While I may have finished playing volleyball for good, I still do enjoy watching and talking about it. Having a strong float serve to get a point started for your team is crucial. Here’s how to hit a solid float serve.
- Make contact with the ball on the “butt” of the palm of your hand. This can be difficult to understand. The “butt” of the palm of your hand is the meaty lower part of it. By making contact on that part of your hand with the ball high in front of you, have the opportunity to make the ball float in the air. Coming in straight at the center of the ball with the meaty part of your hand prevents any kind of spin from directing the ball in a certain direction. One of my old coaches helped with that by telling us to contact the ball at “the equator”.
- Pull your hand back from the ball after you’ve hit it. This can also seem confusing without actually demonstrating, so I’ll do my best to make sense with words. Once you’ve made contact with the ball, pull your arm back. This shouldn’t be a jerky or super sharp movement away from the ball.
- Keep the toss in front. This list of tips for how to hit a float serve are definitely not in order but the toss is a very important aspect of the serve. If you’re left-handed like me, the toss should be in front of you, high enough for your arm to reach it while it’s extended but not fully straight, and also in front of your left foot. If you’re right-handed it’s the same thing but opposite side.
- When beginning your serve, start with your serving arm (your dominant arm) back by your ear with your elbow bent at about 90 degrees. Your non-dominant arm should be out in front of you with the ball in hand, ready to toss it. Many coaches teach kids to bring their arm back as if they are drawing a bow to shoot arrows. While this does work for some kids, I find it uncomfortable and difficult to hit a good serve that way.
- Focus on the four F’s. Fast, flat, float, and freakishly accurate. These are things to work on with your serve, once you feel like you’ve got the hang of it and are looking for ways to up your serve and challenge yourself. A 40+ mph float serve is difficult to read and return. Keeping the ball low as it crosses the net onto the opposing team’s side gives them less time to read the ball and react to where it coming. The more experienced you become with the feel for the float serve, the more deadly you can make it to your opponents. A good float serve will appear to “dance” in the air and will float and give the opposing team a lot of trouble. Being freakishly accurate with a float serve is a great way to cause trouble for your opponents. Being able to pick a spot on the court and serve to it can do wonders for your team and give you an advantage when the ball is back in play on your side of the net.
I hope these tips help you get started on being able to hit a super float serve or improve the serve you have already. Take time to make sure you’re practicing the correct technique and never give up. Mastering a certain skill can take a lot of time and patience and you have to be willing to work hard and try hard. If you’re looking for visuals or more information on how to hit a good float serve, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube and there are plenty of players and coaches out there willing to help you improve your serve. Have fun with it and good luck!