Why do Volleyball Players Wear Arm Sleeves

Why do Volleyball Players Wear Arm Sleeves?

Arm sleeves have become an increasingly popular accessory in volleyball. From youth games to the elite pro level, you’ll see most players sporting snug sleeves on one or both arms these days. But why have these compression accessories become so ubiquitous in volleyball? Here’s an overview of the main benefits arm sleeves provide.

Reduce Friction and Scrapes

One of the most basic functions of volleyball arm sleeves is reducing abrasion on a player’s contact points.

In practices and matches, a player’s arms are constantly colliding with the floor, their body, other players, and even the net system. The repeated impact can lead to scrapes, floor burns, bruises and irritation on the skin.

Wearing an arm sleeve provides a protective layer of fabric over the arm that helps prevent this abrasion and injuries. The sleeves smooth out the surfaces, reducing friction from incidental contact during play.

For players that dive aggressively for digs, arm sleeves protect their limbs when outstretched on the floor. And reducing damage to the arms means less painful cuts and burns during matches.

Moisture Wicking

Volleyball involves near constant motion and athletic exertion. Sweating is inevitable, especially during longer matches on hot gyms.

All that sweat dripping down players’ arms would cause major interference and discomfort. Arm sleeves are designed from technical fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin.

The materials draw sweat from the arm through evaporation and capillary action. This pulls perspiration towards the outside of the sleeve rather than pooling on the skin.

Staying drier allows players to maintain grip and ball control. Wet arms make handling the ball much more difficult over the course of a match.

Compression Support

The snug fit of arm sleeves provides beneficial compression to the limb beneath. This can improve circulation and reduce fatigue similar to compression socks.

By gently squeezing the muscles, veins and arteries, compression sleeves increase blood flow in and out of the arm. Enhanced circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles for endurance.

The compression also reduces muscle vibration and oscillations that contribute to fatigue. Tight sleeves dampen the movements of soft tissues and tendons during exertion.

It helps players to swing and play for longer with less arm exhaustion. The sleeves essentially stabilize muscle groups, reducing damage from repetitive impact as well.

Warmth and Temperature Regulation

Arm sleeves help maintain muscle warmth before and during matches. Keeping muscles heated up improves elasticity and reduces chance of strains or pulls.

The thin layer of insulation arm sleeves provide helps retain body heat and lets players to stay warm during long stints on the bench between plays.

Conversely, the moisture wicking fabric prevents overheating as well. The sleeves breathe just enough to vent excess heat when players are active on the court.

Maintaining an ideal temperature range in the arm muscles enhances flexibility and minimizes cramping up.


Some volleyball arm sleeves incorporate extra padding or gel inserts around the elbow or forearm.

These thicker sleeves cushion the impact from hits and dives during gameplay. They protect the elbow joint and vulnerable forearm area from repeated trauma.

Padded sleeves help distribute and dampen the force across the arm rather than concentrated points. This reduces bruising and joint pain that add up over time and long seasons.

For defensive players and liberos that log lots of court time, the extra padding provides practical protection. The additional bulk does slightly inhibit motion compared to thin compression sleeves.

Why do Volleyball Players Wear Arm Sleeves


Let’s not overlook that arm sleeves have also appeared as fashion statements and displays of personal style. Bright colors and graphic prints allow another avenue for players to express themselves.

Many players now choose sleeves to match team colors or coordinate with an overall look. At the elite levels, compression gear represents sponsorship with major athletic brands as well.

The popularity of arm sleeves in adjacent sports like basketball seeps over to volleyball trends. As compression gear gains traction culturally, more volleyball players adopt it for both function and flair.

Drawbacks and Considerations

Arm sleeves provide enough benefits for most players to outweigh the downsides. But some limitations exist as well.

Some players dislike the feeling of snug sleeves during play. The compression can take time to adjust to. And moisture build up beneath sleeves requires taking breaks to air-out arms.

Extreme compression may limit blood flow for athletes with circulation issues or vulnerabilities. And sleeves worn just for looks provide less functional advantage.

Proper sizing for full coverage without restricting movement also takes trial and error. Arm sleeve width, length, and grip matter more than just compression level.

Overall, most volleyball players can gain tangible performance and protection advantages from arm sleeves. Their surging popularity directly correlates with real benefits for players under constant repetitive stress.

When are Arm Sleeves Most Beneficial?

Certain players stand to benefit the most from arm sleeves based on position and role:

  • Defensive specialists like liberos and diggers
  • Hitters and spikers who swing often
  • Players recovering from bruises, scrapes or strains
  • Those with vulnerable elbow and forearm areas
  • Athletes playing on hard floors or outdoors
  • During longer tournaments and matches
  • When cooling down between games in chilly gyms

Considering the volleyball arm sleeve needs for your specific position can ensure you gain the most advantage. Sleeve choice should match play style.

Best Practices for Volleyball Arm Sleeves

To maximize the benefits of compression sleeves, follow these best practices:

  • Consult your coach to ensure sleeves meet uniform requirements
  • Wash sleeves routinely to prevent bacterial buildup
  • Choose breathable technical fabrics that wick moisture
  • Find the right balance of snugness – not too tight or loose
  • Consider extra padding for high impact positions
  • Carry spare sleeves in case of rips or saturated sweat
  • Remove sleeves after matches and allow skin to breathe
  • Replace sleeves over time as elasticity decreases

Key Takeaways on Volleyball Arm Sleeves

  • Arm sleeves protect from abrasion, wick moisture, support muscles and regulate temperature.
  • Added compression can reduce fatigue and enhance endurance.
  • Extra padding provides cushion against repetitive impact for some positions.
  • Proper sleeve sizing and fabric enhances functionality.
  • Certain positions benefit more depending on play style and exposure.
  • Maintain sleeves well and replace over time for best advantage.

With the right sleeves, most volleyball players can improve their comfort, stamina and performance on the court. This functional fashion accessory has become a standard gear choice at all levels today.

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