What is a Pancake in Volleyball? “Get the Pancake”

Micah Drews


Volleyball has many different varieties of rare and random hits. There are many desperation hits that go unnamed, but some of these have specific names that help them be identified.

In volleyball, pancakes are some of the most game-changing moves. An exciting atmosphere can be generated when a team executes this skill well. It is guaranteed that your team’s energy will spike if you side out or win the point.

What is a pancake in Volleyball?

What is a Pancake in Volleyball

In pancakes, the hand of a player is flattened against the ground before the ball contacts it there. What is the purpose? In order to keep the ball alive. What is the challenge? It’s all about timing, placement, and guts.

When the ball comes straight at you, you won’t pancake it. Now is the time to pass. You can usually save a ball even if it is off to the side by diving, throwing your arm out, and popping it back into play before it rolls.

In a pancake, you sacrifice your body and reach as far as you can, hoping your flattened hand will generate enough bounce to allow your teammates to get the ball back in play when the ball is rapidly dropping.

There are relatively few moves like this. The opportunity to get the pancake is relatively rare, even for players who have been trained to do so. There is something special about pancakes because of this.

Recognizing an opportunity and taking it is the sign of a great player. It is often overlooked, however. You don’t need to spend valuable practice time teaching your girls how to pancake when they could be working on serving and receiving. 

The pancake is a game changer, and you aren’t preparing children for higher-level volleyball if you don’t teach them how to do one (especially at a very young age). I teach (or at least review) this skill to every team I coach, even though it may be more of a mental thing.

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A Pancake’s Physical Aspects

What is a Pancake in Volleyball

The Dive

You do not need to pancake the volleyball if you do not dive. Younger players may try to pancake the ball inappropriately when you first teach them how to do it.

Encourage them to use new skills they are learning, but correct them on the proper time to use them. It is most common to execute pancakes when moving forward quickly, but it can also be done when diving to the side.

Dive safety and pushing through the dive are the most important parts of diving rather than falling and trying to catch themselves. The younger players might not be as graceful as older players, so move slowly through this section.

The Reach

The perfect thing about pancakes is that they can be popped up with either hand. You can use your non-dominant hand as long as you can place it under the ball. In order for your team to be comfortable diving in either direction, teach your players to use both hands.

To prevent the ball from bouncing off their knuckles at an odd angle, the hand should stay flat and slightly pressed against the ground. As a result, injuries are also less likely to occur.

The Recovery

You should get up after eating a pancake and get out of the way. In this case, teammates will swarm to the area to play the next contact since the pancake only bounces the ball a few feet from the ground.

In a sideways dive, teach your players to a) get up and away from the nearest teammate, and b) jump up after a forward dive. Players can then predict who will play the next ball based on this information.

Getting a pancake is exciting, but finishing the rally is important. As soon as the player gets up and gets back to his position on the court, he increases his chances of winning the point.

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A Pancake’s Mental Aspects

What is a Pancake in Volleyball


That pancake can only be obtained if you really, really, really want it! In order to defend their side of the net, players must be totally focused on the game.

During a match, your team is unlikely to generate many (if any) pancakes without this determination to keep the ball alive. It really depends on the individual whether your liberos and DS want the ball that badly.


Determination is the foundation for this. It’s impossible to save the ball if you’re not determined to get it. To become a great athlete, players have to be a little bit crazy in order to go for the ball with everything they’ve got.

Failure must be ok for them. There are times when pancakes don’t turn out well. Otherwise, they will not go for it unless they know their effort will be appreciated. Neither the player nor the team culture can sacrifice without the other.


Whether you’re eating a pancake before or after, trust is essential. Regardless of the outcome, players must believe that they will be rewarded for going for a pancake.

As well as believing that their team can recover the ball after it has been saved, they should have a sense of confidence that they will do so.

Why would a player go for the ball if he or she doesn’t believe their team will move to get the ball?

Similarly, they need to know that while recovering from a pancake dive they won’t be trampled. Players in the front row who aren’t confident in their back row often turn and run into defenders who are available to make a play.

So that these types of collisions don’t occur, teach your front row to believe in their defense.

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Why Would You Do a Pancake?

What is a Pancake in Volleyball

Pancakes are a last resort, and you should never do them. It hurts to use the pancake and it rarely works, which is why you won’t be looking forward to it. When you get the pancake, you’ll gain the respect of your teammates, the awe of your fans, and the heart of your coach.

When playing on a competitive team, players should practice pancake dives so they are ready to execute an attempt if needed. As with other dives and slides, you can be injured if you don’t do it correctly.

The damage can be limited to minor temporary discomfort with a little practice. This kind of move might be expected to be performed by liberos or defensive specialists, but anyone who wants to win may have to attempt it.

It very rarely works for the following reasons:

  • In the first place, it’s very difficult to get a good hit. When you are in a desperate situation, your timing has to be perfect.
  • As for the direction and height of the hit, both are pretty unpredictable.
  • Additionally, your teammates are often too shocked to play the ball even when you do everything right.

When To Do a Pancake?

What is a Pancake in Volleyball

We are discussing a rare situation here. Even if you play a whole season, you may never get the chance to perform a pancake dive. In this case, you won’t be able to reach the ball even with a normal good dive.

The ball is just out of reach ahead of you, so you’ll have a much better chance of making a clean pass with a quick step or dive. If you’re caught off-guard by a surprise tip or a net serve that just falls on your side of the net, then the pancake is for you. The pancake is the best choice when you can’t cover so much ground, and the ball is dropping fast!

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How to Execute a Pancake

What is a Pancake in Volleyball
  1. Your defensive stance will usually be ready for receiving or digging.
  2. For most players, this is their left foot. Step forward with your non-dominant foot, preparing for a dive.
  3. Allow your body to fall farther toward the ground if the dive does not take you far enough.
  4. The moment you are about to hit the ground, drive yourself forward, HARD. In order to transition from down to forward, avoid diving upward at all costs. When you get lower to the ground, it will hurt less.
  5. You can perform a one-armed Superman dive by reaching out your dominant hand. Face the ground with your palm down. Make plans to slide. You can reach your target without sliding sometimes, but sometimes you’ll need to slide.
  6. When you slap the ground, try to time it so that you slap it right when the ball makes contact. It is crucial to understand this. When the ball hits your hand just as it is planted on the ground, it has enough force to bounce up without you swinging at it. You will simply lose it if you time this wrong.
  7. Your teammates should be immediately notified – “Help! ”, “Play It!” or “Ball’s Up!” It is very likely that they are surprised and may hesitate just a moment. It will be easier for them to respond if you call them. In addition, by shouting like this you are letting the ref know that you just hit him hard. You can sometimes give the referee the assurance to let the game continue by calling out like this when it is difficult for them to see what just happened.
  8. Getting up, getting out of the way, and getting ready! As you lay in the middle of the court, your teammates are unable to play the ball. Roll away from the nearest player as soon as you come up from your slide. As a result, your teammates will be able to play the ball better, and you will be ready to finish strong in order to win the point!

Teaching How to Pancake a Volleyball Sequence

What is a Pancake in Volleyball

1. Pair up players with a partner. A partner stands with his arm outstretched and his hand flat on the ground, while the other lies on the floor with his arm outstretched. To help the player on the ground understand how to form his hand for the best bounce, the standing player drops the ball 10 times on the hand of the other player. Change places.

2. Continue with one player standing and one lying on the ground. The player on the ground will be responsible for tracking the ball, while the standing player will toss it from a short distance to the player on the ground. A progression like this helps players understand where to place their hands based on the trajectory of the ball. Furthermore, they learn how to move their hands from air to flat on the ground. Before switching, do each of these 10 times.

3. The next step is for one person to begin on their hands and knees. As the player is already on the ground, the tosser will encourage them to dive for the ball. Do not allow them to fall and catch themselves, but rather have them push through the dive.

4. After the player is on the ground, they dive forward or to the side to get the ball. When you’ve switched 10 times, switch again.

5. At the end, have the tosser toss the ball to a player who is low to the ground and in ready position. Every group should have plenty of space and avoid diving into poles, walls, benches, or other groups (seems obvious, but young teams often lack this). The passer instructs the tosser when she is ready, and this should go a little slower.

If you want to continue this progression, you can add rolls to side dives or have the tosser toss to different parts of the field to allow the passer to adjust to the direction of the ball rather than knowing where it is going.

Next, run a drill that gives them a chance to practice their pancake skills. It might be possible to get a chance by playing slow Tip and Chip, or even by playing a full scrimmage. Keep away from lines that cause the girls to forget everything that they just learned, such as serving and hitting.

Training for pancaking a volleyball can take quite some time, and you might not see results right away. Your girls will be pleasantly surprised when they finally pull off this skill if you remind them frequently and encourage them to do so.

Pancake FAQs

Is a pancake a dig?

In volleyball, a pancake is a dig. A pancake dig is also known as a pancake dig. To keep the ball in play, you dive dig with one hand.

Does a pancake count as a hit?

A pancake counts as a hit. Counting as one of a team’s three hits before it’s hit back over to the other team, it counts as one of three hits.

Are pancakes legal hits?

The pancake is a legal hit in volleyball. Whenever the ball touches the ground, it becomes illegal. 

Can you pancake with your foot in volleyball?

This is a legal move! Ball control isn’t good with it. It is usually the last resort to kick the ball. There was no control over the ball, so my teammate got a lot of foot digs, but I struggled to keep it alive.


In volleyball games, pancake digs have saved many plays. Using this dig requires several practices and confidence before being able to use it. If you practice some of the drills listed above, you will become more confident using this dig. 

You can make use of the pancake if you are a defensive player to get to some hard-to-reach balls. Compared to other positions on the court, liberos tend to use this defensive technique more often. Find out everything you need to know about the position in volleyball in our article.

About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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