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Volleyball Coaching Mastering Volleyball Serve Techniques

Updated on July 12, 2011

Volleyball Serve Basics

The volleyball serve is the only skill in volleyball where the player has complete control over proper execution.

1. With a tough serve, a player can for a point immediately (serving an ace).

2. With a tough serve, a player can force the opponent to return the ball back over the net in an easy manner (free ball).

It's important to not take serving for granted. If a player has a "just serve in" attitude, they are missing a golden opportunity to put their team to the advantage.

Especially if the opponent sides out effectively, you need to give your team the advantage if you can. As teams advance in skills and tactics serving becomes even more important.

It's much different to serve in practice than when actually serving in a game situation win a match or tournament could be on the line. Therefore, volleyball serving drills should be created to give players game like pressure.

Types of Volleyball Serves

The main types of volleyball serves are the underhand, float, and topspin serves.

The underhand serve is the type of serve most beginning players learn first. It's also common for coaches to initiate drills with the underhand serve.

The float serve is probably the most common type of volleyball serve. It's called a foat serve because it's served with the purpose of the ball floating around making it hard for the opponent to pass.

The topspin serve is the least common serve. Topspin serves can be very effective if developed. Topspin serves can dropped quickly in front of the opponent making in extremely difficult to pass. Also, deep topspin serves are tough because the ball may appear to be going out of bounds then at the last second drop in the court.

Underhand Volleyball Serving

Techniques for the Underhand Serve

The underhand serve is the easiest serve to teach because there are so few variables. Since the serve doesn't involve a toss it's much easier to learn and control.

TIps for the Underhand Serve

1. Start in a stride position with the weight on the back foot.

2. (This is the position for a right handed server.) Hold the ball in the left hand in front of your body just below the waist and in front of the right hip.

3. Slightly lean forward.

4. The eyes should be focused on the ball where contact is going to be made.

5. Swing the arm back and then forward contacting the ball with the palm of the hand.

6. Weight is transferred to the front foot while contacting the ball facing the intended direction the served ball is going.

7. The left hand drops just before contacting the ball.

8. After contact the serving arm follows through toward the intended target.

Float Volleyball Serves

Techniques for Serving Floaters

Float serves are real effective for when the opposing passers don't keep their eyes on the ball. Floaters keep the passers on their toes ready to react to the changes in the flight of the ball.

Float serves allow the ball to move up, down, left or to the right making it more difficult for passers to judge where the ball is traveling.

When tossing the ball, the maximum height of the ball should be about slightly higher than the player's maximum reach. As the player makes contact, the hand should pop off the ball. The ball should be struck hard. The ball should be contacted in the center. A firm contact in the middle of the ball is what creates the floating action.

Starting Position

Start by standing with your upper body facing the direction you are going to serve the ball. Place the feet so that it will be easy to rotate the upper body easily through a throwing type motion.

For a right handed server start with the left foot forward with the right foot pointed outward to the right.

The ball is held in the opposite hand ready to toss.

Small step and toss

For some players, drawing the arm back takes longer than tossing the ball. So you may want to start drawing the arm back before you toss.

For serving floaters, the toss is out in front of the body, contacting the ball without it dropping significantly. Take a small step with your left foot (assuming you're right handed) and at the same time transfer your body weight in the direction you are serving.

Striking the center of the ball

To serve an effective floater, the ball should be contacted firmly by your hands palm. A good solid contact in the center of the ball allows for the ball to be served without spin. The goal should be to serve the ball without putting spin on it which helps to create a knuckle ball action which allows the ball to dance in the air making it much more difficult to pass. Beginning players may practice dragging the back foot when serving. By dragging the back foot, this helps remind players to only step with the front foot.

Tips for Serving Floaters

1. Upper body facing the direction you're serving. Left foot is in front.

2. Draw the hitting hand back keeping the elbow up and back.

3. Take a small step as you toss the ball.

4. Contact the ball in the center.

5. Drag the back foot.

Topspin Volleyball Serve

A big difference between the topspin and floater is the follow through.

To hit an effective topspin, the ball must also be contacted a little more back and up.

You should toss the ball ball over your hitting shoulder forcing you to step under the ball.

The ball should be contacted using a wrist snapping action. Wrist snapping helps put topspin on the ball.

The speed and power that can be generated helps as an encentive for players to develop a good topspin serve.

Good topspin serves can be real effective because passers rarely see them. The dropping movement on topspin serves can catch lazy passers out of position and not ready to pass.


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    • profile image

      Futamarka 5 years ago

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    • profile image

      nomit nishad 5 years ago

      i love this game...... in this game i willl smashed the balll.....

    • profile image

      chevelle sommerville 5 years ago

      love this page

    • jeanie.stecher profile image

      jeanie.stecher 7 years ago from Seattle

      I really love to play volleyball. As far as I remember the last time I played was when I was in High School. That was long time ago, that is why I am kinda eager to know the latest rules and technique in playing volleyball compared to the once we have way back then. And thank you for this post, it really amaze me to think that what we have before is kinda different as what you are practicing right now. I will learn to study this post to familiarize new techniques. thanks

    • profile image

      darkangel 8 years ago

      This article is really awesome, and how can you judge easily the smartness of this author? You even misspelled most of your comment. This guide is very helpful!

    • profile image

      Regan 8 years ago

      thanks i think that all that info will help me thank you

    • profile image

      Steven 9 years ago

      To whitney....don't u mean the TWO pics? there both terrible, and ur not smart but at leas tteh guide is sumwat helpful

    • whitney_185 profile image

      whitney_185 9 years ago

      After reading your serving article I decided to check out your profile, and you've actually been helping me for the past few months through your website! I have been to your strength and power website many times. I actually have it bookmarked on my computer. I just started coaching a youth club team and have found practically ALL of your information to be immensely helpful. Thank you for all of the wonderful information. Keep it up!

    • whitney_185 profile image

      whitney_185 9 years ago

      This is a great article on different serving techniques and it really goes into detail. The pictures you used relate well to your topic. Nice job!