4 Volleyball Passing Tips

Okay, so you think you've got passing figured out. You move your feet to anticipate the ball, your body position is pretty good, and your accuracy is improving.

However, there are still a few things that you can do to fine tune your passing game. Many of them focus on the passing platform.  

Here are four tips to make sure your passing technique is sound and effective:

The "Rule of Thumb"

When the ball's on its way, you can't spend a lot of time looking to see if you have the correct form. So here's an easy way to make sure your hands are aligned correctly. I call it the "rule of thumb."

Make sure your thumbs are lined up and pressed together from base to tip. After that, it doesn't matter whether you interlace your fingers or wrap them around the other hand.

The thumb trick keeps your passing area (the spot between your wrists and the middle of your forearms) level. If one thumb is higher than the other, or wraps over the other, you'll create an uneven surface.

Use Your Thumbs as a Pointer

When you receive the ball, the tips of your thumbs should be aimed as far toward the floor as possible. This makes your wrists angle downward, which flares your lower forearms out to create a better passing area.

As you follow through on the pass, make sure your thumb tips end up pointing toward your target.

Lock Your Elbows

The biggest mistake beginners make is letting their elbows get loose while passing. It's a natural instinct to pull your arms back toward the ball, especially when it comes up at your chest. Instead, back away from the ball so you can pass with full-arm extension.

Full extension is important for accuracy. Anyone who's taken a high ball with their wrists pulled in close to the chest and elbows out to the side knows it's impossible to control.

But locking out your elbows and extending your arms with wrists turned down gives you a solid, flat platform... the foundation for accurate passing.

Make locking your elbows second nature. Envision balancing a board on your arms. If you pull your arm in toward your head and unlock your elbows, the board will fall and the ball will shank.  

Don't Shrug It Off

One final tip: Shrug your shoulders as you go through the motion, keeping them up by your ears as you pass the ball. This helps you extend you platform as far in front of your body as possible and aids in keeping your elbows solid and locked.

It also tends to make you lean forward slightly, which counteracts another beginner's tendency: resting your weight on your heels.

When passing, you'll want to keep your weight centered over your mid-foot area, or slightly forward. This helps give the pass forward momentum.


With over 15,000 hours of beach volleyball coaching experience, Steve Ijams of South Beach Volleyball has achieved great success in building and maintaining the highest level of respect amongst players and students as well as other Instructors.

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