How to Pass a Volleyball
Technique & Drills

For learning how to pass a volleyball, consider the footwork and passing platform. 

Footwork Position for Passing

Start in a position with the feet staggered. If the feet are on the same level, it’s hard to move forward and backward.

Once you’re set up, you want to have your knees in a bent position. You want to lean forward so your shoulders are in front of your knees. This position will allow you to be moving forward when passing.

If you don’t lean forward and stand more upright when passing, then you will end up passing the ball more upward instead of sending the ball forward. You want to place your arms in a bent position, relaxed out in front of your body.

  • Feet Shoulder Width
  • Feet Staggered
  • Knees Bent
  • Shoulders Forward
  • Arms in Front and Relaxed

There are 3 basic types of footwork.

1) Step

2) Shuffle

3) Run through

If the ball is close to you, just take a step. Step to the ball with the same side foot you are moving to. You don’t want to cross your feet.

Shuffling is moving both feet toward the ball. This is for when the ball is more than one step away from you. Shuffling is efficient because it allows you to get set up to the ball in fewer movements. You can also keep space between you as you move.

The third way to move is run through. This is much different than beating the ball to the spot.

Beating the Ball

  • Set up before the ball
  • Stopped and still
  • Waiting for the ball

Meeting the Ball

  • You meet the ball
  • You run through the ball

When you meet the ball, you aren’t there early to wait for the ball. You keep moving as you pass. This is called run-through passing.

For run throughs, you need to figure out the timing for playing the ball. For example, sometimes you will be sprinting, jogging, or walking as you pass.  

Passing Platform for How to Pass a Volleyball

When first learning how to pass a volleyball, you need remember to always have a flat platform.

To make your platform, start by making a fist with one hand and wrap the fingers of the other hand around the fist. Thumbs should be straight forward next to one another.

If thumbs were crossed, this would make the platform uneven.

You don’t want to be bending the arms when making contact for the pass. You want to keep a straight surface for passing. This is why it’s best to keep the thumbs straight.

When you pass, focus on contacting the ball on the forearms.

Common Passing Mistake

A mistake many beginners make is swinging the arms when passing. It’s logical to think you need to swing the arms to pass the ball, but in reality, the key to passing angling the platform and pushing the ball with the legs and shoulders.

Once you’re comfortable with your platform and using your body to pass, you can start to practice moving to the ball to make the pass.

 When moving to the ball, you move first then put the hands together later.

So it’s move first, then hands together second.

Side to Side Movement Passing Drill

For this drill, you focus on taking a step the ball, lean in as you bring the hands together to pass.

Once you get comfortable moving side to side, you can do the movement of forward to backward.

To pass the ball low and straight, lower the platform. If you need to pass the ball higher, raise your platform. You will likely notice you have more control passing when the platform is lower.

3 Keys to Passing

1)      Platform

2)      Not swinging the arms

3)      Moving the feet without having the arms together

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Volleyball Passing Footwork

› How to Pass a Volleyball