Nishida is the image that appears in my head whenever I think of jump serve. Absolute Bullet of a Serve!
A well-executed serve with precision and power can win points instantly or put the opponents in a challenging situation.
Below are 7 simple but highly effective volleyball serving drills beginners or professional athletes have been doing to get their serving more accurate, consistent, and powerful.
We’ll cover everything from volleyball serving games for beginners to advanced drills, ensuring there’s something for everyone aiming to ace their serves.
Table of Contents
A Good Mindset for These Drills
Before we get into the drills, the best way to get from a newbie to an advanced server is to practice more with a good mindset and train yourself in different aspects of drills for serving.
Often, People ask me how to maintain the feel of serving, how to serve consistently, and how to get back on the serving line after a pause.
The most important thing is not the moment of the match, but the training you do.
You have to put some pressure on yourself in daily volleyball serving drills.
For example, when serving, you can think that this ball is 23:24, and you are behind by one point.
How should you serve this ball?
First, you must make a good decision. Second, you can’t serve a typical ball. You have to serve a ball with high quality.
So, in the match, keep a training mentality, and in the training, hold a match mentality. You have to take some pressure.
This way, you can perform better in the match.
1. Overhand Serving Drill Progressions
The most common volleyball Serving game is known as ‘Serving Progression’.
This sequential drill focuses on breaking down the serve into digestible parts to refine your technique effectively.
As a versatile drill that involves a volleyball, a wall, a net, and a court, these steps are your building blocks to a powerful serve.
Lift and Toss
When you lift to serve the ball, it needs to be in the same place every time -in front of your serving shoulder, or you’ll have very inconsistent hand contact.
- Start five feet off the wall or net, and you can go left foot, right knee down.
- Lift the ball and toss the ball against the wall or net and catch it.
- The toss is about three balls above your head, and let it drop right in front of the left foot toe.
- Focus on maintaining consistency in the toss—height, distance, and accuracy.
This step reinforces the importance of a well-executed toss.
You can make this drill more challenging by standing up and putting all your weight on your left foot with your right foot off the ground.
So you have to balance your left foot in case you lift side or back while letting the ball drop a couple of times.
Begin by practising your swing against a wall without a ball.
This exercise hones in on your arm’s movement, emphasizing the correct positioning of your elbow, wrist, and hand.
You can lead with your elbow more and swing your arm faster like a whip, making your serve more powerful.
Point of Contact
- Keep the posture of kneeling and put your hands up.
- Your hand wrist needs to be loose and limp, and your serving hand needs to be relaxed. The contact will automatically firm up. You don’t need to tell them to firm it up. It will just happen.
- Remember to start with loose and pop it up with a high-five.
- Then, you can toss and serve the ball on the wall or into the net and catch it when it bounces back. Do floaters, not too much spinning with good solid contact. Do it ten or fifteen times.
You can modify the difficulty by changing the distance between you and the wall or net.
Sometimes, my students will ask me why their serves have no power, which is the case with many beginner volleyball athletes.
Why? Because the ball cannot borrow your strength to serve as your wrist is too limp when hitting the ball. Remember that the hands and fingers are stretched at the moment of contact.
To be skilled at hitting a ball with the palm of your hand, Like giving a high-five, you can make the ball position fixed on the wall with your lift hand and train to contact the ball.
When you can do well in the above basic serving drills, including lifting, tossing, and contact, you can practice more consistent serve drills.
Serving Against the Wall
Here, you’ll serve the ball against the wall, concentrating on the contact point and the power behind your serve. It would be best to focus on the volleyball serving drill for consistency.
- Stand 3-5 meters from the wall, and use tape to put a square box as the mark on the wall.
- The mark can be the same height as the standard net, and make sure the ball goes above the line to avoid hitting the net when serving in real volleyball games.
- As the serving consistency improves, gradually increase the distance from the wall and pay attention to serving at the same height and area.
When serving at a close distance, the focus should be on the toss and the contact point. When serving at a far distance, the attention should be on the trajectory of the ball.
Over the Net Serve
Finally, progress to serving over the net, refining the trajectory and placement of your serves.
When you practice and develop good muscle memory on the basics of a good serve. You might struggle to get your serving across the net once you start.
What are the best practices to help you get the best way?
- You can keep your feet closer together to get more forward momentum.
- Please make a small jump when you serve to get strength from your legs, and bend and extend them before you hit the ball.
- Remember to rotate your hip before your upper body and swing your arms like a whip.
- Get the timing right and transfer the power of all your body parts.
- Start serving from the attacking line.
- When you can serve across the net, keep going one step back.
- Once you cannot get the ball over the net, Stay there and practice until you can.
Remember that the biggest thing when you do this overhand serve drill is to develop the power and consistency in every aspect of the serve, including toss, footwork, body movement, swing, and point of contact.
By adjusting the distance from the wall, net height, or even aiming for specific targets on the court, this drill provides adaptability for players at various skill levels.
2. Underhand Serving Drills
Underhand serving is the easiest way to serve a ball in volleyball. So you can quickly start practising it in one person.
All you need is a volleyball, a net, and the court (Feel free to do it outside if there is enough free space).
Before we get into the drills, there are several everyday bad habits you need to avoid.
- The toss is too high or too low, resulting in a bad serve accuracy.
- Ball contact with closed hands and palms results in different trajectories of the serve.
- Toss the ball to the right front side of the body with one ball height.
- Toss the ball and rotate your hip and upper body to the back.
- Hit the middle and bottom of the ball with a half-open fist.
- Toss the ball to the same height every time and land it on the right side of your body and in front of your left toe.
- When you slightly rotate your hip and upper body, swinging the arm to hit the ball and catch it with both hands
- Toss at the right height and get good contact, then get reps in.
The more reps you do of the above drill, the more seamless and confident your underhand serving will look in competition.
Once you can efficiently serve the ball on the wall, you can start doing underhand serve across the net with a partner on the opposite court.
Stand 4 meters from the net and serve the ball with a straight trajectory.
You can make the drill more challenging by standing at a different distance away from the net, from 4 meters to 6.5 meters, and finally serve from the end line.
This is the most effective way to drill underhand serves, and the more reps you practise and the more different variations you do, you’ll quickly get a good hang of the underhand serving.
3. Target Serving
One of the best ways to kick off your serving practice is with the classic Target Practice.
The purpose of this drill is to simulate the pressure of a game-like scenario and fine-tune your precision under such conditions.
- Have two players stand at the end line on one side, each armed with a basket of balls beside
- Two targets are placed on the opposing court, which can be a hula hoop or your coach.
- The two players take turns to hit one of the targets.
- Award or remove points for hitting target score +4, hitting net score -2, or hitting out score -2.
- A player must score a specific number of points (15 or 18 works well) to win and move on to the winner’s circle. Next, two new teammates will challenge and compete with each other.
You can modify the pressure serving drill’s difficulty by varying target size and location or even engaging in a round-robin format, which creates a tournament for an all-around winner.
Those changes keep the drill fresh and challenging, ideal for honing serving skills for beginners.
When you take turns aiming for these targets, remember to rack up points based on accuracy and pay attention to some details.
- Remember to follow through straight, or you can’t reach the target.
- Bend your legs and extend them right before hitting.
- Hips should rotate before the upper body.
These serving tips will help you get more accuracy and power.
It’s an exciting way to jazz up your serving practice and, as a bonus, fosters a competitive spirit that’ll get you primed for actual match situations.
4. Feed the Snake
One of the other volleyball serving games, ‘Feed the Snake,’ involves all players stationed at the serving line with a basket of balls.
The Coach positions on the opposing court in zone six. You can set a time limit on each of the players seated.
When the signal goes off, everyone tries to send a ball to the person sitting on the other side of the court.
The player who serves the ball joins the seated player if they catch it without bouncing.
The drill goes on until either everyone is on a seat or the time is up.
You can do all sorts of variations, such as changing the target zone, the time limit, or the number of players to make the drill easier or harder.
Coaching Points: Encourage players to aim for the chest of the seated player, not the head or the feet. Remind players to use proper serving techniques and not rush their serves.
This engaging drill not only focuses on accuracy but also fosters teamwork and fun.
Altering the time limit, the zone, or the number of players keeps the drill dynamic and adaptable for beginners seeking to enhance their serving accuracy.
5. Money Ball
Are you ready to inject a competitive edge into your serving practice? You can do ‘Money Ball’, a thrilling twist to your usual game.
In this drill, two teams of six players, along with a coach and a scorekeeper, engage in a regular volleyball game with an exciting twist.
The coach intermittently tosses a special “money ball” into play. Winning a rally after the money ball comes into play earns double points for the victorious team.
The first team to reach 25 points wins the game.
This exciting drill is to simulate game pressure and challenge servers to pinpoint your serves strategically.
It encourages them to identify and target the weak spots in their opponents’ defence, making it a powerful tool for serving under pressure.
You can make this drill more challenging by changing the value of the money ball and the frequency of the toss or even modifying the scoring system, ensuring a dynamic and engaging serving practice tailored to your team’s needs.
6. Serving and Passing Ladder
Are you keen on improving your serving and passing skills while fostering team communication and cooperation? ‘Serving and Passing Ladder’ is the drill for you.
There are two teams of three players, each armed with a basket of balls, facing a ladder drawn on the court.
Here’s the game plan: serve and pass the ball among your team, aiming to ascend the ladder by scoring points.
The points are awarded based on the quality of the serve and the pass, as follows:
- Ace or shank: +2 points for the server, -2 points for the passer.
- Good serve or good pass: +1 point for the server or the passer.
- Bad serve or bad pass: -1 point for the server or the passer.
- The first team to reach the top of the ladder wins the drill.
By altering the ladder size, the number of players, or the criteria for scoring, you can modify this drill to suit varying skill levels, making it a versatile and engaging training tool for your team.
7. Volleyball Serving Drills At Home
This exercise is one of the most basic overhand serving drills, and the strength of the serve can be manageable. Just make sure the hand position is correct.
The strength is slightly lighter, and apply some force to the ball so that the ball does not bounce to other places.
The contact point should be very consistent, and you can practice the upper body first and find the feeling of the moment when the hand touches the ball when serving.
After hitting the ball, you can switch to a half-squat posture because you need to transition to passing quickly.
When passing, you can quickly move your feet. After serving, you can quickly move to find the passing spot of the ball.
The purpose of the drill is to help you get more consistency on essential ball contact while skilled at passing.
We’ve explored various serving drills, each designed to take your serving game to the next level. Remember, practice makes perfect, and consistency is the key.
Incorporating these drills into your training routine will elevate your serving skills, transforming them from average to exceptional.
Moreover, never underestimate the importance of practice with a purpose. Link what you learn from these drills to real game scenarios. That way, you’ll seamlessly integrate these newfound skills into your gameplay.
For further improvement, dive into resources like professional player videos insightful articles, or join local clubs or camps to enhance your skills and meet fellow volleyball enthusiasts.
Get out there, put these drills into action, and before you know it, you’ll be acing those serves like a pro!