While certain aspects of volleyball, such as improving a player’s blocking skills, are limited to just a few positions on the team, serving is such a key part of the game that it is vital that all players are able to serve with the confidence of getting the ball in play and with power the majority of the time. Therefore, take note of these 4 key ways in how your serving can improve.
You may have figured that practice would feature somewhere on this list. Yes, it may be an obvious way to improve your serving ability, but there’s really no two ways about it. You have to practice on your serving ability every single time you hit the court and even when off-court at home if you really want to improve your game. There’s no quick-fix to instantly improve your serving, it all comes down to hard work and repetition.
What we will say, however, is that each player likely has strengths and weaknesses in their overall serving technique, so it would be wise to work the most on the aspect you are weakest on. For many it is the toss. Therefore, you should work on ensuring that your toss in consistent – both high and n front of you.
Once being able to toss the able correctly every single time, you will soon see everything else fall into place, as serving suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
Clear Your Mind
The previous point played may have been a rollercoaster and you may be pumped full of adrenaline after winning a memorable point or angry that your team lost the point, and it was one of your teammate’s fault or may have even been yours.
What we say to this is: it doesn’t matter what happened on the previous point, that point is over and you can never get it back, regardless of whether it was won or loss, the only thing you can focus on is the upcoming point. Therefore, you need to clear you mind before you go back to serve.
A good way to clear you mind is to stop for a few seconds, take one, two or three deep breaths to focus yourself and then go through the motions of how you will serve well (such as the checklist below) to maximize the chances of winning the point for your team.
Run Through a Checklist
We just mentioned how you need to run through the motions of how you will serve to maximize the chances of winning the point for your point. Well what do these motions (or the checklist) consist of? There are 3 points to keep in mind:
- Get into the right frame of mind. You can do this by taking a deep breath or two
- Ask yourself where you want to serve to and with how much power. Is accuracy the most important aspect, considering the importance of the upcoming point? Is power the most important? Or is it a combination of the two?
- Visualize your serve. You can do this by visualizing the velocity, trajectory and location of your serve.
Running through this checklist shouldn’t just occur when playing matches. On the contrary, it should be in your mind every single time it is your turn to serve, regardless of whether it is practice on the court, at home, or during a match.
You will find that running through the checklist will soon become second nature and will become hard not to do, as it will become so ingrained in your conscious and subconscious mind.
Analyze the Opposition
Serving well is just as much about you as it is your opponents. As a game goes on you may notice a few strengths and weaknesses of your opponents. For example, a player may be weaker on his or her left or right side, or the player may have trouble getting to the floor so easily, so you might want to try and ensure that the trajectory of your serve comes in at a low angle.
Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents is one of the best ways smart players can give their team the best chance of winning the point, and you don’t even have to be one of the best servers on your team to do so, you just have to outsmart the opposition.