Good Exercises for Serving a Volleyball

Practice makes perfect when it comes to your volleyball serve.
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One of the most important volleyball skills to learn is the play that gets the game started – the overhead serve. In an article for Stack, University of Oregon’s volleyball coach Jim Moore, calls the serve the first weapon of attack, saying that an effective server should be able to float the ball into the opposing team’s weakest area. This requires both strength and accuracy, which can only be developed through lots of practice hours. There are numerous serving drills and exercises that can be done to perfect your serving technique and keep your opponents on the defensive.

Strength Training

The foundation for an effective volleyball serve comes from having a strong core and legs to power the ball over the net. To build this base, you need to incorporate strength training exercises that will work your abs, back, shoulders and legs. Workouts that include snatches, jumps, pushups, pull ups and squats will give you a total body routine to strengthen your muscles and your power on the court. Some of these, like the snatch, will require dumbbells or other equipment, while others rely on nothing more than your own body weight to create resistance.

Serving Movements

The serve ‘n sprint is a helpful drill because it develops serving skills as well as speed immediately after the play. Once the ball is served, the player needs to immediately get on the court and be ready to receive the ball. With this exercise, a player serves the ball, and if it is placed successfully, she sprints to retrieve the ball and hands it off to the next player. If the serve goes into the net or out of bounds, she must sprint to get the ball, then serve it again, repeating the drill until the serve is successful.

Serving Accuracy

The purpose of the service zone drill is to improve serving accuracy, and the girls on the University of Oregon volleyball team practice it daily. The idea is to serve the ball into one of six serving areas, using either a ball cart or 4-foot by 4-foot box. Forcing players to hit these small targets in different zones of the court will help them develop skills so they can serve to particular weak spots on the court. It also allows them to work on both long and short serves.

Serving Distance

The amoeba incorporates both serving distance and accuracy, but it also adds a new pressure to the server – a time limit. For this drill, all players except one are lined up on one side of the net; the single player is seated on the floor on the opposite side. Simultaneously, the group serves their balls to the seated player, who tries to catch one. The player whose served ball is caught sits down and tries to catch a ball. Everyone serves until all balls are caught and everyone is seated; it must be done in a predetermined time limit.

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