Why do volleyball players tape their fingers? [Unveiled]

Why do Volleyball players tape their fingers

In the world of volleyball, where every touch matters, fingers bear the weight of the game.

Finger injuries are common, but you can avoid them with preventive measures.

You might have observed the players wearing tapes on their fingers, but is that a fashion statement or a kind of protection?

Quick Answer: The volleyball players tape their fingers to prevent injuries and enhance performance.

Some standard taping techniques, like buddy taping, compression taping, etc., offer extra support and stability to their fingers.

It can also speed up the healing process, protect nails, and make fingers more firm.

As a coach, I have seen many players, primarily the middle blocker, hurt their fingers, and trust me, it’s not fun. It can lead to serious injury.

So, it’s not a fashion statement but an important step to feel safe and sound while playing volleyball.

In this article, I will explain the reasons for finger taping, the benefits, their different types, and some myths circulating this concept.

What is volleyball finger taping?

Volleyball finger taping refers to applying athletic tape to the fingers to prevent injuries or support existing ones.

The goal of this technique is to stabilize the joint of a finger and add support to the hands and fingers during abrupt movements like spiking, setting, and blocking.

The taping method can vary depending on your need and the injuries you face.

You can apply the taping to one or multiple fingers and target areas such as joints, ligaments, or any place with the possibility of injury.

Why do volleyball players tape their fingers?

Taping your finger can help you reduce the risk of having the most common volleyball injuries, such as a jammed or swollen finger, sprains, tendon strains, etc.

If you already suffer from a finger injury, it can help you continue participating in the game with much confidence and less discomfort.

I recommend you learn the proper methodologies of finger taping to maximize its benefits.

You can also consult an authentic healthcare professional for the appropriate taping guidance specific to your needs.

Don’t hesitate to get help from your coach or teammates if it is your first time taping the fingers.

A volleyball player applying tape for injury protection

Another essential thing to do is to inspect the tape’s condition during gameplay and the tape removal post-activity to maintain good hygiene. Also, don’t tape on wet or greasy fingers, which causes skin irritation.

How to tape your fingers for volleyball?

The first step of taping your fingers is to gather the necessary supplies, including athletic tape, scissors, and a clean towel.

I am listing the general steps of the finger-taping process below:

  1. Wash your hands with a good soap and then dry them with a clean towel
  2. Put a thin layer of adhesive tape on your finger.
  3. Wrap it around your finger, starting from the base and going up to the tip.
  4. Secure the tape at the tip of your finger.
  5. Criss-cross it for maximum support.
  6. Ensure the tape is protected and comfortable to the finger but not too tight.
  7. Replace it when it becomes dirty or loose.

I have primarily focused on cutting the excessive tape because it can cause inconvenience and interfere with your play.

Remember that using too little tape will not provide the necessary support.

I am referring to a helpful video below, which shows the step-by-step procedure of the tapping process.

Make sure to watch it for complete understanding.

Types of volleyball finger taping

There are more than eight methods of volleyball finger taping, each with its own purpose. I am discussing the most common four methods, along with the steps of each.

1) Buddy taping

Buddy taping is the most famous finger-taping method for adding strength and support to the fingers.

It involves taping two fingers together and is helpful for the fingers with the most chance of injury, such as the middle and index fingers.

The steps are listed below:

  1. Place a small piece of folded gauze between the injured and adjacent healthy fingers for added support.
  2. Bend the injured finger slightly and hold it close to the healthy finger.
  3. Wrap the athletic tap around the base of the two fingers. Make sure that it overlaps onto the healthy finger for stability.
  4. Continue wrapping the tape around the two fingers, and once you reach the fingertips, secure the tape by pressing it onto itself. 
  5. Test your fingers’ movement to ensure they can move naturally.

2) Nail Taping

Nail taping is the finger taping used to protect the nails. It involves wrapping the tape around the finger in a butterfly shape to protect the nail from breaking.

The steps for this method are as follows:

  1. Prepare a piece of athletic tape about 3 inches long.
  2. Cover your nails by applying the tape over the tip of your fingers.
  3. Roll the tape around your fingers,  from the base to the tips. It should be done diagonally, like a butterfly shape.
  4. Cut down any excess tape.
  5. Some players also apply a small amount of nail polish to the edges of the tape to seal it in place, but this is an optional step.

3) Compression taping

You can use compression taping to reduce swelling and protect the sprained finger.

An injured finger is usually challenging to move, and reusing such a finger can cause significant injury in the future.

So, it is better to rest the finger for a few days and then tape using the following method for better healing.

  1. Clean and dry the sprained finger to ensure proper tape adhesion.
  2. Begin the taping process by applying the initial end of the tape on the skin, just above or below the affected finger.
  3. Hold the tape’s end and wrap it around the injured finger. Make sure to overlap each layer to create support.
  4. Continue the wrapping process until you have covered the whole sprained finger.
  5. Secure the end of the tape by firmly pressing it against the skin using adhesive tape to stay in place.

4) Criss-cross taping

You can use criss-cross raping to reduce the bending of the finger.

The taping is done in a criss-cross pattern to add support and prevent the finger from bending too much.

I am listing the step-by-step procedure below:

  1. You will need an athletic tape about 12 inches long.
  2. Begin by applying the tape across the finger’s top, from the base to the tip.
  3. Apply the second strip of tape across the finger diagonally from base to tip.
  4. The second strip should cross the first strip at 45 degrees.
  5. Repeat applying the tape strips in a criss cross pattern such that each strip overlaps by half.
  6. When you reach the tip of the finger, cut off any excessive tape.

Benefits of volleyball finger taping

Finger taping has several advantages that can increase a player’s performance and protect him against finger-related injuries.

Let me discuss some benefits in detail.

1) Speeds up healing

The finger-taping technique helps to stabilize the injured or sprained fingers by speeding up the healing process.

It reduces excessive movements and minimizes the strain on the affected area.

It is crucial to seek assistance from your athletic trainer when you have accidentally jammed your finger during the match.

The trainer can access your finger and can effectively tape it.

It allows the injured tissues to heal more quickly by minimizing re-injury potential.

2) Protects the nails

When playing volleyball, your fingernails can be particularly sensitive, especially when you’re on defense, trying to block a lightning-fast spike.

That’s where the risk of accidentally breaking your nails becomes a real concern.

If you apply finger taping, it acts as a barrier between the nail and any external force.

It means that taping helps to create a protective layer, which reduces the chances of nail cracks or, in the worst case, the detachment of the nail from the finger.

3) Provides Support

It is the most significant advantage of finger taping.

Let’s assume that a volleyball player “Alex” is in the middle of a match.

He dives for the ball and makes an excellent and powerful dig.

Alex feels a little strain in his fingers. That’s because he hasn’t taped his fingers, which can now lead to a finger injury.

Finger taping would have provided an additional layer of support to the joins and tendons in Alex’s fingers, protecting him from the risk of sprains.

So, the tape acts like a protective shield, reducing the possibility of painful finger injury.

4) Improves grip

The athletic tape is an adhesive that enhances the grip on the ball by providing a little tacky surface for the fingers.

It can help the loss of control issues over the ball, allowing the volleyball players to gain more control during various movements like setting, serving, etc.

A woman volleyball player spiking with her fingers taped

5) Protects fingers from injuries

The tape acts as a protective layer, cushioning the fingers from direct impact with the ball or accidental contact with other players’ body parts. 

This protection can be crucial in high-intensity and high-impact situations, such as aggressive spikes or fast-paced rallies.

The finger taping protects the fingers from direct impact with the ball or accidental contact with teammates’ body parts.

It is critical in high-intensity situations where abrupt movements are needed, such as fast-paced rallies or stopping powerful spikes.

Myths behind Volleyball players taping their fingers

There are several myths and misconceptions about finger taping in volleyball.

I heard them when I first started playing volleyball; they have no truth.

Let’s explore some myths surrounding this concept.

MythsReality
White Tape is distracting for the spikerIt is invalid, as the tape’s color does not impact the spiker’s attention. The spikers focus more on their positioning and hitting strategies than the color.
The tape adds strength to the fingers to hit harderHitting the ball depends on power, technique, and arm speed, so this is a myth, and tape doesn’t help to hit the ball harder
Taping all fingers improves performanceTaping all fingers doesn’t guarantee performance and is unnecessary for every player. It depends on the specific needs and requirements of the players.
Taping makes you less sensitive to the ball.While it’s a common misconception, taping can actually enhance ball feel and touch sensitivity when done correctly.
Taping can serve as a preventive measure against lift violations.While taping can offer added grip, it doesn’t contribute to preventing or addressing any volleyball rule violations.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Finger taping is a common practice among volleyball players that provides support and protection to the fingers, reducing the risk of injuries during intense matches or training.

As there are different methods of taping the fingers, such as criss-cross, buddy taping, etc., the technique depends on the individual’s need.

In short, volleyball finger taping is not a magical solution but a tool to prevent injuries and support fingers.

Make sure to clear your concepts regarding the myths and misconceptions surrounding finger taping.

Fingers taped, game on!

FAQs

Do volleyball setters tape their fingers?

Yes, volleyball setters tape their fingers to reinforce their grip on the ball and stabilize their fingers during setting movements.

It is also helpful for the prevention of injuries, such as finger sprains or fractures.

What kind of tape do volleyball players use?

The volleyball players use athletic or sports tape for finger taping. This tape is designed to be flexible and adheres well to the skin.

Why do volleyball players wear tape on their legs?

Volleyball players wear tape on their legs to support muscles and joints, which minimizes the risk of strains or sprains.

Leg taping also enhances their performance during sudden movements and jumps.

How often should I tape my fingers?

You should tape your fingers depending on your preference.

Some players tape their fingers before every training and match, while others may only apply tape if they need extra support.

It is better to seek advice from a doctor for personalized advice.

Can I tape my fingers if I have a skin condition?

Consult a medical professional before taping your fingers with a skin condition because some adhesive tapes can cause irritation or even worsen the skin condition in case of finger taping.

How long should I keep my fingers taped?

Some volleyball players choose to keep their fingers taped throughout the entire match, while others remove the tape during the match if they are comfortable.

The simple rule is to remove the tape when it becomes loose.

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