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Handball: How to Serve the Ball

Updated on March 16, 2011

Tips for Improving Your Serve

1. Control

Inexperienced power serves often lead to a compromise in control.  Although you want your serve to be as powerful as possible, it is important not to lose control of the ball at the same time.  Regardless of how powerful it is, a serve that fails to stay within the receiving zone is useless.

Ideally, you should try to make the ball hit the wall at the same height that your hand strikes the ball.  For instance, if your hand strikes the ball at knee height, then you should aim for a spot on the wall that is about knee height.

For a low power serve, you want your ball to strike the wall at the same plane and barely clear the short line of the receiving zone.  If you want to serve the ball so that it lands near the long line of the receiving zone, hit the ball so that it contacts a higher point on the wall.

Make sure that your contact with the ball is not too low or you will have to lift the ball to ensure that it clears the short line.  Lifting the ball pushes it deeper in the receiving zone which also makes it easier for your opponent to return.  Practicing your serve will help you discover the ideal height that offers you the best control over your serve.  Your aim is to have your ball just clear the short line.

2. Serving to Your Opponent’s Strong Hand

Another good tip to observe is to serve to your opponent’s strong hand.  This is because many players are weak at defence when it comes to their strong hand.  The ideal return shot should be a defensive one.  By serving to your opponent’s strong hand, you force your opponent to play offensively which is more likely to end up in error.

3. Serving with Your Right Hand

Serving with your right hand gives you an advantage because the ball remains in your line of vision.  Serving with your left hand requires you to look over your shoulder and can delay your reaction to your opponent’s return shot.

4. Serve Variation

Not matter how powerful your serve is, if your opponent discovers how to handle it, it will no longer be effective.  Therefore it is important to vary your serves to keep your opponent guessing what kind of ball you will serve and where it will go.  Perfecting your technique for serving several different types of balls will help you maintain the advantage with your serve.  It is also a good idea to learn to serve from different areas of the court and to be able to serve a variety of shots from the same starting point so your opponent will find it difficult to predict what you are doing.

The easiest way to modify your serve is by changing the speed and hook on the ball.  You should target to develop at least two or three effective power serves to keep your opponent off guard.  If your opponent succeeds in learning how to return your favourite power serve, you can surprise him or her with another style of serving.  The element of surprise is the factor that will help you gain points in handball.

As with all sports, practice makes perfect.  Keep working on your power serve and practice, practice, practice.  In this day and age with information abound, you can speak to other players, take lessons, read books or search for tips on the Internet to help you perfect a variety of killer handball serves.

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