10 Steps to the Perfect Serve

The serve is the ultimate offensive weapon in volleyball. Here's a ten-step checklist players can use to boost their serve game and drastically impact their ability to make big contributions to their squad.

Serving Tip No.1: Find Balance

Place your right foot behind your left so your right foot is perpendicular to your left and both feet are four (4) to five (5) inches apart. Make this a comfortable, balanced stance so you do not feel like falling over.

Serving Tip No.2: Point Your Feet

Point your left foot in the exact direction you want to serve. Point your left foot, hips, and upper body straight ahead if you want to serve down the line. Turn your left foot, hips, and upper body facing cross court if serving there.

Serving Tip No.3: Face-Time

Face your target. Show everybody in the gym where you intend to serve for the floater serve. Pointing to one spot and serving another rarely "fakes out" the serve receive. You will always be off-balance, increasing your chances of serving out.

Serving Tip No.4: Move Forward

Place your front foot, hips, shoulders, and tossed ball in the direction you plan to serve. You can create more force and velocity when all your energy is going in one direction (which is ball speed in this case) than when different body parts are going in different directions.

Serving Tip No.5: Keep Your Weight Back

Put all your body weight on your back foot. Serving requires only a small amount of lower body movement.

Serving Tip No.6: Shift Gears

Shift your body weight from your back foot to the front foot once you've tossed the ball. Although this movement doesn't seem like much, when it's combined with your arm swing, it's enough to give the ball the momentum needed to get over the net.

Serving Tip No.7: The Magic Spot

Toss the ball with an open-palmed left hand two (2) feet above your head and one (1) foot in front of your front foot. This magical combination of "two feet up and one foot in front" keeps your body balanced so you only have to transfer weight from your back foot to your front foot, quicken your arm swing, and make solid contact with the ball's middle panels.

Serving Tip No.8: Elbows Up

Keep your elbow high, above your ear, when serving. This increases the chances of getting the ball over the nine-foot net when you pull or draw your arm back to float serve.

Serving Tip No.9: Rinse and Repeat

Toss the ball the same way every time you serve. Create a ritual you perform each time you serve so you don't rush your serve. That could be bouncing the ball three times in a row, then taking a breath, and pointing your foot in the direction you want to serve before serving. Work it out so you do the same thing every time, whatever it is.

Serving Tip No.10: Slow Down

Remember this is the only time that you completely control the game. Maintain control by taking your time and being completely aware of everything you plan to do before you serve the ball.

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