How to Strengthen Your Fingers for Volleyball
Playing a sport like volleyball, which requires extensive use of your fingers, can lead to finger sprains and strains. These seemingly small injuries can bench you for an entire season, so it's important that you have strong fingers that can bear the brunt of the ball as you volley and set. Adding finger strength exercises to your current workout routine can make a big difference in preventing injuries and increasing the power you put behind the ball.
Practice your setting using volleyball drills that focus specifically on setting and volleying the ball with your fingers. Set up in front of a flat wall and begin volleying in the air. Count to see how many times in a row you get set the ball straight up. Then, try the same drill but angle your volleys toward the wall so you can practice getting under the ball at different angles.
Stand a foot or two away from the wall and press your fingers against the wall. Carefully lower your body to the wall without moving your feet, as if you were doing a vertical pushup. Hold the position for three seconds and then raise yourself back up, keeping your fingers as the only part of your body in contact with the wall. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
Strengthen your fingers when you have a few moments in class or while watching television. One by one, press each of your fingers into your thumb as hard as you can, resisting with your thumb. Repeat several times for each finger.
Tape your pointer and middle fingers together before a game. This is often used as a way to strengthen fingers after you've suffered a finger sprain, because buddying the fingers together offers the strength of both when you volley. Roll athletic tape around the fingers snugly, but without taping so tightly that you lose circulation. Remove the tape once the game is over.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if your fingers feel strained. You might have sustained a mild sprain and should rest your fingers if your doctor diagnoses the pain as such. Finer sprains can be treated with the RICE formula; rest, ice, compression and elevation. You can play volleyball again once your doctor gives you the OK.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that you take steps to prevent overuse injuries. These include taking regular breaks and playing other sports for developing strength.
Do not return to play after an immediate injury to your hands or fingers.
- South Bay Hospital: Finger Sprain
- Sportverletz Sportschaden; Prevention of School Sport Injuries -- An Analysis of Ballsports With 2,234 Injuries
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Volleyball Injury Prevention
- Sports Injury Bulletin: Finger Injuries
- The Female Athlete's Body Book: How to Prevent and Treat Sports Injuries in Women and Girls
- Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images