It is no secret that one of the most crucial aspects of your volleyball game is your serve. Beginners often start with an underhand serve but quickly move on to an overhand serve. An overhand serve gives players the right amount of power, aim and consistency to make the serve an integral part of a seriously competitive team. Running through serving drills regularly can improve service in players who are just learning to overhand serve.
Deep Service Practice
Strength and power are valuable to a solid overhand serve. This is a drill designed to help develop those aspects, no nets or lines required. This is also a competitive drill, which may help motivate improvement. Line all players up at one end of the gym. The first player serves, simply hitting the ball as far as possible, ideally in the last feet of the court. Leave a marker as a place holder, such as an orange cone, at the spot where the ball first touched the ground - not where it rolled to - so that the rest of the players will know how far they must hit the ball to become the leader. Allow for three rotations through the line. After everyone serves three times, the person with the farthest traveling serve wins.
This drill builds a player's aim and consistency. Have six members of the team sit on the floor on one side of the net. The rest of the team then lines up and takes turns serving. Each serve must go over the net, and seated players must be able to catch the ball without moving from their spots on the floor. An advanced variation of this drill would be for the coach to call out the name of a specific person for which each server must aim.
This drill improves short-range serving, which can be helpful in competition. Form one line of players to serve. On the opposite side, form players into three lines, standing behind the base line. As one player serves, the three players lined up on the other side must run forward to try to catch the ball. If the ball hits the floor before anyone reaches it, the serving player is awarded a point. If the ball is caught or doesn't make it over the net, no point is awarded. Rotate through the entire team, giving each player 10 serves. Whichever player finishes with the most points is the winner. As players improve on this skill, difficulty of the drill may be increased by allowing the three players who are attempting to catch the ball to begin in front of their serving line instead of behind it.
Around the World
This drill is similar to the target practice drill; it helps with precision and can be played competitively. Use existing floor lines or strips of masking tape to divide one side of the court into six evenly sized rectangles. From the opposite side, line up the players in the service area. Each will then be allowed six serves. The goal is to land one serve in each of the six marked targets. The player that hits the most targets wins. To intensify the competition, deduct one point for every target that is hit more than once.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.