5 Types of Digging in Volleyball

5 Types of Digging in Volleyball

Digging is the defensive skill in volleyball. A dig prevents the ball from hitting the floor when spiked or served aggressively by the opposing team. If a player masters different types of digs, it will help the player to keep rallies going and save points.

In this article, we will discuss five types of digging in volleyball – the platform dig, pancake dig, J-stroke dig, swing dig, and roll dig. Understanding when to utilize each dig method can make you an asset to your team’s back line defense.

5 Types of Digging in Volleyball

1. The Platform Dig

The platform dig is the most common and fundamental dig technique in volleyball. It is usually the first dig method learned by players.

To execute a platform dig, you form a platform using the fleshy parts of your forearms and hands pressed together. Extend your arms in front with platform angled upwards and elbows locked. This forms a solid surface to bump the ball up and direct it cleanly to a teammate.

The platform dig is ideal for balls spiked or served directly at your body. By getting your platform in the ball’s path, you can bump it up with control. Lean your body slightly forward on hard-driven balls to absorb its power. Keep wrists firm and forearms together for a clean dig.

Aim the platform dig by adjusting the angle of your platform. A platform held flatter absorbs more power, while an angled platform directs the ball up and backwards to your setter. Practicing the angle of your platform will give you precision in directing your digs.

The platform dig is the first line of defense on balls hit straight at you. Mastering it gives you the ability to cleanly handle hard-driven spikes and serves. It takes repetition to develop a solid platform dig, but it’s essential for effectively returning balls to your offense.

2. The Pancake Dig

The pancake dig is an advanced defensive technique used on balls spiked or hit away from your body. It involves extending your arms and hands flat to the floor in a “pancake” shape and sliding them under the ball.

To perform a pancake dig, start low in an athletic stance with your arms out wide. As the ball approaches, bend your body further down and angle your arms palms down for a dig. The key is getting your hands flat to the floor quickly. Slide your arms together under the ball, using your momentum to lift and direct the ball upwards.

The pancake dig allows you to extend your reach to dig balls not directly at your platform. You can cover more court using this dig on hard cross-court spikes. It takes practice to get low and react quickly for the pancake.

Use the pancake dig on balls you cannot position your platform under. Pancaking requires you to read the ball’s path and move your arms into position. Digging balls from off-center angles or further away from your body will rely on sound pancaking technique.

Mastering the pancake expands your defensive coverage area. It turns you into a threat to dig any ball, no matter how far off-target. The pancaking motion itself also looks incredible when executed properly!

3. The J-Stroke Dig

The J-stroke dig technique is applied when you need extra reach to dig balls hit far to your side. It uses an arm stroke in a “J” shape to scoop up these off-target hits.

To perform a J-stroke dig, bend one arm at the elbow with your hand open facing the floor. Extend this arm down and away from your body in a “J” shape as the ball approaches from the side. Keep your arm relaxed on impact, using the arm’s pendulum motion to gently scoop or redirect the ball upwards.

The J-stroke dig enables you to snag balls spiked towards your side that your platform cannot reach. By opening up your arm in a pendulum, you can cover more court laterally and save off-target hits.

Reading balls spiked to your extreme side will let you get your J-stroke arm into position. The key is keeping the arm loose to softly redirect the ball’s momentum upward. Overextending the J-stroke can lead to poor control.

The J-stroke dig adds to your arsenal of defensive techniques for balls hit away from you. It provides lateral reach on the toughest off-center spikes coming your way.

4. The Swing Dig

The swing dig redirects hard-driven spike attempts using the swinging motion of your arm striking through the ball. It turns the ball’s velocity against itself to pop it upwards.

To perform a swing dig, pull your arm back as the spike approaches and drive it forward through the ball’s path. Make contact with a loose, open hand to redirect the ball upward at an angle. Allow your arm’s momentum to slice across the ball, taking power off the hit.

The swing dig works best on balls spiked directly at you with extreme pace. It’s ideal on kill attempts hammered down your line. The arm’s swinging action diffuses the spike somewhat, popping it high into the air.

Proper timing and open hand contact are critical for an effective swing dig. Let the arm swing through the hit naturally – don’t force it. The swing itself provides redirection of the ball.

Utilize the swing dig when faced with an opponent’s hardest spike attempts. It takes perfect timing but can diffuse the hit using the spike’s own velocity against it.

5. The Roll Dig

The roll dig employs rolling your body to get an arm or hand under low driven spike attempts. It turns your whole body into a scoop to dig up tricky low balls.

To perform a roll dig, slide your body quickly into the ball’s path as you see it driven low. Roll your body flat and get an arm or hand under the ball, using the floor to stop its momentum. Then lift it back up from the floor.

The roll dig allows you to get under low, sharply hit spikes that would be impossible to pancake or platform. By rolling, your arms gain extra reach to handle low skimming hits.

It is essential to react instantly to read and roll under low balls. Rolling your whole body flat turns you into a human backboard to lift the ball off the floor.

The roll dig transforms you into a versatile defender that can handle any spiked ball, either low or fast. It adds another layer to your digging skill set.

Bottom Line

Mastering all five main dig techniques – the platform, pancake, J-stroke, swing, and roll dig – will make you a complete defensive weapon on the volleyball court. Each dig brings unique advantages based on factors like ball trajectory, speed, and location.

Try to develop expertise in all dig types. It will helps you to keep balls in play no matter how they are hit at you. Solid digging wins games by turning defense into offense through long, extended rallies.

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