Overhand serving in volleyball: jump serves and jump float serve explained

Serving is restarting the match behind your court after a team has scored. The goal is to push the ball over the net and inside the court of the other team. If possible, you want to drop the ball in their court so that you score a point and can serve again.  Every player has to be able to do this as teams rotate over the court during a match. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques that can be used to do this. 

The difference between an overhand and underhand serve is that your hand is at shoulder height when you do an overhand serve. In an underhand serve, the hand is a lot lower and next to your leg. Underhand serves are easier to get started but offer less control over the ball. Therefore high school students will generally use overhand serves. Professional players almost never use an underhand serve. With the advent of jump serves, where players jump instead of standing still, overhand serves have become even more dominant as it is easier to jump when you perform this type of serve.

Jump serve (or service) in volleyball 

In the past, players used to stand on the court when they performed a serve. More recently, players have started to jump when they served. This adds more power to the ball and makes it easier to get the ball over the net. Furthermore, players can move forward and jump closer to the net. All of this makes it harder for the defenders to keep the ball in the air. The defensive role of libero was introduced to respond to the increased speed of serves. If the other team is not able to touch the ball before it drops inside their court, it is called an ace. Scoring an ace after a service is a great feeling and can be very motivating for the team. You can win a match quite easily if your team can score a lot of serves in quick succession. Therefore players spend a lot of time perfecting their serve. 

Let’s take a look at how this is executed:

The referee indicates when the players have to serve. They have some time to dry their hands and dribble the ball but once the referee has given the signal, you should get moving. If you wait too long, you might get a warning from the referee. 

 For newer players, a serve can put a lot of pressure on their shoulders as they feel that they shouldn’t make mistakes such as throwing the ball in the net or outside the court. It is essential that the team comes together when this happens. It is possible that players have to serve multiple times during a match and therefore they shouldn’t feel unsure about their serve during the match. Everyone makes mistakes and this is part of the game.

Newer volleyball players often stand instead of jump when they serve. This is one of the reasons why the net is hanging lower for them. It can take several weeks or even months to master a great serve. Finding the right amount of power that you can apply is the first step in learning a serve. Once players know this, they can work on their aim. A great drill to do this is to set a target behind the net. The players have to aim the ball in that direction and try to hit the target. Once they have done this multiple times, the target is moved. This will allow players to aim the ball in the direction of a weaker defender. 

Jump float serve volleyball

A jump float serve is a specific type of jump serve. To execute this, players are throwing the ball in the air with one hand, jumping and hitting the middle of the ball with the palm of their other hand. This adds a lot of power to the ball. Players can aim by turning their hands in a specific direction. It is allowed to hit the top of the net during a serve, as long as it goes over. Some professional players sometimes hit the top of the net on purpose as this can make it more unpredictable for the defense but this is very hard to do. 

The service area is the location on the court where players can perform a serve. It is allowed to use the complete backline of the court to serve. Generally, players are going to stand on the left or right-hand side of the court. This depends on their dominant hand. If you stand in the middle, it is generally easier for the defenders to intercept the ball so not a lot of players do this. 

A jump float serve is done overhand. This means that the hand is next to their head when they hit the ball. Beginning players sometimes perform an underhand serve, where the hand is next to their legs when they hit the ball. This offers less control so not a lot of players use this once they reach a high school level. 

The other main way of jump serving is a jump topspin. In this type of serve, players throw the ball in the air with one hand and jump. Once they are in the air, they are curling their other hand around the top of the ball. This adds more effect to the ball and gives it an unexpected trajectory. This type of serve is harder to perform as you have to be able to find out where the top of the ball is. In a jump float serve, you can generally try to see where the middle of the ball is. A jump topspin requires more precision. 

A jump float serve can reach high speeds. The world record for fastest serve is 163 miles per hour.  This can make it very difficult for the libero or defensive specialist to keep the ball in play. If a player can score a lot of points with a serve in a row, the coach of the other team will typically ask for a time out to try to break the rhythm of the server. Some players have created their own unique way of serving but this requires a lot of practice and their technique has to be really well developed before they can do this. The coach is going to be upset if you hit the ball in the net with an unusual move so not a lot of players are experimenting with unique ways to serve during a match. 

In beach volleyball, a jump float serve is used as well but the court is smaller so players can use less power. 

To conclude, we can state that there are several ways to serve (or service) a ball in volleyball. Each of these techniques has its own advantages and disadvantage.