photo by diglips
With your overhand volleyball serve on the beach, aiming the ball short
is another effective way of attacking from the service line, especially
when playing against taller volleyball players.
In previous articles, I compared the spike approach a tall female
volleyball player needs to take, to the runway an airplane needs to
have in order to get liftoff.
To gain momentum and gather speed, an airplane needs to travel
down a long runway in order to get into the air.
The same is true for tall female volleyball players, who usually need
enough space to travel down their spike approach "runway" in order to
gather the strength and momentum needed to get them in the air to
spike the ball hard.
They usually like to position themselves behind or around the ten foot
line to begin their strong approach, which allows them not only to hit
hard but enables them to see where the open spaces are on the
volleyball court to hit to.
Now, she has to pass, then back up (which we know running backwards
in the sand is awkward and slows you down) get stopped, take a peak
at the court and make her shortened abbreviated approach.
Most tall female volleyball players will then hit a softer ball, a weaker
ball, or a down ball to keep the ball in play.
Or they will place a shot somewhere in the court, which is easier for
your team to defend or pick up.
Regardless of your choice of serve, whether you choose
to underhand serve, or overhand volleyball serve with a floater, float
jump, jump or use the sky ball---the main key to scoring direct points in
beach volleyball is to serve the volleyball where there are open spaces
on the court.
Don't allow yourself to be so drawn to or hypnotized by the two bodies
standing on the other side that you serve an easy serve right at them.
photo by diglips
Hey do this despite the fact that there's so much more open space to
serve to with only two players on one side.
For your overhand volleyball serve drills in practice, you can set up
targets, using your ball bag, your beach towel, your flip flops and even
smaller objects like your bottle of sun block and place these in positions
and spots around the beach volleyball court where players usually don't
stand in serve receive and where you know that they would have to
move out of their comfort zone to pass these balls.
To improve your overhand volleyball serve in the sand, challenge
yourself to serve a bag of balls at the beginning and end of practice,
where at least ten balls have to hit each target before you can move
onto serving at the next one.
Yes it may take some time at the beginning to finish this serving drill but
when you practice it regularly, it will become second nature for you to
put the opposing team in serve receive difficulty because you'll easily
Speaking of serving the ball to specific areas of the court, professional
players have learned the importance of directing the ball from the
service line to certain volleyball serve zones.
The serve in volleyball is the only time a player has total and complete
control of the game.
It's in that moment that they can make a real difference for their team
by scoring a direct point with the volleyball by "attacking with their
By 'attacking' I mean to serve the ball aggressively to certain volleyball
zones your goal is to keep the opposing team off balance and to make
them guess about what you are going to do next.
Most importantly the server forces one of the opposing beach
volleyball team's players to pass or serve receive outside of their
comfort zone which is usually their starting serve receive position in
the middle of the court.
Your goal as a server is to use your overhand volleyball serve to
force the opposing team's players to have to move from their
comfortable passing positions to pass your difficult serve.
If you serve an easy loopy ball over the net you are not making their job
to pass the ball difficult at all.
There are various ways to attack the other team with your serve.
One effective way is to aim your overhand volleyball serve deep
to specific zones like the corners of the opposite court.
By serving the ball to the deep corners of the opposing team's court,
the player closest to the ball is forced to turn her body and shoulders
from the net to 'go chase" the ball which puts her in the vulnerable
position of being further away from the net making it harder for her to
pass the ball where she wants to.
photo by Luomen
Now she has to pass the ball where you want her to which is further
off the net. This increases the chances of her getting an imperfect set
from her partner.
The player is forced to pass the volleyball from a longer distance
from the net, to her teammate who now has to make adjustments while
setting the ball.
So not only is the player passing the volleyball from further away
from the net, but she and her partner need to cover more space in
order to get back into the "perfect" position to start their spike
You want to play chess when you go back to serve a ball. On a chess
board the moves that you make are strategic so that you are
constantly asking yourself how can I force my opponent to move into an
area which will make it easier for me to block him, jump him, defend
against him or score against him.
Essentially, you want to point your overhand volleyball serve to specific
zones on the court which forces your opponent into a weaker position
on the court.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line and no
where is this more evident than when a player stands behind the middle
of their baseline and serves the ball overhand straight down the middle
of the court to one of the most vulnerable of volleyball serving
zones---the deep middle of the opposing baseline.
With a ball that's coming hard and fast between two beach volleyball
players, the teammates have to communicate quickly to decide who is
going to move to pass that deep ball and who is going to set.
When directing an overhand volleyball serve to this zone on the court
its called the "husband and wife' serve because the two players end up
fighting over the ball which often falls as an ace serve between the two
Be sure to check out more articles about the overhand volleyball
serve and other beach skills in the pages below.