5 Reasons – Why Volleyball Players Wear Long Arm Sleeves!

why do volleyball players wear long arm sleeves

Most volleyball players wear arm sleeves during games and while practicing, but those might seem to be useless! So, why most players still wear them?

Volleyball arm sleeves have several advantages especially when it comes to providing extra protection for your arms from ball contact. Indeed, after volleyball games hands tend to become sore and arm sleeves help effectively reduce such soreness as well as provide a good feel when hitting the ball.

In this article, I breakdown volleyball arm sleeves benefits as well as the playing positions that would beneficiate the most from using them!

5 Reasons volleyball players wear long arm sleeves?

Extra cushioning and protection from ball contact

Arm sleeves provide extra cushioning for ball contact. It is true that many experienced players have developed high tolerance towards pain coming from interacting with the ball, so the cushioning part might not be extremely useful for players of this caliber!

That however does not mean that arm sleeves do not take a portion of the pain beginners and amateurs!

Idea: If you are new to volleyball it is recommended for you to use a pair of arm sleeves until you get used to the sting the ball gives you when hitting it.

Friction prevention

This applies to more experienced players who are more familiar with the floor and who know how to fall correctly.

Players who play defense and dig a lot will be grateful to a pair of sleeves.

Sweat absorption and temperature control

This applies to people who sweat a lot! Like all things that are made for sports, sleeves are made from a variety of different materials, meaning not all sleeves are made equal.

Recommendation: If you sweat a lot, then look for sleeves that are made from absorbent materials. For example, those Quality Arm Sleeves will help you for this issue. They will also help control your heat output, which in return controls your sweat output.

Compression sleeve benefit

Compression sleeves are not only used in volleyball, they have been picked up by basketball and runners as well, but that does not limit them to these sports only, they are in fact involved in all sports that require physical strength.

These types of sleeves are known to help your circulation, and they can prevent arm swelling.

In volleyball they will help with relieving and loosening up the muscles while playing, preventing injury, cramps and contractions.


This might look silly but some players wear them also because they look kind of stylish!

That can have some kind of positive psychological effect on the player that can boost his confidence and give good results.

Arms sleeves quick recommendation

In my humble opinion I would recommend defense arm sleeves. These are the Mizuno Arm Sleeves (Check them Here at Amazon) …

Mizuno is a well-known brand in volleyball, which produces really good equipment.

They cover the arms from the biceps to the forearm, they are slick, simple and are nice on the eye. Their design is based on the official US volleyball national team equipment.

They are also based on a principle that OSFM (One size fits most), so you won’t struggle to find the size that should suit you.

Volleyball Positions that should wear long sleeves the most

A volleyball team has several players each one playing in a different position. Their assigned tasks and responsibilities are not the same …

Some positions have more engaging tasks than others. That’s why these positions require more the usage of arm sleeves!

Below 3 main positions …

Opposite hitter

The opposite hitter is also known as the right-side hitter and is a blend of offense and defense. Similarly to the outside hitter, the opposite hitter will get many chances to hit the ball during a game, which makes jumping a vital ability.

The thing that sets them apart from the outside hitter is the defensive responsibility and the responsibility to receive the serve from the opposing team.

This is where the sleeves are actually needed, the extra cushioning and protection that they provide will help perfectly protecting the hands from all those ball contacts.

Middle blocker

Also known as the middle hitter, this position is played by the highest player on the team (most of the time). They represent the first line of defense of the team against the opposite teams one.

The middle blocker needs to be sharp minded in attempts to read the attackers from the opposing team in order to utilize his hands to successfully block opposing team attacks.

In this case, arm sleeves have a prominent role. In fact, the middle blocker faces the fastest and hardest balls the enemy can throw at his team.

Sleeves, here and more than ever, can help cushion and protect the player form unnecessary injuries.


We all know that Libero is a defense only position and that he is mainly in the back of the court, awaiting the opposing team’s balls coming his direction. He is, indeed, the ideal person to receive those hits.

The libero is not allowed near the net and is distinguished by the different color of his jersey. His position is purely defensive.

Liberoes are the ones who will do the dives anytime all the time, and this is where the arm sleeves come in.

Apart from cushioning here they also fulfill the role of friction prevention. Liberoes out of all positions are highly recommended to wear arm sleeves.

Any other ways to protect your arms for volleyball?

Before arm sleeves were introduced to volleyball, players had a few tricks when it comes to softening the pain that you get after hitting the ball.

There are 6 main tricks, but all of them require practice and patience. Besides using arm sleeves you can utilize and combine these tricks in order to protect your forearms and elbows more effectively.

Properly bumping the ball – first learn how to make a platform, secondly get into the right position, and finally use your legs and arms to push it, not hit it, to avoid the sting.

Avoid contact with the interior of your forearms – this part of the forearm is most susceptible to soreness and it is best if you avoid hitting the ball with the interior of your forearm.

Avoid cheap balls – the materials a ball is made from are very important; avoid cheap balls that are made from bad materials

Follow the recommended PSI – If your ball is overinflated it might be best if you let some air out. An overinflated ball can easily hurt you, same goes for a ball that is not inflated very well. Recommended PSI is between 4.26 to 4.61.

Make sure to stretch before going out on court –Stretching is basically mandatory before doing any amount of practice in any sport, so it is highly recommended.

Tough it out – many volleyball players just get used to the pain and sting, they get tougher and tougher by every practice.

Volleyball elbow pads are also helpful for your protection!

What about beach volleyball?

The ball for beach volleyball is made out of lighter materials than the indoors, it is bigger, lighter and most importantly softer than an indoor ball.

Beach volleyball players usually do not wear sleeves during a game or during practice, simply because of the ball nature and used materials.

However nothing is stopping beach volleyball players from wearing arm sleeves, it is just not necessary to wear them since the ball is unable to cause the same amount of pain an indoor volleyball ball can cause.

Are volleyball passing sleeves legal?

Volleyball passing sleeves are legal, there are no regulations preventing you from wearing passing sleeves during a game.

Passing sleeves are basically volleyball arm sleeves that by the testimony of many people will not help you pass better, but rather help the team with dealing with your sweat.

People mainly use them as sweat prevention so the ball is not soaked in your sweat when you pass it.

Professional players, mainly liberoes wear them out of couple reasons. They absorb sweat pretty good, they have a technique that is a little bit enhanced by wearing passing sleeves.

NFHS rules 2-4 does not sanction wearing an arm sleeve or an arm guard which has padding for the elbows. They do not consider it a part of the uniform and it is the same as wearing a knee pad.

Final Thoughts …

I am not sure if I was successful or not, but I really hope that I’ve succeeded explaining the importance of arm sleeves for volleyball players (especially beginners and amateurs).

In fact, one Big hurdle preventing beginners from properly learning most volleyball moves is the soreness they feel after playing. But since sleeves really help solving that, then this will ensure an even faster learning pace.

Finally, I highly encurage you to have a look at the equipement you should have for volleyball as well as the typical clothing that volleyball players use!

Carissa Harmer

Carissa Harmer has over 6 years of volleyball experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest volleyball teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right path.

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