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How to Bump a Volleyball

The bump or pass is a major technique in volleyball that involves bouncing the ball off the forearms. It is generally used when receiving a serve or spike from the opposing team and is used to set up the typical “bump-set-spike” three move play. During official games the player must hold their hands together when bumping, otherwise the pass is illegal. The player also cannot catch or hold the ball on their forearms, also known as a “lift” or “carry.”


  • First, do your best to get in a stationary position in the path of the oncoming volleyball. This position gives you the most control of the ball; hitting the ball when it is to the side of you or when you are moving is much more difficult. Bend your knees and extend your arms out at a 45 degree angle with your palms facing up. Clasp your hands together by placing one hand on top of the other and wrapping the fingers of the lower hand around the upper. Some people clasp their hands together simply by placing the palms together and lacing the fingers, but this slightly alters the flat surface of the forearms and is generally not recommended.
  • Next, contact the ball around waist level with the lower area of both of your forearms. Keep your elbows straight during the contact. Avoid bumping the volleyball with your elbows or hands, as this makes it more difficult to control the ball. Also avoid swinging your arms, since that can give the ball much more force than necessary. Instead, gently push up with your knees as you hit the ball and square your shoulders toward your target.
  • In the beginning, practice bumping a volleyball that has been gently thrown to you. This will give you enough time to get in front of the ball and let you learn exactly where to contact it. If you don’t have a partner, try bumping the volleyball off a large wall. As you become better work on passing balls that are thrown at you more forcefully. Soon you should be comfortable bumping balls that have been spiked or served with great force. Good luck!