How to Serve in Volleyball
7 Techniques and Strategies 

Learn how to serve in volleyball to get more aces! 

Float Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

The float serve is one of the most common types of serves. The server contacts the ball in such a way that the ball moves in the air (floats) making it difficult for the opponent to receive the ball. 

The advantage of the float serve is the server is able to make the ball "dance", making the ball difficult to pass.

The disadvantage is the ball is tougher to control when serving, so the server may have difficult keeping the ball in the court.

Spot Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

Spot serving is when the server places the ball into a specific spot on the court. This type of serve is usually best option for when the server wants to serve accurately and avoid missed serves.

The server should practice serving to all 6 zones on the court to become comfortable placing the serve. 

Spot serving is especially effective when the server understands the opponents abilities. Anticipating opponent strengths and weakness will help you figure out where to serve the ball. 

For example, if the receiver has a tough time passing the short serve, then attack them by serving short.

If the receiver doesn't like to receive the ball with the hands, serve the ball deep in such a way that makes it difficult to forearm pass the deep serve.

Topspin Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

The topspin serve is when the server puts topspin on the ball. The topspin serve is a great serve to learn because topspin is easy to control which results in less missed serves. It's easy to control because unlike the float serve that "dances", the topspin serve cuts straight through the air.

The disadvantage of this type of serve is it can be easier to receive.

However, if there aren't many players at your level that are serving topspin, you could have a big advantage because if many aren't seeing this serve, then they won't be prepared to pass it. 

Another advantage of this serve is that the ball drops quickly. Unlike a floater that "carries", the topspin serve will drop downward into the court. 

Practice topspin serving to place the ball about a meter from the endline.

Often the receiver will let this ball drop because the flight of the ball will be such that it will appear it's going "out" when really it ends up dropping near the baseline.

Underhand Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

I don't usually recommend that anyone learn the underhand serve. Serving underhand is a useless skill in volleyball because at no other time will you need do this.

Every repetition is important. Every time you serve the ball overhead, that's one more repetition you have at becoming better at serving overhead. The skill of serving underhand doesn't help you develop your volleyball skills.

However, since not many people serve underhand, you could have an advantage because your opponent likely won't have much experience passing this ball. 

The trajectory of the ball is different when served underhand. This could be an advantage for the server. 

If you do decide to serve underhand, focus on placing the ball short over the net or send the ball deep in the court. The short serve can be deceptive and drop quickly over the net.

The deep serve can be difficult to read. When served underhand, the deep serve rises and makes it difficult for the receiver to receive the ball deep. 

With all that said, underhand serving the ball to the middle of the court is usually the easiest ball to pass.

Jump Float Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

The jump float serve is a very effective serve for a couple reasons. First, the ball floats and will be difficult for the receiver to get in position to pass. The second reason is the ball is contacted closer to the net. The shorter the distance the ball travels, the less time the receiver has to "read" the ball and get in position to make a play. 

This is how the server can be sneaky with placing a ball quickly. 

It may take a little longer to become comfortable serving the jump floater.

However, once you get comfortable with this serve, you're actually more likely to keep this ball in the court because you'll likely find it easier to serve accurately after you have jumped in the air to hit.

Jump Topspin Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

The jump topspin serve is just like the standing topspin serve except this time you take an approach to hit. 

I recommend everyone practice the jump topspin serve because by practicing this serve, you are getting more repetitions approaching to hit. 

If you become comfortable with the jump topspin serve, you will likely have a big advantage because most players won't put in the necessary work to develop this serve. 

3 Big Reasons to Learn this Serve

1) Not many other players will develop this serve. Since most receivers you face won't have experience passing this serve, you'll likely have a lot of success.

2) Once you develop this serve, this is the easiest serve to keep in the court. You won't miss many once you're on a roll. 

3) Every rep jump serving is a rep taking an approach. There's only so much time to practice. Every rep is so important. Take advantage of getting a rep approaching and a rep hitting by practicing the jump topspin serve.

Sidespin Serves - How to Serve in Volleyball

The side spin serve is an advanced serve. This is basically exactly like the topspin serve except that instead of wrapping your hand over the top of the ball, you wrap your hand over the side of the ball. 

Personally, I like to contact the ball so that there is both topspin and sidespin. This makes the ball curve sideways and drop down into the court. 

Anyone that learns to serve topspin can learn to serve sidespin. 

Having success with this serve is all about 1) Where you contact the ball and 2) How you make contact.

The key with this serve is the contact point. Contact the ball more out to the side and not directly above you like when serving topspin. 

I recommend learning the other serves first before this one. 

As with all serves, the toss is the key. Figure out how you need to contact the ball then figure out where you need to toss it.

Become consistent at tossing the ball and you will soon become a consistent server.

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to keep it close to you at any time, just save this pin to your Pinterest Volleyball Training Board.

Serving Techniques Smarter Volleyball Serving