Every rally in volleyball begins with the serve. The volleyball serve is a very important skill to learn. The serve is how you put the ball into play, which may lead to giving your team an advantage. How effective you serve results in whether or not you're able to give your team an advantage to win the rally. Once developed, float serves can make it extremely difficult for opponents to pass and run an effective offense. Serving should be seen as an opportunity to put your opponent at a disadvantage and is a volleyball skill that shouldn't be taken for granted.
The Float Serve
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- Stand in ready position. Stand comfortably in a staggered stance with the foot of your non-hitting hand slightly in front. (If you're right-handed, your left foot should be in front.)
- Toss the ball and take a small step. The toss is the most critical part of the serve. If you are right-handed, the toss comes from your left hand.
First, stand with your arm bent a comfortable distance away from your body. The arm should be lined up with the hitting shoulder.
Hold the ball up to shoulder level. If you can develop a consistent toss, your hitting motion will always be the same which allows you to develop accuracy serving.
Moving your entire arm, toss the ball 12 to 18 inches high. You'll have to figure out what height is right for you. If your toss is too high, you'll have to slow down your armswing and you'll likely lose power and momentum. If your toss is too low, you'll likely have to rush your armswing, which will likely cause control problems.
- Draw back the elbow. Before the toss, you may rest your hitting hand on top of the ball. When you toss, the elbow bends and the arm is drawn back (this is often referred to as a bow and arrow draw back). As you toss and draw back, the weight is on your back foot.
- Make contact. As you come through to contact the ball, shift your weight forward (maybe taking a small step). When the serve is completed all your weight is on your front foot.
You want to contact the ball in the center of your hand. Contacting the ball in the center is key to serving a good floater.
Try to serve the ball so it doesn't spin. A ball that doesn't spin will be much more likely to float or "dance in the air" making it tough for opponents to pass. This "dancing" is often referred to as a "knuckle ball effect".