Finger sprains are among the most common volleyball injuries, according to a study published in a 2005 issue of “Sportverletz Sportschaden,” a German sports journal. In fact, the study found that finger injuries made up 53 percent of volleyball complaints in the subjects studied. If you want to save your digits during a volleyball game, proper placement, perfect technique and strong hands can help you protect your fingers during game play.
Perfect your volleying or setting technique. It's the volleyball move that requires the use of your fingers and not getting it right could you leave you at risk for injury. When setting the ball, your hands should be positioned over your forehead, with the forefinger and the thumb of each hand forming a triangular shape above your forehead, notes Volleyball.org. When making contact with the ball, all of your fingers should touch the surface; the better handle you have on the ball, the better you can control its direction, according to Volleyball Magazine.
Play with a lighter, softer ball while you're working on your finger strength and technique. This helps prevent injuries while drilling so you can nail your technique before game play. It's a drill technique recommended by Coach Sally Cus in her book, "Coaching Volleyball Successfully." If you're just starting out, go for a balloon. If you're more advanced, try using a foam ball instead.
Complete wall finger push-ups to create stronger fingers. Stand a foot away from a wall and place just your fingertips against the wall. Lower yourself gently until your face almost touches the wall and then use your fingertips and upper body to push your body back to its start position. Complete 12 to 15 reps during practice to strengthen and ready your hands for game play.
Press your fingers into your thumb to work on finger strength and flexibility in your spare time. Start with your forefinger of each hand and press it into your thumb as hard as you can, resisting with your stronger thumbs. Hold for five seconds and then repeat on each of your other fingers.
Tape your hands if you need extra support because of a past finger or hand injury. Buddy taping -- where you tape a past-injured finger to another finger -- is one way to give your hands extra support during a game, according to the Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science, Volleyball. Wrap sports tape around the top and around the middle to the bottom of your fingers for the most improvement.
Drill yourself on your volleyball skills to improve hand strength. Head to a wall and begin volleying at a slight angle so the ball bounces off of the wall before coming back down. Or, try setting straight into the air to practice the skill from different angles.