Girls Volleyball: Top 5 Places to Serve After A Team Timeout
Serving is the volleyball game's "equalizer" because from start to finish you and only you control every aspect and especially the outcome of the serve. It doesn't matter how tall, how wide or how short you are, if you develop a tough serve that makes points consistently, I guarantee you will regularly see court time.
When coaching girl's volleyball I concentrate alot on the serving fundamental as a volleyball skill for one because of this reason...you are the only person who controls the effectiveness of YOUR serve and its the one fundamental you can do without the intervention of anyone else to score a direct point with ....that is very powerful and trust me even many elite players don't take advantage of this unique opportunity.
1).Girls the first place to serve after a volleyball team calls timeout is In the Court.
This may sound funny or obvious but serving a tough ball in the court after a team has called a timeout is not easy. If a volleyball team has scored several points in a row and the opposing coach calls a timeout elite athletes always try to follow the Golden Rule "Keep your serve in" after a timeout has been called. Why? Because the opposing coach has called the timeout for several reasons ...one of which is to specifically distract YOU the server in hopes of getting you to MISS your serve which can instantly change the momentum of the volleyball game. You keep your team's point scoring momentum ...by keeping your serve...in the volleyball court.
2). Serve the Left Front Outside Hitter Deep Down the line to Position 5.
Especially in girl's volleyball when the Left Front Player is a swing hitter (which means a player, usually the Left Outside hitter has two responsibilities- to receive the serve and to then swing outside to hit the ball also) by serving the ball deep down the line you force the left side hitter deeper into the back of the court which means she has to cover alot of ground to get back into position to be able to make an approach in order to hit the ball.
Serving them very deep down the line helps to take the Left Side hitter out of the offense because a) this forces them to back up and serve receive deep in the court -which makes them late to start their hitting approach. In girl's volleyball this tactic can completely eliminate them as a hitter/attacker in the offense so the setter is forced to have only one or two options - set to the middle blocker or behind her to the right side hitter depending on how many hitters are front row.
In other words, "play chess" -if you see three hitters in the front row-use your serve- to force one of the players to pass the ball deep in the court- which leaves only two hitters 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 serving smarter.
3). The short serve Short to the Front Row Hitter is very effective in girls volleyball in Left Front or specifically to the Middle Front Position.Many players serve short because it's an option or because it happens by accident but elite volleyball players serve short because they know that the short serve is an equalizer especially when tall players are in the front row.
Like airplanes Tall volleyball players usually need longer runways to make their approach-in order to hit hard and inside the court. If the "runway" is cut short...then that "plane" has a hard time taking off. So you the server need to "shorten" the runway way path.
Serve them short while they are in the front row and they won't have time to back up and take their usual long approach and if they still DO Get the set...they usually don't have the time or the strength to hit as hard or as high as they would if they weren't passing so YOU have effectively helped YOUR team by serving the BIG girl (excuse me TALL girl...I hate when people call me BIG) in the front row...and YOU have intelligently taken her out of the offense. Attention short volleyball players...how tall does a girl have to be to learn to serve the Tall girl in the front row? Answer....it doesn't matter. You just have to serve 50 balls short to each front row position Left Front, Middle Front and Right Front before practice and/or after EVERY practice so when the pressure is on...you are ready.
4) Why should girls who play volleyball always remember this next smart option to Serve Straight down the Middle of the Court?
Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Instead of serving from either corner of the volleyball court-which when you serve cross court gives a passer more time to get in position because the ball is coming from farther away...try standing right in the middle of the baseline and serve straight down the middle to the opposite end line.
Usually in the backrow there are two people in serve receive (just like in beach volleyball). Aim for the head of the middle blocker in the front row and serve right towards the back line. Both the left back and right back receivers are forced to decide on or fight over the "divorce maker" ball that goes right down the middle between the two of them. If done right the ball will fall right between the two passers and you the server are a HERO not a ZERO!
5 In girl's volleyball serving Short to the Right Front or Position 2 on the Volleyball Court is a smart play.
The same argument applies here about serving the TALL girl in the front row as an option- if she is in the position 2 spot but there's something else you need to look for. Look for the Setter coming from the Right Front/ position 2 spot. If you serve the front row player who is passing in position 2, when the Setter is in Right Front or coming from the Right Front position the setter has to
track the ball that was passed OVER her shoulder-
her left shoulder while moving towards the net-
then she has to set the ball quickly-Why? Because she has very little time to adjust to 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, if the ball is served to the front row she has much less time to track the ball, stop, then set the ball especially if its an imperfect pass.
Additionally if the ball isnt passed perfectly then the setter has an even harder time of giving her hitters a good set, usually the ball is set off the net, the hitter makes an easier hit to dig and the defense has an easier time of digging the ball...ALL because of YOUR strategically placed serve.So, girls the next time you have to serve in volleyball practice - set goals for yourself and MAKE your serves count for points in practice. Don't just go through the motions...remember to practice your individual skill because the ball is in Your hands!
About the Author:
April Chapple is a former USA National Team member and Volleyball Professional who created the first virtual volleyball mentoring community with volleyball skills,coaching and information sites including
www.top5volleyball.com and www.volleyballvoyeur.com for all females who play.