Volleyball Serving: Trouble Spots
As a youth volleyball coach it is important that you don't overlook the serving technique of your players. Serving is one of the easiest skills in volleyball to master. Even beginners should be able to serve into the court. Some of your younger players (i.e. 3rd graders) may not initially have enough power to get the ball over the net but they should be able to consistantly place the their serve within the court. The sooner they start working on their overhead serve the sooner they will get better.
Spend a good amount of time in practice developing your players serve. The serve represents and attack. A good hard serve scores points and disrupts an opponents offense.
The main trouble spots in serving technique are the lift, the step and the contact hand.
So how does a player lift the ball precisely? First, by taking their time. After positioning themselves behind the back line, they quiet their body and their mind, check their opponents receive formation and then focus on nothing but the ball.
Second, they take a starting position which will require the least amount of movement from beginning of the lift through the completion of the serve.
The players position their lifting hand exactly under the ball, about shoulder height. Holding the hand lower is a mistake as it causes the hand to travel farther and faster than is necessary. The players lift hand does not squeeze it but cradles it. (Smaller hands can do this without any problems). The entire hand should touch the ball. The server wants the ball to be stable in the lift hand without the support of the other hand. The striking hand rests lightly behind the ball. The player starts the serve by moving three things: the lift hand up, the striking hand back and the foot on the lift hand side forward.
The lift is done as slow and as smooth as possible. The lift hand stays in contact with the ball as long as possible. The lift arm finishes straight. The more the player practices the lift the more consistent their serve will be.