter. The better the set, the more likely the hitter will put the ball away for a point. 

When trying to pass a really tough spike, controlling the ball can be more difficult. When digging a tough hit, try to give yourself more room for error. You don’t want to pass too tight or make it difficult for the setter to set. So, for a tough hit, try to dig the ball higher and more off the net. This will ensure the setter can get to the ball to make the play. 

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Face Dig Technique

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