How to Teach Volleyball Serve

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Service is a fundamental part of Volleyball. But, teaching how to do it correctly can be a tiring and challenging process, especially for beginners.

This is because maintaining the body weight and serving without being injured comes from practice. Don’t worry! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to teach volleyball serve using apt techniques that are easy to learn for new players.

How to Teach Volleyball Serve

Apart from body confidence and self-esteem, a volleyball player needs:

  • perfect hand-eye coordination
  • momentum
  • timing

It won’t happen at the first strike. You will have to be patient.

Here are two of the most common types of volleyball services and ways to teach them:

Volleyball player raising her right hand to serve the ball

Type #1: Overhand Serve

A float serve requires lesser to least contact with the ball to make it spin less. A less spinning ball is hard to grasp for a receiver as the air around the ball is uneven.

This makes the ball either land to the left or land to the right of the receiver. Sometimes the ball can float up in the air.

Meanwhile, topspin or a regular serve involves a spinning effect. Because of spinning, the air distributes evenly across the ball and makes it pretty predictable for a receiver to receive it.

Here is a detailed tutorial on how to make an overhand serve.

Below are the further classifications.

#1 Standing Float Serve

In a standing float serve, the player stands outside the line and serves the ball without any movement in position

#1.1 Position Your Legs
  1. Start with V or L shape depending upon the shape of your body. Standing like this will provide firm support to the person who is servicing.
  2. The server’s position should be so that his/her non-dominant side should place frontward while the dominant side should either face to left or right.
  3. The dominant side plays an active role in transferring momentum from the dominant to the non-dominant side.
  4. For instance, if you are right-handed, your dominant side will be right, or if your active hand side is left, your dominant leg would be left.
  5. Next, put your maximum weight on the dominant leg side, keeping the non-dominant side pretty free.

Remember, if you don’t distribute your weight correctly, then the desired transfer of momentum won’t happen, and there are chances that the ball won’t pass and touch over the net.

#1.2 Position Your Bust

Apart from the positioning of the legs, the position of the bust is another important aspect that helps in governing correct arm strength cum speed.

A proper arm speed would push the ball in motion, which will make it drive through the other end of the court.

To align everything correctly, don’t face frontward. You can either place your bust at 45 degrees to 90 degrees (maximum), depending upon your shape and comfort of the body.

A volleyball player serving a ball
#1.3 Position your arms

Though an entire body movement is involved while playing volleyball, the most frequently moved are your arms. The strength you put in while striking the ball determines the fate of the game.

Hence to score a victory, never place your arms lower your shoulder level. A good volleyball player always keeps his/her arms at shoulder level.

Secondly, don’t strike the ball with loose arms. To land the ball on the other side of the court, stretch your arms tightly and don’t bend your elbows unless you have to strike a ball.

#1.4 Adjust your Palm

Before tossing and smashing the ball, one needs to know how to smash it correctly. In a float serve, the palm should be tight and make less contact with the ball to spins less.

Imagine your volleyball to be a globe, locate the equatorial line of the ball, and hit with high power. Try not to hit elsewhere.

#1.5 Toss The Ball

A prevalent mistake that right-handed beginners make while tossing a ball is placing their left hand in front of their left shoulder.

An expert coach or a pro player in volleyball always recommends placing the extended non-dominant arm in front of the dominant shoulder.

This will help keep the ball in trajectory and won’t allow it to deflect towards either side of the court, leading to a foul service.

Also, one needs to make sure that the tossed ball lands on the right side of your left foot rather than the left side if you are right-handed or vice versa.

If it happens otherwise, the ball will fall off the trajectory and land outside the court.

Finally, toss the ball in the air; make sure that the ball doesn’t go too high as it is a standing float serve and not a jump float serve. Position yourself correctly and smash the ball tightly.

#2 Standing Topspin Serve

The positioning of a player while serving a topspin serve is equivalent to the positioning while serving a standing float.

One has to align their legs and bust as discussed in standing float serve and toss the ball high enough to land on the other side of the court.

Here is where the topspin serve comes into play, the ‘action of palms.’ Unlike standing float service, the servicing here is done by a loose palm.

To service your ball, open your hand and don’t make it stiff. Also, loosen your wrist for a better throw.

Hit the ball with maximum contact with the surface, making a high-pitched slap sound.

For Standing Topspin Serve, open your hand and don’t make it stiff and loosen your wrist for a better throw

#3 Jump Float Serve

To make an effective jump float serve, one needs to master the skills and techniques of the standing float serve first.

The difference between a standing float and a jump float is a ‘jump.’ Though there is a proper method to make an effective jump, it is somewhere similar to its counterpart. To make a jump float serve,

  1. Step
  2. Toss and finally,
  3. Make a jump float
To make a jump float serve, do a jump step while tossing the ball and throwing the ball forward your target
#3.1 Step To Gain A Momentum

Transfer the weight from your rear hip to your front hip and take few steps to gain momentum.

This step will eventually help you in taking a good high jump rather than a slumbering jump.

#3.2 Toss The Ball In The Air

Unlike a float serve where one tosses in an upward direction, in a jump float serve, one has to toss upward and throw the ball forward simultaneously. If one does either of the two, the service won’t happen properly.

Thus, while stepping the last step, toss the ball up and forward in the air before smashing it.

#3.3 Smash The Ball On Equator

Also, a crucial aspect of float serve is to make minimal contact with the ball. To smash the ball using a jump float technique, make your palm stiff and hit on the ball’s equator while you are in a jump position.

#4 Jump Topspin Serve

In a jump topspin serve, the entire technique is similar to the jump float serve except for the last step, i.e., the striking part.

To strike a volleyball using a jump topspin serve, open your palm and try to make maximum contact with the ball’s surface.

Don’t make your palm go stiff. If you don’t hear a loud slap sound, then either your palm was stiff or wasn’t open wide enough.

By rectifying these small mistakes and practicing consistently, one can master this technique.

Type #2: Underhand Serve

In an underhand serve, the arms are placed below the ribs, contrasting to an overhand serve. To serve a ball using this technique, follow these steps and practice them well.

  1. Place your legs in a V position at shoulder distance. Transfer your weight from the rear hip to the front hip depending upon your active hand side.
  2. Extend your one arm forward at a belly level and place the ball right in the center of the palm.
  3. Swing your other arm back and forth to gain momentum before striking the ball. Club your fingers all together in a fist before hitting.
  4. Toss the ball a little bit and hit the ball using the wrist.
In an underhand serve, swing your arm back and forth to gain momentum before striking the ball


Don’t strike the ball with the fist because the strike won’t be much effective.


Research reads that most of the injuries that happen while playing volleyball happen while landing from a jump. The ligaments in the knees get damaged when someone has an abrupt landing from a jump.

This shows that how small techniques help from saving me from significant injuries. Here is a detailed explanation of how you can master the art of serving volleyball like an ace. All the best! Keep trying!

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.