What Is a Floater in Volleyball?

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In sports, there are many techniques, terms, and movements that you can learn, and volleyball is no exception. If you’re new to this sport, you might be asking ‘’what is a floater in volleyball?’’, and how to perform it.

What Is a Floater in Volleyball?

The term floater refers to a float serve, which is a non-spinning serve. It’s nicknamed like that because it moves unpredictably after being tossed in the air. This gives the impression that it’s floating towards the opposing team’s side of the court.

This type of serve is often used to deceive the opponent and prevent him from easily receiving the ball. If the opposing team is not well-organized this serve would be very effective against them. After all, they would have a lot of trouble passing the ball.

An image of a player showing a floater in volleyball

However, in some cases, this may not be the ideal serve to perform. If your opponents are experienced and well-organized, they will be able to easily receive and pass the ball. Since this serve has less power, your opponents may benefit greatly from it.

Other Types of Serves

There are other types of serves in volleyball that you can perform and aim for an ace. By learning them you can expand your skill set, which is beneficial in the long run. On top of that, you can try them, and see which one fits your style the most.

Topspin Serve

The topspin could be considered the contrary to the float serve. This is because, for this one, you need to make the ball spin, and hit it with a lot of strength. This will make the volleyball go as fast as possible towards the opponent’s side of the court.

Picture it as an arrow flying straight to the opposing side of the net. As you can see, this is different than the floater, and it may be regarded as a more attacking type of serve. After all, it makes no difference if the opponent is well-organized in this situation.

Your opponent will have no chance of saving a great topspin serve if you perform it precisely (or at least it will be very difficult for them). To do it, you must use your non-dominant hand to pick up the ball, throw it in the air, approach it, and hit it. The ball must spin as a result of this strike.

Hybrid Serve

A hybrid serve happens when the server begins with a topspin serve and quickly switches to a floater. This could trick the opponents as they will not expect the upcoming serve.

This occurs because it is typical for players to watch the opposing server serve the volleyball. They would gain a significant advantage if they could effectively understand the server’s intentions. However, this would not be possible if you performed a hybrid serve.

You can increase your chances of scoring an ace by doing this; after all, your opponents will be confused. However, do not overuse this tactic; the opposing side will become accustomed to it and will no longer be misled by it.

The Underhand Serve

In professional volleyball, the underhand serve is one of the least commonly used serves. This is because of its low power, which allows opponents to simply receive and pass it. However, because of its simplicity, it is one of the first ones that all players learn.

To perform this, simply grip the ball with your non-dominant hand and strike it with your other hand using an underhand swing. This directs the ball towards the opposing team’s side of the court with precision, yet without power or speed.

An image of a player ready to serve

Here you can see the characteristics of the underhand serve.

  • Since this serve is slow and weak, it is quite easy to manage for professional volleyball players.
  • It is very convenient for new players who need to understand the basics of the game.
  • It is very precise, allowing you to be confident while performing it.
  • If you are a new player playing against new players, this serve won’t be as easy to manage for them.

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about serving in volleyball.

What Is the Hardest Serve to Receive in Volleyball?

Even though this is debatable, the floater serve is considered to be the hardest serve to receive in volleyball. This is due to its unexpected movements that might deceive you when receiving the ball.

What Is the Easiest Serve to Receive in Volleyball?

The underhand serve is considered to be the easiest serve to receive in volleyball. This is because it is slow and powerless, allowing you to easily bump it. However, it might not be that easy for novice players who just started the game.


There are many different types of serves in volleyball, and understanding them will help you to apply them in a variety of scenarios. In this situation, the float serve will prove to be helpful if you perceive your opponent as disorganized.

Alfonso Andrade is an avid sportsman, growing up playing soccer and volleyball. He is a coach and sports analyst, studying the game to analyze performance and help create improvement.