10 Volleyball Serving Tips for Beginners




Hitting ball over net


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Serving is one of the most important skills that volleyball players will need to master. However, this is something that beginners often struggle with.

Serving doesn’t need to be hard. With a few simple tips, you will quickly see your skills improving. Keep reading to learn the best ways to get a better serve.

1. Get the Right Footwork

One of the most important parts of a serve is getting the right stance. This will allow you to put maximum power behind each hit. Here are a few of the tips that you will need to follow:

  1. One foot should be behind the other. They will need to be between four to five inches apart, as if you’re taking a step. If you’re right-handed, your left foot should be in the front. And if you’re left-handed, you’re right foot should be in the front.
  2. Point them in the direction that you want to aim. This may seem obvious, but your feet and hips actually help set the direction of where the ball will go, in addition to your shoulders and hands.
  3. Put the weight on your back foot. This will allow you to put the maximum amount of force behind the ball.
  4. Step into the hit. As you hit the ball, the power comes from your whole body, not just your arms. This doesn’t have to be a whole step, just a shifting of balance.

When you are serving, you should feel balanced and comfortable. Often, your feet won’t need to move around too much when you are making a serve. You can have a coach or teammate monitor your technique, giving you tips on how you can improve.

Man hitting volleyball

2. Hit the Ball in the Right Place

You’ll need to make sure that you are hitting the ball in the right place. This is vital if you want to aim the ball accurately. You should aim to hit the center of the ball. Sometimes, you will want to put some topspin on the ball. If this is the case, you will need to grip the top of the ball. The fingers will need to be pointed downwards when you are finished.

You can tell a lot about your technique by looking at the way that the ball is reacting. For example, if you’re getting sidespin, it means that you failed to hit the center of the ball.

3. Face Your Target

One of the most common problems that people face is getting distracted by trying to get into their opponent’s head. For example, they might make a show of pointing to one part of the court, before serving to another.

This can seem like a good tactical move. But, ultimately, it can end up making you too distracted. As a result, you will end up doing a substandard serve. Instead, you are better facing towards where you want to serve. Once your body is in the right position, all you need to do is make contact with the ball and send it where you want it to.

4. Be Strategic

The serve is a very strategic role. Your team is relying on your serve to start the game on the upper foot. As a result, you need to be thinking about where you are going to target your serve. Focus on the other team and try to identify their weak spots. At some times, this might mean targeting a specific player who you feel is letting the team down. When you are serving, try to take advantage of these weaknesses.

5. Making The Right Toss

A good toss will set you up for a good serve. But this aspect will often be more challenging than it looks. Here are the steps you will need to follow, these are:

  • Use a lifting motion. While you might be throwing the ball in the air, you will still want to retain control. This ensures that it will land where you want it to. A smooth lifting motion will allow you to do this. Don’t put any spin on the ball. It should be going straight up and down.
  • Use your non-dominant hand. When you are tossing the ball, it’s often easiest to use your non-dominant hand. By doing this, your dominant hand will be free to make contact, giving you more power and greater accuracy.
  • Keep it consistent. The toss should be the same each time. This is vital for making more accurate shots.  
People playing beach volleyball

6. Develop a Routine

Serving can be a stressful process. If you allow this stress to get into your mind, you will struggle to make the right shot. Because of this, many people will develop a routine before they serve. For example, they might bounce the ball a set number of times. This routine allows them to focus their minds, blocking out the pressure of the game.  If possible, keep this routine as short as possible.

7. Aim High

When you first start serving, you might not have had time to develop your upper body strength yet. As a result, you might struggle to put enough power behind the ball. Thankfully, there is a way to get around this.

You will need to aim high. Pick a point on the ceiling or high over the net. Try to hit the ball towards that point. This might not be as accurate as a more seasoned server, but it should allow you to get the ball over the net.

When you are tossing the ball, it can be difficult to predict where the ball will land. As a result, you need to get good at keeping track of the ball. More specifically, you want to focus on the area that you want to make contact with. You should be aiming to hit the center of the ball.

8. Pick the Right Type of Serve

There isn’t only one type of serve. Here are a few of the most common types of serves:

  • Underhand serve. The toss won’t be as high, so it will be fairly easy for you to hit.
  • Overhand serve. This is the most common. It will be more difficult to hit, but will also be harder for the opposing team to pass.
  • Topspin. This is easiest to predict where the ball will land. But there is still a risk that it will drop before the opposition can pass it.
  • Floating. The ball won’t fly in a straight line, so it’s hard to predict where it is going to land. However, it will be one of the most difficult serves to make.

Learn more about the types of serves in this article: Ace Your Game with These Volleyball Serving Tips

The right serve for you will often depend on the situation that you are facing. Topspin and float serves are harder to master, but at a minimum, you should be able to do both an underhand and overhand serve.

9. Building Your Strength

Serving requires a strong upper body. You’ll need to put plenty of force behind the ball to get it over the net. There are a few ways that you can build your upper body strength. You might want to do exercises like push-ups or pull-ups. You can also start mountain climbing or rowing.

Click here for How to Improve Your Game by Training in the Volleyball Off-Season

Keep in mind that it’s not just about strength, but speed. You get more power from a faster arm swing.

Beach volleyball game

10. Practice Your Skills

Finally, it’s vital to keep practicing your skills. This is the best way to go from beginner to expert server. There are plenty of useful drills you can do. For example, you can put a ball cart in the two back corners of the court. Then, you can try and get a serve accurate enough to land in one of the ball carts. You can get a friend to film you doing this, so you can analyze your form.

When you are doing these drills, focus on all parts of the serving process. For example, you should include a few to help you work on your toss. A good one involves putting a tape mark on the floor. Toss the ball in the air, but don’t hit it. You should aim to have the ball land on the marker each time. Click here for Can You Switch Hands While Serving a Volleyball

Final Thoughts

Serving is a hugely important skill in volleyball. But it is a skill that will require time and dedication to hone. Because of this, you will need to use these tips to improve your technique and build your technical skills. With plenty of practice, you should soon be one of the best servers on your volleyball team.

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