The forearm pass or bump is the most fundamental skill in volleyball. Whether you're an Olympian, rec league player, or backyard BBQ star, good passing skill is the key to success in a volleyball game. The forearm pass seems simple on the surface, but to execute it correctly requires solid technical fundamentals. In this article you will learn how to take a few technical keys and put them together into a perfect forearm pass. 

Athletic Ready Position

Ready Position
Credit: UW Athletic Dept
Start off in the standard "athletic position".  Feet slight wider than shoulder width. Hands on knees. Weight on your forefoot. This position will put you proper starting posture for passing as well as prepare you to move quickly to the ball. 

Wrists and Hands Together

Credit: USA Volleyball
Right before the ball is served or hit over the net, take your hands off your knees and form what is called the "platform", by wrapping your hands together with thumbs on top and the meat of the thumbs pressed firmly together. Your now ready to pass the ball. 

Straight and Simple Motion

Your goal during passing is to keep your motions as minimal and simple as possible. To initiate the pass, take a step forward and move your arms as one unit, in one motion starting from the shoulders. Don't bend the elbows or otherwise break your platform.  The more joints you move the more room for error you have. Keep it simple. If the ball is hit at you with significant speed you will eliminate the step and cushion the ball at the point of contact by retracting your arms a few degrees instead of swinging them towards the ball. Passing a hard struck volleyball will require practice and touch to perfect 

Face the Ball, Angle the Arms

Angle the Arms
Credit: UW Athletic Dept
Most passes in a volleyball game require the passer to direct the ball to a target that is not directly in front of them. The best way to do this is to face the direction of where the ball is coming from and angle your platform towards the target. This can be done by tipping your shoulders slightly in one direction or another. Passing in this manner allows you to quickly react to the ball. Trying to face the target at the last moment requires a lot of extra movement of the torso that is difficult to do when ball is moving swiftly. 


The last motion to perfect is the shuffle. In order to keep your body in the right position and balanced, you will want to shuffle to the ball. Avoid crossing your legs or popping up out of your athletic position.  Again, keep your motions simple and minimal.  If you can't reach the ball with a shuffle step, it's likely not your ball or your going to need to turn and run to chase it. 


A review of the keys covered:
  • Athletic ready position 
  • Wrists and Hands Together 
  • Straight and Simple Motion
  • Face the Ball, Angle the Arms
  • Shuffle
That's all there is to it.  Now all you have to do is get out there and practice. Find a buddy and play some "pepper" or have them toss or serve a ball over the net at you.  Just stick to the fundamentals above and you'll be a pro in no time. 
Volleyball Skills & Drills
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