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Basic Volleyball Skills – Volleyball Serve

The basics of volleyball serve will introduce some ideas to become an efficient server. Discover important serving tips.

Volleyball Serve - Purpose

The purpose of the volleyball serve is to make opposite team’s offense as difficult as possible. A server can try to “ace” to get a straight point or make a tactical serve to give advantage to your own defensive team.

A player hits the ball over the net to specific location on the court using underhand serve, top-spin serve, float serve, jump float or jump serve.

Volleyball Serve – Rules

  • Underhand servers should release the ball into the air before hitting the ball – it is illegal to hit the ball without releasing it from the holding hand first.

  • A player has to perform the serve behind the backline; a player can not step on the line.

  • When a player serves, the feet must have last touched the ground inside the sidelines, and of course not on the endline. A player can't step on the backline when serving, but can step on the backline after the serve. The location of the ball on the serving moment does not matter, so hypothetically a player can hit the ball outside the sidelines.

  • Since the volleyball serving rule changed, let serve (ball hitting the tape, the top of the net and landing to the opponent’s side inside the lines) has been legal.

Serving is the only moment of the game when you have a total control over the ball. Be sure to take advantage of it – it can be your moment to shine.

Volleyball Serve - Basic Tactics of Serving

Importance of a serve has grown since volleyball started to use rally scoring. Games are much tighter nowadays, teams are often separated by just couple of points. Now your serve really matters because that’s a major weapon to give your opponent hard time and prevent them scoring a point on their offense.

Especially in the international high level volleyball serving with risk has led to growing number of errors in a game. There you have to take risk and serve hard, otherwise your opponent will score a point against you.

My old coach used to tell us juniors “when playing against the best team in the world, you might have a chance to score some points, if you serve very aggressive and let yourself miss serves”. He continues: “However, if you play against an easier team, there is no reason for the aggressive serves and mistakes. You will score points with a moderate serve; there is no need to be extra aggressive”.

When serving in the match you should first evaluate what serving strategy gives the best chances to score points and win the game - then proceed with it (in many teams the coach often guides how to serve).

Important Tips for Volleyball Serve

  • The purpose of the volleyball serve is to make opposite team’s offense as difficult as possible.

  • Remember what serving strategy will give the best chances to score points and win the game.

  • When opponent’s offense is strong, it is reasonable to take more risk with serves. It is a fact that more difficult serves will most likely increase the amount of serving errors. Those errors just need to be accepted. However, more difficult serves will most likely to increase the amount of bad passes, which can break down opponent’s passing and damage their offense.

  • Serving is all about the toss. An accurate and predicted toss reduces the misshits.

  • When practicing the certain serve, keep the toss and your arm swing the same when repeating the serve.

  • It helps to become more accurate in that particular serve and put the serve into your unconscious mind.

  • Keep your eyes on the ball at the moment you hit it. Learn more than one serving style to give hard time for passers. Learn serving tactics, how to serve to give the best opportunity to score a point for your team.

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