Master the Art of Passing the Ball with Forearms in Volleyball

Volleyball is a game of rapid transitions, powerful spikes, and impeccable strategy, but nothing sets the stage for a team’s success quite like a well-executed pass. In particular, mastering the forearm pass, often referred to as a “bump,” is critical for setting up plays, aiding defense, and maintaining fluid team dynamics. If you’re a beginner looking to get into the sport or an experienced player aiming to refine your skills, this guide will provide a detailed roadmap for perfecting your forearm pass in volleyball.

Basics of Forearm Passing


The forearm pass is a foundational move in volleyball that uses the player’s forearms to direct the ball. This technique involves joining your arms together to create a flat surface, ideally making contact with the fleshy part of your forearms to propel the ball to your intended target.

When to Use

Forearm passing is essential in various situations, including:

  • During serve-receive
  • On defense for low balls
  • When digging out spikes

Understanding when to use a forearm pass as opposed to other techniques like the overhand pass or spike is crucial for effective gameplay.

Importance of Stance and Positioning

Athletic Stance

Proper stance is the cornerstone of a good forearm pass. The athletic stance involves:

  • Feet positioned shoulder-width apart
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Weight distributed on the balls of your feet
  • Ready to move in any direction

Positioning in Court

Your position in relation to your teammates and the opposition is vital. Always be aware of:

  • Your zone of responsibility on the court
  • The positions of your teammates
  • The trajectory and speed of the incoming ball

Proper Technique for Forearm Passing

Creating the Platform

To generate a consistent and accurate pass, you must create a stable “platform” with your arms. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place one hand flat over the other, or interlock your thumbs, keeping arms straight.
  • Elbows should be close to fully extended but not locked.

Contact with the Ball

When the ball approaches:

  • Align your body so that the ball contacts the middle of your forearms.
  • Your shoulders and hips should be square to your target to maintain accuracy.

Follow Through

  • Upon contact, your arms should follow through in the direction you want the ball to go.
  • Stay balanced to prepare for the next play, as the ball might return faster than expected.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Swinging Arms

A common error is to swing the arms dramatically, akin to a golf swing. This usually reduces control and accuracy. Keep your arms stable and let your legs and torso do the work.

Not Moving Your Feet

Players often lunge or reach for the ball rather than moving their feet. Good passes start with good positioning, so make it a habit to move your feet.

Poor Focus

Concentration lapses can lead to poor forearm passes. Always track the ball all the way into your platform to ensure a solid and precise pass.

Drills for Improvement

Butterfly Drill

This drill involves two players and focuses on the basics. One player serves or tosses the ball to the other, aiming to control the return.

Wall Passes

Stand about 6-10 feet away from a wall and pass the ball to it. The goal is to achieve a consistent rebound that allows you to continue the rally with yourself.

Target Practice

Place cones or buckets at different locations on the court. Practice passing the ball so it lands in or near these targets. This drill enhances your directional control.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my forearm passes more accurate?

Focus on follow-through and make sure your hips and shoulders are aligned with your target. Also, practice makes perfect.

What can I do if I keep missing the ball?

Work on your positioning and anticipation. Often, getting to the ball is more about reading the play than it is about reaction time.


The forearm pass is a fundamental skill in volleyball that every player should master. Whether you’re in a high-stakes game or a casual beach volley session, the ability to execute a flawless forearm pass can make or break your performance. Remember, consistency is key. With proper stance, technique, and ample practice, you’ll set yourself—and your team—up for success.

Keep practicing, stay focused, and you’ll find that the art of forearm passing becomes second nature, enabling you to participate in more advanced plays and strategies as you grow in the sport.

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