How To Serve A Volleyball.
Even though it's your hand that makes contact with the ball, the correct
positioning of your feet and the movement of your lower body will
determine how successful your overhand serve is.
I hope that helps to explain why much of my advice on how to serve a
In order to begin the serve we first start with how your feet should be
If you are a right hander you should place your right foot behind your
left foot so your right foot is perpendicular to your Left.
Your left foot should be pointed in the direction of the location of
where you want to serve the ball.
When you're first practicing your serve, your ball may not always go
where you want it to but no matter what, you always want to serve the
ball with a purpose.
Remember that you want to have a place or a person to aim for when
you serve the ball to in the opposing team's court .
You need to identify a location on the opponent's court where your serve
creates the most difficulty for the opposing team to run their offense.
Let's say you decide to serve down the line towards the opposing
team's left side hitter.
This means your left foot, your hips, legs and upper body should be
pointed straight ahead.
Your body should be squared to the net and facing position five (5) of the
opposing team's court since that is where you want to serve.
If you decide to serve cross court to the opposing team's zone one (1)
area, then you'd adjust your body position to the left so that your body
is facing your intended target.
You should have all your body weight on your back foot.
If you are right-handed then since your left foot is pointed in the direction
of your target, then the weight of your body needs to be on your right
The opposite is true if you are left handed.
This should be a very comfortable position.
Even though your front foot is pointed towards your intended
target, the heels of both of your feet should be on the ground.
The only lower body movement needed when you serve the ball will
be a very very slight step forward required when you shift your
body weight from your back foot to your front foot.
Your non-serving arm should be extended straight out in front of your
body. This is the arm that you will be tossing the ball in the air with.
This would be the left arm for right handers and the right arm for
It needs to be held comfortably straight out in front of your and parallel
to the ground.
photo by Luomen
Some people start with this hand down by their side. When you do
this, it adds more movement to your volleyball serve technique which is
Make sure the starting position for your left arm is straight out in front
of you, not down by your waist.
When you first learn how to serve you will underestimate the
importance of the toss. Don't worry everyone does.
The toss is one of the most important elements of the serve.
As you learn how to serve a volleyball, you will realize that getting the
With your straight left arm in front of you, toss the ball no more
than two to three feet in the air.
If you tossed the ball correctly the ball will land about between 6 to 12
inches in front of your front foot.
Remember the foot that is pointed towards your target?
That's the one.
Every time you toss the ball, if you were to let your toss fall to
the ground then the ball should fall several inches in front of your front
Your goal should be to toss the ball in the same way every time you
serve. You want to be a serving machine so you would toss the ball
two feet up in the air and 10 inches in front of your left foot.
Once again your toss should be two feet up in the air and 10 inches in
front of your left foot.
If you toss the ball to the left or the right of your front foot several
First a ball tossed to far to either side will force you off balance. Once
you are off balance then you will be forced to chase your toss. Chasing
When you do this your body is no longer facing the target you intended
to serve and you won't serve in the direction you are aiming for.
So guess what?
When your toss is in front of the foot that is pointing towards your
intended target, then everything is in line for you to serve the ball right
where you want it to go.
When the toss is too far to the left or right of your front foot then you
are much less likely to serve the ball to your intended target.
Your serving arm should be parallel and fully extended above your
non-serving arm with your fingertips and palm of your hand facing
downward lightly covering the top of the ball.
After you toss the ball, step forward shifting your body weight from
your back foot to your front foot to meet the ball.
At this moment you should begin your arm swing.
Start your RIGHT arm swing by pulling your arm straight back with your
palm facing outward keeping your elbow high.
For practice sake, while pulling your serving elbow back, if you were
ball over the net.
This is where volleyball players make a second crucial mistake
Many tend to drop their elbow to shoulder level or below, when they
pull their elbow back to serve.
Not only does this increase the possibility of shoulder irritation or injury
but it lowers your chances of serving the ball over the net.
Ideally you would use the same movement you would use to pull a bow
Once you've pulled the bow back, which your elbow symbolizes, as far
back as it will go, keeping the elbow as high as possible, you then raise
the forearm above your head with the palm of your hand turned outward.
Then bring your arm forward to make contact with the ball.
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