Like most sports, volleyball requires every player to get good at some basic skills before they can truly excel at the sport. Here are the six basic skills you absolutely need to master to be a competent volleyball player – then on your way to being an expert.

1 – Passing

Passing is simply getting the ball to someone else on your team after it’s been served or hit over the net by the opposing team. It’s commonly thought of as the most important skill in all of volleyball, because your team can’t return the ball without a solid volleyball pass. Forearm volleyball passes are often used to direct the ball in a controlled manner to a teammate, but overhead passing is another option.

2 – Setting

The setter has the most important position on the team, and is often the team leader for this reason. It’s their job to make it easy for a teammate to get the ball over the volleyball net, preferably with a spike that the other team can’t return. The setting motion gets the ball hanging in the air, ready to be spiked by another teammate with force.

3 – Spiking

A real crowd-pleaser, spiking is the act of slamming the ball in a downward motion across the volleyball net to the other team’s side of the court. When done well, spiking is very difficult to return, which is why it’s an essential skill. A proper spike will help accumulate points quickly.

4 – Blocking

Blocking is another important skill, although it’s probably the most expendable of the fundamentals. Still, it adds a great dimension to the game, keeping the other team on their toes, so to speak. By timing it right, you can jump up and deflect or block the opponent’s attack before it even crosses the volleyball net, which can take them by surprise and give your team an easy point.

5 – Digging

Digging is a defensive maneuver in volleyball that can save your team from an offensive spike or attack. Your job is to keep the ball from hitting the floor, and you do that by diving and passing the ball in a fluid motion. Unlike a typical pass, you’ll probably be trying to recover the ball from a steep downward trajectory. This is another great skill to have, but isn’t as important as passing, setting, or spiking.

6 – Serving

Our final fundamental skills is serving. How can you be a great volleyball player without knowing how to serve? There are a variety of ways to serve, but you’ll most often see the underhand or overhand serves.