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How To Jump Serve A Volleyball: Beginners Guide

Updated on January 26, 2011

Three Different Ways to Jump Serve

There are many variations on how to jump serve. Jump serving is a great skill to have if you want to be taken seriously in the volleyball world. Although having a good normal serve is fine, if your jump serves are powerful and accurate you will stand out as an awesome server. Other teams get intimidated by jump serves because, especially in high school and below, not many people have perfected their jump serve. Here are three different ways to jump serve. Pick whichever one gives you the most accuracy and power.

The Big Show

This is the most widely and commonly accepted jump serve. It starts out about 10 feet behind the service line with either a one handed or two handed toss. The toss is key to the success of this technique because if it is off even a little, your serve could be ruined. After your toss, you take your approach. One big step followed by two quick steps (left, right left for right handers; right, left right for left handers) comes next. And just like your approach, you swing your arms back when you jump to get you higher and to prepare you to hit. When the ball is just within your reach and in front of your shoulders slightly, this is when you should be making contact with the ball. Snap your wrist to add top spin and make this a very intimidating serve. There are some good and bad things about this approach.

Pros: Many people recognize this technique as how to jump serve. If you are having dificulties with it, you can most likely find someone to help you out. Also, this technique offers a lot of power potential to anyone who can master it. Especially with a high jump, it can be very effective. A more superficial pro: it will make crowds go crazy if it is done correctly.

Cons: For younger people wanting to jump serve, this can be difficult to learn, because the most important aspect is the toss. If the toss is off even a little bit, younger players will have a hard time adjusting. If your toss is off you could also get disoriented adjusting to the serve, and then who knows where your ball will end up going!


Low Key

This jump serve is great, especially for players who are new to jump serving or don't have quite as much control of their toss. It starts out by taking your first step of your approach, and holding the ball with your non-dominant hand. After your first step, and before you go into your last quick steps, you toss the ball about three or four feet in the air. You might have to make adjustments for yourself on the toss to find out what works best for you. Contact with the ball should be made when it is at your highest reach with the ball slightly in front of your hitting shoulder. This serve also has its own pros and cons.

Pros: This is an easy version of a jump serve to learn. There is a greater chance of the ball going where you want it to because of the more controlled toss. It is easier to aim because less time is spent tracking the ball.

Cons: This serve doesn't really allow you to jump as high as you might want because your arm swing is limited to your last two steps instead of being able to do it throughout your whole approach. A minor drawback... it's not QUITE as intimidating as the first serve because it is such a low key serve. It can work just as well, but the other team may not see it as the most intimidating serve they've ever gotten.

Quick Serve

Quick serves are best for people who like to use a one foot take-off in their approach. Middles should be good at this if they have experience running a slide. This technique requires you to face the right sideline for right handers, and the left sideline for left handers. For right handed people, take your first step with your right foot, then make a small toss along the end line. Next, jump off of your left foot, and contact the ball like you normally would for a jump serve. The difference in this serve is that after you jump off your left foot (or right foot, for lefties) your body turns from the sideline into the court. This adds some power to your serve because your whole body gets behind it instead of just your arm. You could also add another step in at the beginning if you are not getting enough height on your jump.

Pros: This is a very quick serve, and will probably catch the other team off guard. Be waiting for the whistle and go immediately after to make this an even more surprising serve. Also, because of how you start with your stance, the other team will have a hard time reading where your serve is going to go.

Cons: Landing might take an extra second to gain your balance, and getting back onto the court into your correct spot might take just a little longer. There isn't much forward momentum in this serve, so you have to make up for that by twisting your whole upper-body quickly to add speed.

All of these serves can be modified to suit what works best for you. You can add another step to your approach, or take one away. Toss the ball higher or lower, toss with one hand or both... there are so many ways you can make each serve your own. Know that your best serve might be the hardest to learn, or it could come naturally. It takes a lot of practice to perfect your jump serve. If you don't get it quite right even in the first year of trying it, do not be discouraged. Maybe ask someone more experienced with jump serves for help or try to switch up which technique you are using. Good luck!

Which serve do you prefer?

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      theo gutierrez 4 years ago

      how can i improve my jump serving skills!!!!

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      Nicole 6 years ago

      Definitely practicing that quick serve with my coach. I love slides. :)

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      haley 7 years ago

      I've tried every possible serve that might be a good jump serve and i just can't seem to get it right. i get so mad and give up even though i really don't want to.

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      Sminklet 8 years ago

      good job!

    • WeddingConsultant profile image

      WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

      Great hub about jump serving for volleyball. Do you happen to have any pictures or video? I'd love to have some visual representation of what you're saying.