How to Hit a Solid Float Serve

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!

 

Losing is Good for You

Winning feels great and makes a person happy, but there isn’t too much one can learn from winning all the time. A person can become arrogant and lazy and that’s why losing can sometimes be good for someone. It allows them to learn from their mistakes and do better next time. The article “Losing is Good for You” by Ashley Marryman contains many relatable points that can be applied to my life as well as the lives of others.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been involved in sports. My coaches have always been supportive and pushed me towards excellence. When I was younger, I was praised for participating in events, performing well, or winning tournaments, and there would be certain rewards that I earned. As I became more experienced and older, the rewards for performing well or winning were trophies or plaques awarded by the tournament directors. When I was twelve, I was on a club volleyball team and I was one of the strongest players on the team. My coach was constantly praising me and it felt good at first but then it started to get old. According to Marryman, “Awards can be powerful motivators but nonstop recognition does not inspire children to succeed”. I didn’t feel as motivated to give 100% because the praise didn’t feel genuine, since my coach was always praising me. My parents worked hard to develop humility and help me understand that winning does feel good but it’s just as good to lose because you’ll learn from your mistakes and do even better the next time you go out and play. In tennis, I’ve always had a high ranking and been known for my good record. About two years ago, I went through a long losing spell and that was definitely not a fun time. My dad did his best to get me out of the losing streak and eventually I was able to succeed again and from that experience I learned that “you’re going to lose more often than you win even if you’re good at something. You’ve got to get used to that to keep going” (Marryman). It was so rewarding to win after so many loses and I was able to grow as a resilient athlete. I’m more motivated to work hard and succeed.

I guess losing really can be good for you.

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A Setter’s Warm-Up/Workout

Volleyball setters usually touch the volleyball every time it’s on their side of the net. So this means that a setter has to work especially hard and they should look and feel ready to go, right? Here are a few ways your setters can feel warmed up before they play and get in some good reps while they do it. These exercises don’t require a court; all you need is a wall, some space, and maybe even a partner.

– 300+ mini sets on the wall. Make sure your setter’s arms are slightly bent and all of the work is in the wrists as the ball comes on and off the wall. Their right leg should be slightly in front of their left leg and their knees should be bent about a 165 degree angle. When doing this, setters should discipline good hands and stop after every ten to check on their hands. My sister and I try to get over 900 mini sets on the wall so do challenge yourself but don’t overdo it.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout

-100+ one-handed sets on the wall. These are similar to the mini sets above but you do them one-handed. If your setter’s arms are stronger, they can extend their arm fully but still bend their elbow slightly. If they are working on strength and wrist control a little more, then they should bend the setting arm at about an 80 degree angle and hold on to it with the other arm while focusing on using their wrist.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
Working on right-hand one-handed sets.

– 6 circles to the right and left (12 total). Circles are similar to the first exercise but for this the setters are turning in a circle while still setting the ball on the wall. Have the setters turn to the right six times and then to the left six times. This one might be kind of tough when your setters start doing it but just watch and make sure they are adjusting to the different angles as they turn.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
Getting to the back set part of a circle.

The first and last exercises can also be used with jump setting if your setters are working on jump setting. They go through the same steps if they were on the ground they just time it a little differently and jump to set instead.

– 50 rockers. For these sets, setters should move off of the wall but still set at the wall. These sets work mostly on their weight transfer from their left foot to their right foot so it’s okay of the set isn’t high or at a certain height for this exercise. The setter will toss the ball to themselves and then set at the wall exaggerating the weight transfer. The ball should come back and then the setter will continue this until they get 50.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
Finishing rocker set, weight transfer, and bringing arms back up quickly.

-25 bouncers. Bouncers are an exercise is which the setter tosses the ball to themselves, sets at the wall with some power, lets it bounce in front of them, and then gets under the ball to set it back at the wall and repeat the process. This is a good exercise to work on footwork and getting low to set with the hands instead of bump-setting it.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout
-10 hot dog rolls. Hot dog rolls are a lot of fun. Your setter will lie down on the ground about a ball’s length away from the wall and start setting on the wall while on their stomach. They can then roll onto their side (right or left) and then eventually onto their back and the other side while still setting the ball to the wall.

A Setter's Warm-Up/Workout

So these are a few exercises that you can have your setters do to get some more reps in and come ready to work at a practice or game. Make sure to encourage your setters and challenge them. And also, practice makes perfect but it also makes permanent, so check on them to make sure proper technique is being used. Have fun and go setters! 🙂

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities

Setters are the coaches on the floor. They lead the team and they touch every second ball on their side. Someone with a position that important has to be a person and player with many abilities and qualities. Here are a few of the abilities and qualities setters should have.

  • Servant Leadership: Setters have to lead the team by serving them. They are not selfish, but selfless. Everything they do is for the team and not just themselves.
  • Work Ethic: Setters have to be the hardest workers on their team. Getting every second ball requires a lot of work so they have to be willing to work hard.
  • Deception: As a setter, the job is to set up your hitters with a chance to score and win. By being deceptive, a setter can hold the block and create holes in the defense. This creates a better chance for the hitters to score.
  • Creativity: Setters have to be creative with their sets and all that they do so that the defense is always on their toes, guessing where the next set will go. Setters have to have different moves to get to different balls. Like a setter might do a spin move to get to a close, low ball and might use an outside foot stop move to get to a really low ball that might put them off-balance.
  • A Positive Attitude: As the team leader, a setter has to be encouraging and positive with fellow teammates. They have to have an optimistic attitude. This creates a lighter, happier mood on the court and it can keep the team strong and prevent players from getting down.
  • Communication/Vocal Leadership: Setters have to communicate with their teammates. They have to be able to tell their teammates what play they plan to run and what your opponents are doing with the block and such. This could be in a form of hand signals or actual words.
  • Confidence: Confidence is something a setter MUST have. At the higher levels of volleyball, have you ever seen a setter afraid to make a set or a setter who just isn’t proud of their skills? Of course not! Setters have to believe in their skills and know they are great players.

There are many things that make setters the great players. Setters have to be servant leaders, hard-working players, deceptive, creative, positive and encouraging, communicative, and confident. These abilities and qualities are some of the things that make setters stand out. Without these few things, what would a setter be?

Setters Have to Have Many Abilities and Qualities