11 Ways to Sharpen Your Serve Receive Game

Neturalizing your opponent's service game is key to success on the volleyball court. Here are 11 tips athletes can use to improve their serve reception and improve their overall team defense.

Serve-Receive Tip No.1: Spread Your Wings

Run with your arms apart to get in position. You'll move faster. You want to be stopped before you pass the ball to avoid running and bumping simultaneously. You are not controlling the ball when you run and bump together, and it usually goes right back over the net.

Serve-Receive Tip No.2: Center Yourself

Present your platform after you've stopped running. Your feet need to be in a balanced position first.

Serve-Receive Tip No.3: Focus

Focus on the ball in the opposing server's hand, not on the server's face. It's the ball you need to pass. Focus on it as soon as the server gets it in her hands to serve.

Serve-Receive Tip No.4: Eyes on the Ball

Keep your eyes on the ball as it comes across the net. Taking your eyes off the ball as it travels over the middle of the court increases the chances of getting aced. You may also be unable to make minor adjustments to your feet to accurately pass the ball to your target.

Serve-Receive Tip No.5: Anticipate

Anticipate where you need to be. Get there BEFORE you start passing the ball. By focusing early on the ball while it's in the server's hands you get an early indication on whether she is going to serve short, cross court, or down the line.

Serve-Receive Tip No.6: Keep Track

Keep your eyes on the ball. Visually track it as it leaves the server's hand, crosses the net, and all the way into your platform. Many passers get distracted, taking their eyes off the ball or tracking it once it crosses the net, which is late. Focusing on the ball early lets you anticipate necessary minor adjustments in your platform or with your feet.

Serve-Receive Tip No.7: Be a Square

Square your shoulders to the target before contacting the ball. You won't have any more arm adjusting once you make contact with the ball.

Serve-Receive Tip No.8: Stay Flexible

Shift your body weight from your back (left) foot to your front (right) foot when contacting the ball. Lefties do the opposite.

Serve-Receive Tip No.9: Feet on the Floor

Pass with both feet on the volleyball court floor rather than doing the "jump-bump." You can make small adjustments with your feet on the ground which you can't do with your feet in the air.

Serve-Receive Tip No.10: Be Fundamentally Sound

Maintain good passing technique especially with the easy serves. You've taught your body the proper serve-receive positioning and will automatically react with the correct technique no matter how hard or fast the serve is.

Serve-Receive Tip No.11: Speed Up

Work on foot speed and agility drills. You'll be able to get behind each ball quickly with your feet first by increasing your short-distance speed, giving yourself plenty of time to present your platform and make the perfect pass.

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