How to Jump Serve in Volleyball

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Serving a volleyball can be done in many different ways, and one specific technique can generally help you get a lot of points. Mastering how to jump serve in volleyball can drastically change the outcome of your games since you can directly score a point with it. 

How to Jump Serve in Volleyball

For beginners, jump serving might be intimidating. After all, if it is done incorrectly you can end up giving a point to your opponent. This is why it’s so important to nail the technique every time you do it. 

Player getting ready to serve

Mastering the jump serve can take time. Even professional players practice it every day. Here are the steps to follow to master a jump serve.

Step 1: Position Yourself

Start several feet behind the end line. Make sure you have enough room to take four big steps forward. Get your dominant foot forward and keep the other one back. Lastly, hold the volleyball with your non-dominant hand.

Step 2: Aim to Ace

Before even starting to serve, you need to look at your opponent’s court and find a good empty spot to aim the ball at. These spots are called “dead zones,” and they are challenging to defend. 

After finding one, your next step is to aim at it correctly. It may be difficult to serve the ball accurately, primarily if you’re a beginner. Here are tips to help you aim your serve better.

  • Forget about trying to hide your intentions – position your body to face exactly where you’re aiming
  • Point your feet directly at the zone you’re trying to serve
  • Make sure the ball is aligned with your hitting shoulder
  • Hit the ball right in the center
  • Keep your hand strong and your wrist firm

Step 3: Toss and Approach the Ball

Now, toss the volleyball upwards about three to five feet, slightly in front of you. Make sure you have enough time to reach it. Think as if you were setting the ball for yourself when you throw it. 

Next, approach the ball. Take a step with your non-dominant foot while swinging your arms back. Hop forward while starting to swing your arms up. Use the momentum created by your arms and jump upwards. 

Player serving the ball in volleyball

Step 4: Hit the Ball

Before striking the ball, your arms should be fully extended above your shoulders. Then, get your dominant elbow back. This movement is called the bow and arrow swing. Lastly, hit the ball mid-air with your dominant hand. Make sure to hit it right in the middle. 

For this, one of the most important details is being aware of the position and movement of your body. This is called “Proprioception,” and it is proven to be the factor that allows volleyball players to know where the ball is in the air

Here are some tips on how to practice it:

  • Focus on your footwork: If you’re right-handed, your last step should be left and vice versa to allow you to sync your whole body and build the right momentum to swing properly
  • Perform balance exercises: Trying to balance with one leg on a bosu ball is a great way to increase your stability
  • Be aware of your arms: Swing them back as much as possible when taking the first step, and swing them upwards as much as possible when jumping
  • Follow through: After finishing the serve, keep your hands high and pointing towards the zone you were aiming for (if you do a topspin, you need to flick your hand at the end)
  • Be aware of where you look: Don’t take your eyes off the ball until it reaches its destination

Step 5: Land Correctly

Landing correctly prevents serious injuries involving your knees. Additionally, if you land on or over the service line, your serve is not legal.

To safely land your jump, you should always land with both feet. Keep your knees slightly bent at all times. Also, when falling, bend your knees to absorb the impact. If you don’t do this, your joints will receive all of the shocks, and it could potentially end up in an injury.

Lastly, keep your head still (but not stiff) and focus on the ball. You might get disorientated and suffer a bad fall if you look away. Remember, it is better to safely fall and waste a little time than to fall incorrectly and potentially damage your joints.

Player executing a jump serve in a volleyball game

Step 6: Be Consistent

A good volleyball server should always have a clear mind; otherwise, he might not be as reliable as he should be. Serving is all about consistency. Always have a sharp mind, and remember the rules of serving to avoid any penalties.

For this, you need to find your “zone.” This is an area in your mind that allows you to be calm and collected. Here, you should envision yourself serving the perfect ball. This will lead you to set an unbreakable mentality and, ultimately, a consistent performance on the court.

There is no real tip on how to find your zone. This is something that you need to search for by yourself. Some players are known to play better after doing a pre-performance routine (like bouncing the ball three times). Others just take a long breath.

Types of Jump Serves

There are three types of jump serves in volleyball. They all have their own benefits.

Topspin Jump Serve

A topspin jump serve is where you powerfully serve the ball while jumping. An added topspin causes the ball to drop faster to the floor once it goes over the net. This should be the one that you try to master first.

Jump Float Serve 

A jump float serve is a less powerful serve with no spin made while jumping. In this case, the ball is tossed with both hands, making it “float” through the air until the server hits it. It is easier to aim with this serve. It can also confuse your opponent, as they won’t know where the ball will go.

Hybrid Serve

A hybrid serve involves a player deceiving the opponents by approaching the serve one way and finishing it the other. For example, the server starts by doing a float serve but ends up doing a topspin. This is often used by professionals who try to add dynamism to the game.

Conclusion

When mastered, the volleyball jump serve can be a game-changer. Nonetheless, it should be practiced day after day for that to happen. Every single detail about this jump could highly influence the outcome.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.