These three volleyball serve tactics explain why the and how you can use the short serve to put the opposing team's passers in difficulty.
You want to strategically serve the ball in the opposing team's court in a way that helps you score points for your team.
Or at the very least, puts the opposing team in such difficulty, that they can't run an offense against your defensive players.
Here are some strategies to try when you're behind the service line during your next game.
If the left front player playing in position four is a swing hitter she has two responsibilities.
First she has to receive the serve and then she has to swing outside to hit the ball as well.
To serve a volleyball overhand deep down the line forces the left side player deeper towards the back of her court.
Using this serving strategy means that, that outside player has to first back up to pass the ball, then she has to cover a lot of ground to get back into position to be able to make her usual three or four step spike approach in order to spike the ball.
This strategy can potentially eliminate that specific left side front row player as a hitter/attacker, taking her completely out of the offense, which forces the setter to use only one or two of her remaining front row players as an option to set to.
This means she has to set the ball to either her middle blocker or back set the player behind her playing in zone two, depending on how many hitters are front row.
Now because of your well-placed serve, your team only has to worry about blocking against two front row players instead of three.
In other words, you can "play chess" against the opposing team when you are serving the ball.
If you see three hitters in the front row, then with your volleyball serves,you can force one of them to pass the ball from a deep position in the court, near the back end line, which will leave only two front row volleyball players that your blockers and defenders have to concentrate on.
That puts your team at an advantage, right?
Force the opposing team to do what you want them to do just by playing smarter when you are serving the ball.
Many players just happen to make short serves in the opposing team's court by accident but elite and experienced players serve short on purpose.
They know that the short serve can put the opposing team in difficulty, especially when tall players are in the front row.
Like airplanes, tall players usually need longer runways to make a strong three step or four step spike approach which helps them gather speed and momentum before jumping high and reaching as high as possible to contact the ball as far above the net as possible before hitting the ball into the court.
A longer runway helps a hitter keep the ball in front of them which allows them to see the opposing team's court while in the air hitting.
If their "runway" is cut short, in other words if the area where they usually make their long three-step or four-step spike approach is shortened, then that "airplane" (or tall player in the front row in this case) has a hard time taking off.
Serving the ball short to the players in the front row is one of the sneakiest volleyball serve tactics to use because it can often prevent them from having the time to back up and take their usual long three or four step spike approach.
If they do get the set, after they passed the short serve they won't have much time or as much power to hit as hard or as high as they normally would if they weren't passing.
By serving the ball short, you have effectively helped your team by taking one of the opposing team’s front row players out of their offense.
Here’s the million dollar question.
How tall do you have to be to learn to how to serve the tall female player in the front row?
Here’s the answer, it just doesn't matter how tall you are!
What matters is how accurate you can become when serving the ball to the opposing team’s front row.
The same volleyball serve tactics apply here as well in regards to serving the tall player in the front row especially if she is in the right front position.
If you see that she is playing in Zone Two (RF) here's something else you can look for.
Look to see if the setter is preparing to come to the net from the right front position, after the ball has been served.
If you aim your volleyball serves to the right front player while the setter is coming to the net from behind that right front player the setter has to track the ball that was passed over her left shoulder while she is moving towards the net, then she is forced to set the volleyball quickly. Why?
Because she has very little time to adjust her body and square herself to her target to set a ball that has been passed right from the position she just came from.
(Or served right to the position she just came from however you want to look at the situation.).
No matter what, serving the ball to the right front position in the front row gives the opposing team’s setter much less time to track the ball, stop, then set the ball to one of her front row players... especially if she receives an imperfect pass.
Many times the setter will give her hitters an imperfect set which is a ball that she is forced to set off the net or to one of her back row players.
If this happens then the hitter ends up spiking a ball that is easier for your team to dig up in defense and this scenario is all due to you using one of these smart volleyball serve tactics with your short serve. .
So the next time that you do serve a volleyball overhand in practice, make sure you set goals for yourself to make your serves count for points.
Follow me on Instagram @coach_apchap to improve your game even faster!