What Is a Let Serve?

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In sports, there are many terms, rules, and regulations that all players should know and follow, and volleyball is no exception. If you want to learn more about this subject, you might be wondering what is a let serve in volleyball, and whether it is influential or not.

What Is a Let Serve?

In volleyball, a let serve refers to an old rule that prohibited the ball from touching the top of the net when serving. This means that, when this rule existed, servers needed to avoid the net at all costs; if not, they would lose the point and the right to serve.

An image of a woman serving

However, just as I mentioned, this rule does not exist anymore as it was changed in the 2000-2001 volleyball rulebook. Some people theorize that this change was done in order to speed the game and make it more interesting with fewer faults and mistakes.

Nowadays, if the ball reaches the top of the net and falls within the opponent’s side of the court, it is regarded as a valid serve, and the ball is playable. In this situation, the only way for a ball to be out of play is if it never reaches the opposing side of the court.

Types of Serves

After learning what a let serve is, you have a better understanding of the game, which allows you to perform better serves; after all, it won’t matter if the ball you send slightly touches the net. Here you can see the types of serves you can do.

The Underhand Serve

The underhand serve is often used by beginners as it is one of the most basic movements to do. In this one, you won’t be asked to jump or throw the ball, you will only need to grab the ball with your non-dominant hand, and strike it with the other with a swing.

This improves players’ control over the ball during serving, allowing them to precisely target certain areas of the court. Also, since this move has a very little probability of getting called off the court, it helps novice players to gain experience and confidence.

The main disadvantage is that it is quite simple to receive and return. This serve is slow and weak, therefore, the opponents won’t have trouble receiving it, and you won’t be able to score an ace.

Topspin Jump Serve

Topspin jump serves are frequently the first complicated move most players learn. You must take the ball with your non-dominant hand, throw it in the air, approach it, and then hit it. This strike, though, must cause the ball to spin.

This spin will cause the ball to fall faster into the opponent’s side of the court, which may allow you to score an ace. If you manage to do it, this can cause a positive effect on you and your team, leading you to positive winning momentum.

Jump Float Serve

The jump float serve is similar to the topspin serve, however, in this one, the ball should be thrown into the air with both hands, quickly approached, and then hit strongly. This serve is easier to aim since it lacks spin; although, it is also less powerful.

Hybrid Serve

In basic words, the hybrid serve is a tactic to fool your opponents into thinking you’re going for one type of serve and then quickly switching to another. For example, you may start with a jump float serve and end with a topspin.

An image of a player serving

Here you can see the benefits that this action may give you.

  • The opposite team could get confused as they may not expect a topspin serve.
  • It may allow you to score an ace; after all, your opponents will be deceived.
  • If you use your body language correctly, you will always trick your opponent, making them overthink their decisions.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about serving in volleyball.

What Is Considered an Illegal Serve in Volleyball?

There are several rules that apply to serving in volleyball, for instance, you cannot touch the serving line while serving. On top of that, your teammates cannot help the serve to reach the other side of the net; if someone touches it, it is considered illegal.

What Does ‘’Serve an Ace’’ Mean in Volleyball?

An ace is a point-scoring serve that directly touches the opponent’s side of the court. This means that, if you serve the ball and your opponent is not even able to touch it, you have accomplished an ace.

Even though this is hard to do, it can allow you to score a lot of points if you do it correctly.


Volleyball rule changes may often confuse players, especially senior athletes. As a result, you should constantly be aware of the regulations and follow them as strictly as possible. If not, you could put your team at a huge disadvantage by committing simple faults.

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.