Here are volleyball serving tips to help teams improve chances of scoring points, limiting the opponents options for offense, and getting a free ball in return.
Today, the serve is still among the most important ways that an individual player can contribute to a team succeeding.
Serving is important because a service error in today's game results in a point for the opponent.
Players need to develop confidence in serving consistently and effectively to a 1) specific player or 2) weak area of the opponent's serve receive pattern.
Think of serving as attacking your opponent. Serving should be seen as an opportunity to give your team a strategical advantage.
The two basic types of serves are 1) float serves and 2) spin serves.
The float serve results in an unpredictable movement on the ball. With the ball dancing around in the air, this makes it more difficult for the opponent to get into the correct position to pass.
Since most players focus on serving floaters, the spin serve can be difficult to pass because often the receiver doesn't have a lot of experience passing the spin serve.
Sometimes younger players will begin with an underhand serve. However, I believe this to be a mistake. The ability to serve the ball underhand won't be useful because this skill isn't like any other movement in volleyball.
Unless you're going to learn how to serve a sky ball, learning to serve the ball underhand is a waste of your time. With every repetition you spend serving under, that could have been time spent learning to serve overhead.
To be strong at serving overhead, you should develop strength for the overhead throwing motion.
One of the goals for becoming successful at serving is to become a consistent server.
To be consistent, it's best to create a consistent routine for serving.
Developing a rhythm and sequence for serving is much like a free throw shooter in basketball. This involves clearing the mind and visualizing a successful serve.
Some players like to bounce the ball a couple times before they serve. It doesn't matter what you decide to do, just be consistent.
Also, it's best to keep the routine as short as possible. The more steps you go through, the more there is a chance to mess up. So, you want your routine to be short and simple so you will less likely make errors.
The toss. Toss the ball above or slightly in front of the striking shoulder. It's a good idea to practice tossing the ball before you attempt to serve. Focus on a low toss. The lower the toss, the easier it will be to time the hit.
Hand Position/Contact. To float the ball, contact the ball with the fingers pointed up. To put topspin on the ball, focus on wrapping the hand over the top of the ball, then the fingers finish pointed downward. You want the entire hand on the ball. You want to hit the center of the ball. If the ball has side-spin, then you missed the center.
Arm Action. Think of bow-and-arrow motion to the ball. The arm should move straight through the center of the ball in the direction of where you want it to go.
Serving Drill. If you are struggling to serve the ball over the net, then start by practicing the serve near the net. Start at the 3-meter line and aim for a spot on the ceiling above the opponents court. After you get 5 serves in a row over the net, then take a couple steps back. Serve again until you get 5 in a row over, then take a couple steps back. Repeat this until you are serving from beyond the end line.
How to Serve with More Power. Pull ups, push ups, over head presses, and medicine ball throws are strength exercises that can help you improve upper body strength for serving. If you haven't ever played other sports that involve over head movements such as throwing a ball, then throwing will likely help you. Throwing a volleyball, basketball, baseball, or another type of weighted ball will help you improve your overhead throwing strength.
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