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How do you dig a ball out of the net?

Regardless of your level or position, there will come a time when your teammates will pass the ball into the center of the net and it falls to you to dig it out. This skill looks impressive when you pull it off, but there’s one simple trick that actually makes it relatively easy to do.

The Simple Trick

I’ll go ahead and tell you now – most people aren’t using this technique, which means it’s unlikely that they successfully passed the ball they’re both staring at.

The trick is simply to stand with your shoulders perpendicular to the net rather than parallel. It’s our instinct to turn and follow the ball with our head and the rest of our body, but if we do that we end up facing the net. What this means is that when you try and pass the ball it’s probably going either straight up in the air (where it’s going to be very hard for a teammate to get to) or right back into the middle of the net.

But if you’ve trained for this situation and remain facing the edge of the court, you can gently direct the ball back into the center of your court where another player can send it over with control and hopefully a little power too.

Other Tips and Tricks

But the parallel shoulders isn’t all it takes to pull off this skill. Other vital components include:

  • Body position. Bend your knees and get low, otherwise you won’t have your platform down low enough to intercept the ball when it comes off the net.
  • Anticipate the ball’s movements. You’ll have to decide pretty early whether it makes more sense to drop down and try for the dig out of the net or if you should jump and try to send the ball over with a tip or jump set it.
  • Knowing the tension of the net. Some nets are so loose that the ball just falls right down and doesn’t bounce off the bottom tape at all. Familiarize yourself with the net before the game so you know if this is the case, and if it is try to jump up and keep the ball from getting into the net at all.

The easiest way to practice this skill is to stand at the 3 meter line and have a friend throw a ball into the net. As they throw move toward the net as you would during a game if this was happening. Get into position – knees bent, shoulders parallel to the net – and pass the ball high and into the center of your court. Get a cheap portable training net , a decent volleyball and practice!

Have your friend throw the ball at different speeds and into different parts of the net so you get used to how these factor influence the volleyball’s behavior.

Although a relatively rare event, digging the ball out of the net at a crucial moment can be a big momentum changer in a game, so make sure you work on this skill!

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