How To Serve In Volleyball Two Tips On How To Develop A Tough Serve

To develop a tough serve you need to decide early where to serve and then attack the ball with your serve in order to improve how to serve in volleyball. 

In order to learn how to serve for points, you need to develop two things

  • tough serving skills 
  • an aggressive mindset 

Katelyn with the Tough Jump Float Serve

Why do you want to develop a tough serve?

Once you've learned the basics on serving then you want to take advantage of your serving opportunity because its the one skill in volleyball that you do alone - which you and only you... control...

This means

  • you can make it easy 
  • you can make it difficult

for the opposing squad to easily run a play and score points against your team 

How To Serve in Volleyball 
Decide Early Who and/or Where You Plan To Serve 

The easier your serve is, the easier it is for the opposing team to run a point scoring play.

The tougher your serve is the harder it is to run a point scoring play against your team.

You don't want to make an easy serve because you don't want to make it easy for the other team to score against yours. 

"Think about what you want to do with your serve and how you want to do it" (Coach ApChap)

How To Serve in Volleyball
Think about how you can score with your serve


If you don't think about scoring a point when you serve, then you're less likely to do it.

But if you don't do it, then you are passing up a golden opportunity to help your team score an easy point.

Ella Serves An Ace Between The Left Back and Middle Back Passers

Remember to THINK about making a tough serve, not an easy one. 

From now on when you rotate back to Zone one on your way back to serve, as you are walking back to the base line you should be mentally forming this serving strategy.

  • "I'm going to place the opposing team in difficulty by making an aggressive serve"
  • I'm going to serve this particular player....
  • I'm going to serve to this particular court zone or position on the court

You should make up your mind that you are going to go back and serve an aggressive ball to a certain spot or to a certain player on the court.

How To Serve in Volleyball
Attack With Your Serve

When learning how to serve in volleyball you should picture yourself attacking the ball with your serve.

Think about it!

When you hit the ball, you are in an aggressive state of mind, right?

Well, just like you are in an aggressive state of mind when you spike a ball you want to recreate that same state of mind when you go back to serve a volleyball.

So when I say that you should be attacking with your overhand volleyball serve I am describing a mental process that you must adapt first----even before you prepare to physically do any serving.

Quick Review

To develop a tough serve you need

  • to decide early where to serve and then think about attacking the ball with your serve
  • then serve aggressively to a specific player or a court zone or position on the court.

in order to improve how to serve in volleyball. 

For Beginners A Step-By-Step Guide to A Perfect Volleyball Serve:

Now that we understand the mindset needed to serve effectively, let's break down the act of serving into step-by-step instructions for our beginner friends:

1. **Positioning**:

Start by standing behind the baseline. Make sure you are comfortable and balanced. Right-handed players usually put their left foot slightly ahead (and vice versa for left-handed players).

2. **Grip**:

Hold the volleyball in your non-dominant hand. The other hand (dominant hand), balled into a fist or kept flat, should be drawn back, ready to strike.

3. **Focus**:

Decide where you intend to serve. Think about aiming at a specific player or position on the court.

4. **Toss**:

Extend your non-dominant arm and toss the ball upwards. The height of the toss can vary, but it's crucial to toss the ball consistently to the same height every time.

5. **Strike**:

As the ball begins to descend from the toss, step into the serve with your hips open to the net. Swing your striking hand forward in a quick, snapping motion hitting the middle of the ball. Always follow through with your swing.

6. **Evaluation**:

After every serve, assess your performance. How close was the serve to your target? Did it have the desired trajectory and power? This self-evaluation is crucial to improving your serving skills over time.

Remember, these steps serve as a basic guide.

Consistency comes with practice, and with time, you'll be able to add more power and accuracy to your serve."

Understanding Different Types of Volleyball Serves

Now that we've broken down the basic steps to serve a volleyball, let's explore some different types of serves. Knowing these serves can help you diversify your skill set and become a more complete volleyball player.

1. **Underhand Serve:

This is the most basic type of serve, often taught to beginners. You'll hold the ball in your non-dominant hand, swing your dominant arm like a pendulum under the ball, and strike it gently. The serve follows a low trajectory and is slower, making it easier for opponents to return.

2. **Overhand Serve:

A step up from the underhand serve, the overhand serve involves tossing the ball up and striking it with a lot of force. This serve style can send the ball to the opponent's court much faster and is a commonly used serve in competitive volleyball.

3. **Jump Serve:

This is an advanced type of serve where players use a spike-like action to serve the ball, adding an even more powerful and unpredictable element to the game. The server tosses the ball high, takes a run-up, and jumps to strike the ball at its highest point.

4. **Float Serve:

As the name suggests, this serve creates a floating effect. By hitting the ball in the middle with a firm wrist, servers can make the ball move unpredictably in the air, making it difficult for opponents to return.

5. **Topspin Serve:

This is another advanced serve. The server tosses the ball high, steps forward, and hits the ball in such a way that it spins forward rapidly. This type of serve requires a lot of practice but can be very effective due to its speed and downward trajectory."

Common Mistakes in Serving and How to Rectify Them

Despite one's best efforts, errors can creep into serving techniques. Here are some common mistakes and tips on how to rectify them:

1. **Inconsistent Toss:

The ball toss for the serve is crucial as it sets up the rest of the action. If your toss is inconsistent, it significantly reduces your chance of a good serve. Focus on tossing the ball the same height and in the same location each time, ideally just a little higher than you can reach with your striking hand.

2. Faulty Contact:

Incorrect contact with the ball during the serve can lead to undesirable results. The ball should be struck in the middle to maintain control over direction and power. Practicing your striking technique can significantly improve your contact with the ball.

3. Lack of Target:

Serving without a strategy or specific target can result in lost opportunities to put the opponent under pressure. Always have a serving plan, targeting either weak receivers or challenging zones on the court.

4. Overpowering the Serve:

While power is useful, an excessive focus on it could compromise accuracy, leading to missed serves. Serving out all the time is something that cam easily be fixed.  Trying to find a balance between power and precision should be the goal for every server.

5. Stiff Wrist:

A stiff wrist during serving can result in the ball going in various undesired directions. When serving, your wrist should be firm but flexible to allow for the whip-like motion needed for a precise, powerful serve.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and even the most experienced players are constantly refining their skills.

Be patient with your progress, and with regular practice, you'll see improvements in your serving game."

Do You Follow Me on Pinterest?

Follow me on Pinterest Volleybragswag to improve your game even faster!

I share alot of individual, partner and easy-to-do volleyball serving drills we do in class with my followers.

Many of these volleyball practice drills you can do at home by yourself or try at your next practice with your teammates.

If you're a B team or JV player trying to make varsity next year...your goal should be to complete 1000 reps a day of at least three of the basic skills on your own...volleyball passing, serving and setting should be at the top of the list. 

How To Serve in Volleyball:
Where Do you Go From Here?

Your three options are: 

  1. You can learn more about Serving by visiting the related links below.                            
  2. Follow the suggested reading on our Sitemap page Learning How To Play (Sitemap)
  3. Or visit the pages in the How to Play Volleyball section in the drop down menu at the top of the page to get started. 
  4. Before leaving this page Say "Hi" to Miss Tattoo the Tiger wearing the #9 jersey below.  Miss Tattoo is the starting defensive and serving specialist for the All Beast VolleyBragSwag All Star team.

You might like these pages on how to play volleyball. 

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