Volleyball Serves - an overview on 7 types of serves in volleyball
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An overview on the types of serves in volleyball
by: R. Sandou

Norton 360 Multi Device

In a volleyball game, the role of the server is the most important one. The server, standing behind the inline begins a rally by serving the ball and leading it in the opposite court. The various types of serves help him/her to set the ball's course, acceleration, speed and angle so as to make it hard for the opponent to strike it back.

In the modern volleyball, the following types are used:

As the name indicates, a floater serve travels to the opponent court without spinning. It is rather tricky and deceiving as it moves erratically; either straight, left or right making hard for the opponent to figure out where the ball will land.

For a good floater, you must hold the ball with the left palm and have the other arm slightly bend. Toss the ball with no spin and strike the middle of it with the heel of your palm. Remember to keep your hand open and flat when striking. Do not follow through; just strike with a quick move.

During a topspin serve, the ball spins hastily without changing its course. For some players, it is considered to be an easy serve, but it is not. Despite the fact that the opponent knows exactly where the ball is going to land, the ball's velocity makes it hard for him/her to counter-attack the hit.

For a topspin serve, you must toss the ball higher than the floater, almost four feet above your head. If the ball is not tossed that high, then you may not be able to finish your serve properly. Toss the ball while spinning; fully extend your arm to strike the ball with the centre of the palm and follow through.

Jump Serve
This type is the most popular one, especially among professional players, due to its power. You have to toss the ball even higher in jump serve to leave you space to jump and hit the ball. This reminds more of an attack as the additional motion helps you put on more power on the strike.

Jump serve is not that easy to perform as the other types. You must toss the ball with your serving hand. Toss the ball high above your head, take a step, jump and strike the ball at the top with your hand at full extension. Remember that you have to be behind the line when you start to serve but it is allowed to land inside the court. The power of the ball makes it a hard serve to pass.

Jump Float
This serve combines the techniques of both floater and jump serve. You toss the ball but with no spin and you strike it while you are on the air. This will give extra power to your ball but will also make its course unpredictable.

Round House Serve
This is a rare type of serve that was mostly used in 1980s. Its unique difference is that in round house serve you must not bend your elbow. Professionals start with one shoulder facing the net and the arm totally straight. You toss the ball and strike it with a fast, swinging move of your arm. You hit the ball with the heel of your palm making it look like topspin serve.

The Hybrid Serve
This type is similar to the floater serve. You toss the ball but instead of a quick strike, you gently snap your wrist. This will give speed to the ball maintaining its volatile path.

Sky Ball Serve
This is a special type of serve that is mostly used in beach volleyball. The difference with every other serve is that you strike the ball so high that it ends up coming straight down.

Becoming a professional server demands endless practice, strategic skills, dexterity and spirit. You can choose between the various types of serves to find the one that suits you.

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