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Volleyball Tips: Top 5 Serving Secrets You Have To Remember!
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.
The reason I concentrate alot on the serving fundamental as a volleyball skill is 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). 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 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 game. You keep your team's point scoring momentum ...by keeping your serve...in the court.
2). Serve the Left Front Outside Hitter Deep Down the line to Position 5.
If the Left Front Player who is in Position 4 is a swing hitter which means a player, usually the Left Outside hitter, that is in the front row and has two responsibilities- to receive the serve and to then swing outside to hit the ball as well. Serving the ball deep down the line forces the left side hitter deeper towards the back of the court which means they have 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 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. 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 depending on how many hitters are front row.
In other words, "play chess" -if you see three hitters in the front row-with your serve- force one of them 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). Serve Short to the Front Row Hitter in Left Front or Middle Front Position.
Many players serve short because it's an option or because it happens by accident but elite 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 players usually need longer runways to make their approach-in order to hit hard and In the court. If the "runway" is cut short...then that "plane" has a hard time taking off. So you the server need to "cut" the runway way off.
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 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 players...how tall do you 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 short balls to each front row position LF, MF and RF before practice and/or after EVERY practice so when the pressure is on...you are ready.
4) Serve Straight Down the Middle of the Court.
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) Serve Short to the Right Front or Position 2 on the Volleyball Court.
The same argument applies here about serving the BIG 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 the next time When you have serving practice - set goals for yourself and MAKE your serves count for points or practice making them put the opposing team in difficulty. Don't just go through the motions...remember ...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.