For newer players, it can be a challenge to get the ball over the net when they serve. More advanced players can feel that they want to push the ball farther away. Every player on the team has to serve during a match. You can’t let your team down by missing every serve. This is why it is essential that you can score points when you are in this position. Let’s take a look at how you can improve your serve
Perfect your technique to server farther
There are several types of serves: from a floater (where you hit the middle of the ball with the palm of your hand) to a topspin (where you fold your hand around the top of the ball). A jump floater where you start behind the line and jump while you serve allows you to add the most power to the ball. It is allowed to land in the court so you can make a forward movement.
Let’s look at how Olympic gold medal winner for team USA Jordan Larson explains this
You might want to rewatch the video multiple times to get the full picture. A small nuance such as the timing of your jump can have a big impact on the force that the ball lands with.
Add more repetitions
A lot of players don’t spend enough time practicing their serve. You need to be able to do it without thinking. This will give you confidence and will allow you to execute it better. It is necessary to practice at home as well if you want to get great it. During a training session, you can only practice your arm swing a few times and this is not enough to improve it.
Puredrop has a great training aid for this. A lot of people don’t have enough space to practice. At the same time, you also lose a lot of time if the ball flies away. The volleyball trainer of Puredrop fixes these problems. The ball swings back to you after your serve and you can try again. This allows you to put in more repetitions in a shorter time. A lot of coaches recommend this product as they have seen that their players improve quite fast when using this. It is all about repetitions when you want to improve your serve and this training aid can help you to practice more.
Beginning volleyball players should practice their server for at least 30 minutes per day to perfect it. This can sound boring and repetitive but it is only in this way that you will learn. Professional players often spend days repeating the same drill over and over until they can do it without thinking.
Work with a bigger ball
If you use a bigger ball, your swing can be less precise and you can add more power. A beach volleyball ball is bigger than an indoor volleyball ball. This makes it easier to hit it. Therefore it can be a great idea to start practicing with this ball and use all your power. Later on, you can work more precisely with a smaller ball. Confidence is a big element of serving well and if you can practice with a ball that makes it easier, you can build things up step by step instead of trying to take huge leaps.
This ball will also help you to experiment with how high you have to throw it. A lot of players don’t throw the ball high enough and then it is hard to hit it with a lot of force. Because this ball is slightly heavier, you will get pushed to use more force. This is a good reflex for when you work with an indoor ball again.
Work on your jumping technique
A jump serve needs a great jump to launch the ball. This is not something that is worked on during a training session.
You can improve this by getting ankle weights or jumping on a trampoline. Once again the right technique is essential. After this, it is all about repetition again. This is something that you can train without a ball. Just jump in the air a few times per day to get better at it. The way you push yourself in the air is important and in a jump serve you gain speed by pushing yourself of with a big step. The following video explains this in more detail:
Film yourself and ask your coach for feedback
Filming can help you to see where you can improve. A small nuance such as when you start swinging your arm can have a big impact on the result. You can see yourself in slow motion and rewind your movements to see all the details. Even the most experienced coaches can’t see this level of specificity without software.
The advantage of this is that you can see your evolution over time. It is often underestimated how much we evolve. If you have footage, you can go back in time and see your evolution.
It is also possible to email the clip to some coaches to get feedback on your serve. They often can provide good feedback and help you to improve your arm swing.
To conclude, we can say that there are several ways in which you can server farther away. This can take quite some time to achieve but with a few weeks of focussed training, you should be able to see a lot of improvement. The fastest serve has been recorded as 83.2 miles per hour by Ivan Zaytsev for the Italian national team). This indicates that it is possible to serve very hard if you practice it often. Let’s take a look at some of the fastest volleyball serves ever: