Volleyball Serving Drills | Float | Jump Serve

We started this volleyball drills tips section with jump serve. In this section we go through standing float serve and top-spin serve.

Volleyball Drills – Volleyball Serving Tips

Volleyball Strategies - Serving Jump Float

  • Remember to aim to certain spot on the court.
  • Have either one of these two goals
  • 1) to aim to the corners or seams between the players and force them to pass the ball off the net.

    2) Place the ball in a way that you play out the opponent’s hitter, or at least make this player’s hitting more difficult.

  • Extremely important is to keep your eyes on the ball at the moment you hit it. That is one major reason for mishitting the ball.

Example Volleyball Drills – Serving in Volleyball

Here is an example about our favorite serving and passing drill.  We divide the court into sections, each section being 7,5 feet or 2,33 m wide.

Volleyball Drills - Serving Passing - Position 1 and 6

We use sections also in serving and passing drills because it makes the serves really focus putting their serves to specific locations on the court.

Without small target areas, serves tend to serve anywhere in the court.  This could be very frustrating for the passers. When using sections and jump serving with the full power, the passers know they have a good chance to pass the balls up. Shanked passes are not good practice for anybody.

So the servers (S1, S2, S3, S4) work on placing the ball i.e. on the section 2, which is the serving section between two passers (P1, P2).

We have divided the court into 4 areas, because it allows servers to serve both side lines (left and right) plus between the passers (2 areas: between P1 and P2  and P2 and P3).

Mark the target area with few pieces of tape or dots.

Those are the four main areas where servers usually aim the serves in the matches.  This is when assuming there are three passers on the court, which is the most common serve receive formation.

Volleyball Float Serve Tips

  • Start your feet next to each other. (Some people prefer having left foot forward. As you remember there are usually more than one way to play volleyball.)
  • Toss the ball up to the air with your left hand. (Some players prefer tossing with both hands.) This is probably the most critical part of the serve. You have to be able to toss an accurate toss, so you don’t have to chase for the ball. If it is not accurate, practice just tossing until it is.
  • Take the step forward with your left foot (unless you had it there already).Volleyball Serving Drills
  • Hit the ball near at its peak position. Don’t toss the ball too high. If your toss is too high you have to hit on the dropping ball – and it will be difficult to hit a perfect floater.
  • Keep the ball slightly in front of you, little bit further out than with your top spin serve.
  • Hit directly to the center of the ball.
  • You probably will get a better floater when having your hand tight and your fingers together. Some players prefer having their fingers spread open.
  • You may rise on your toes while serving, but try to keep your both feet on the ground. If your back leg is in the air when serving, your balance maybe off and you may not get as much power behind the serve.
  • One very important factor for a perfect floater: do not follow through with your arm. Many coaches teach this differently – we are confident not following through is a better way. When your contact is as short as possible, the ball will float better.

(Guidance was for the right handed player, the left hander does the same, but as a mirror image)

Top Spin Serve Tips

For beginning volleyball players, it is preferable to teach a top spin serve before the floater.

  • Perform top spin serve exactly like floater, until the toss
  • Begin with your feet next to each other.  (Option 2: left foot in front) (Option 3: some players prefer taking extra right step before the toss)
  • Toss the ball with your left hand. (Or with both hands). Toss is critical part of the serve, it has to be accurate.Volleyball Drills - Jump Serving
  • Take the step forward with your left foot. (if you had “option 2”-style, it was there already)
  • On top-spin serve, place the toss somewhere above your shoulder (or just a little bit ahead of you). The further away the ball is, the lower it travels over the net. If the ball is way too far ahead, you’ll be hitting the ball down to the net.
  • Do not toss the ball too high; it is easier to hit the ball when it is near at its peak position.
  • Hit the ball with your straightened arm and snap you wrist (“near top of the ball”) to give a top spin on it.
  • Have your both feet on the ground when you hit the ball. Some players like to rise on their toes.
  • Follow through with your arm.
  • When following through, you can have your right back leg following through and taking a step forward.

(Guidance was for the right handed player, the left hander does the same, but as a mirror image)

Take a look at our volleyball drills page about jump serving.