Most vulnerable part of the body when playing volleyball is your beloved fingers. It is very easy to get them injured. Indeed, most volleyball finger injuries take place when the player tries to block a strong incoming ball that ends hitting his fingers …
That’s the main reason why most volleyball players tend to tape most of their fingers!
Obviously there are other reasons why they do so, which I am going to address in this article.
3 Reasons why Volleyball players tape their fingers …
1. Strengthen your finger joints
If your finger joints are not strong enough, then they will definitely suffer a lot due to repetitive movements especially hitting the ball…
To understand a little bit how this looks like, try to hit a wall with your hands. The impact on your finger joints is similar of repetitive volleyball hitting thoughtout a game or a practice session.
That’s why it is highly encouraged to strengthen your joints by properly taping them. You can also do so by taping your fingers together. This would give you even more strength especially when blocking opponent ball.
Quick Tip: Not any tape would help protect your finger joints. There are some specific ones that are pretty much designed for these kinds of usages. For example, these quality finger tapes are used by many players who are suffering from weaker joints.
2. Overall Strength…
Volleyball players need power to execute most of their movements like hitting, serving and even blocking! Taped fingers help generate such power …
The most common taping technique is known as “buddy taping”, where two fingers are taped together. This will help to combine the strength of two fingers. However, it is better to choose sports tape or gauze, so you cannot stab your finger with the tape alone.
Learn more about what makes volleyball players so strong!
3. Nail Protection
Fingernail injuries are very common in volleyball, especially amongst amateurs who are not well educated about the best practices when it comes to safety and precautions. You can protect your nails by applying tape to the base of your fingers.
Keep in mind that it is not recommended to use fake nails in volleyball!
What kind of tape do volleyball players use for their fingers?
Finding or choosing the right finger tape to use is not hard at all. In my humble opinion the Hampton Premium White Tapes (Check them Here at Amazon) are a very decent choice …
They are wide enough (about 3 inches or so). You won’t need to change them during a given game. You can keep using them for a full game with no problem …
However, since these are quite cheap don’t hesitate to experiment other tapes and check how they feel during actual games.
Make sure you’ve got no allergy or whatsoever when applying the tape on your fingers. Half an hour is more than enough to test whether the tape is causing any kinds of itching or irritation.
(Step-by-step) How to properly tape your fingers?
I’d rather not talk too much here. I’ve embedded this Youtube video for you so you can check exactly the steps to properly tape your beloved fingers …
Why do volleyball players tape their fingers together?
We call this “buddy taping” and it simply refers to the practice of taping 2 fingers together. Some volleyball players even tape 3 fingers together (this is very rare though) …
By doing so you will give yourself the required support and strength for situations like setting, serving and spiking.
This is also common when you’ve got one injured finger with a weak joint. Even if you tape such a finger alone it still won’t be 100% Protected. In such a case it is better to tape it with another healthy finger in a way that puts the healthy finger first when in contact with a ball (You get what I mean…)
Should you tape your fingers for volleyball practice?
This mainly depends on the intensity of the session and the state of your fingers. In other words, if your fingers are weak due to injury or any other reason, then I highly recommend taping them even if the session is not supposed to be that intense …
Otherwise, if your fingers are healthy then it is up to you and your preferences!
Finally, if you are preparing for an important upcoming game, then it is highly recommended to emulate the same conditions that will be occurring during the game. Indeed, if you are going to tape your fingers during the game, then you should do so during the preparation phase so the feel of the ball would be similar which will make your preparation more efficient.
3 Risks for your fingers while playing volleyball …
Fingers Are Too Stiff
Stiff fingers while setting are usually good, but if your fingers aren’t conforming to the ball then it is creating stress.
This happens because the knuckles are locked and stressed at an angle, causing the ball to fall and the impact can quickly tire and hurt the fingers.
Basically, try catching the ball with your soft fingers and letting go with your hard fingers. This should make your writing quieter and more accurate and eliminate finger pain.
Fingers Are Too Soft
This is the exact opposite of number one, but it is also a potential cause of finger pain. The soft finger does not poke the ball, so it is suitable for smooth contact with the ball, but if you release the ball with the soft finger, the ball will twist or stretch too much, and you can get the control that the hard finger originally has.
Try stiffening your fingers until you find a position that is easy to adjust. Practice may seem tired, but once you understand it, tuning is much easier.
Contacting the Ball Poorly
Once you know the position of your fingers, consider placing your hands.
This category is very common, but if you are playing from a location that is not directly above your forehead and your hands are at an angle other than 45 degrees to each other, you will have trouble reaching the ball.
This is one of the more dangerous reasons. This can hurt your fingers, but it increases the risk of twisting your joints and pulling your muscles. Here the elbow is the normal suspect.
Volleyball positions that should tape their fingers …
The goal when blocking in volleyball is to go beyond the net as much as possible. This will steal the field from the spikes on the other side and allow the ball to fly from the block at the proper angle.
Unfortunately, you open your fingers for a great cracking sound. And when it comes to that, there’s not much you can do to protect yourself when the spikes on the other side hit the ball from a high place above your hand.
Defense is a surprisingly common finger-hunter, and has caused its fair share of sprains and broken bones in volleyball’s century-long history. Interestingly enough, this happens a lot more in defense than anywhere else.
People who are paying attention in defense are anticipating the play and their bodies are ready to react at full speed. When someone isn’t quite focused, has become distracted, or simply wasn’t ready for an attack, then this is when something tends to go wrong. In any case, sprained fingers in defense are often the result of the ball catching the tip of the finger head on.
When you’re playing defense, sweating it out and doing what you can to keep the ball alive, you’re bound to make some graceful moves and some not-so-graceful efforts.
Do volleyball players break their fingers?
Yes, injuries like finger dislocations and fractures happen in volleyball, especially at the highest level when the intensity is at its highest.
Sometimes this comes with an instant unbearable finger pain and sometimes it doesn’t because your body is very warm and you won’t feel that until it cools down …
Regardless, if you suspect an injury try always to bend the finger to all normal positions and check how bad it feels. If it feels very bad, then that’s a possible sign of broken finger and you probably should check with a professional sports doctor.
Is this the same for beach volleyball?
Finger injuries also happen in sand volleyball, yet they are less common because the overall intensity is significantly lower …
Taping fingers is less of practice in sand volleyball comparing to indoor volleyball because of that.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t protect your fingers if you think they are vulnerable. Indeed, I highly recommend to do so regardless.
Final Thoughts …
I am very happy because you’ve went through this whole article simply because not many amateur volleyball players know about the importance of protecting their fingers in this sport. Usually they become aware of that a little too late when they actually get really hurt in one or some of their fingers …
Of course you don’t need to tape all your 10 fingers, you might pick 2 or 3 fingers per hand that you assume are the most vulnerable to injuries, especially if you’ve got an old injury in a given finger.