A float serve can be a huge point-scoring weapon in volleyball. In this video, youth volleyball coach Deborah Newkirk teaches young players how to deliver a great one.
One of the keys to an effective float serve is hitting the ball in the right place so it has little to no spin as it travels across the net. The less spin, the more the ball will waver in the air, making it difficult for the receiving team to pass. Once players learn how to eliminate spin, their serving numbers are sure to improve.
This video only covers part of what it takes to develop a good floater. Other volleyball serving fundamentals include the position of the hitting and tossing hand/arm, weight transfer from back to front, hand shape and follow-through.
Good overhand serves start with consistent tosses
Here are three points of emphasis when teaching the float-serve toss:
- Keep the toss in line with the server’s striking shoulder (right for right-handers, left for left-handers).
- Point out that a dot has been marked on the center of the ball, as seen in the video. This allows players to easily gauge how much the ball is spinning in the air. Like with the serve itself, the toss should have little to no spin.
- Go over the mechanics of the toss from start to finish. The ball should be held in the non-hitting hand with the dot facing the player. The toss should be a simple, fluid motion. Once in the air, the ball should remain forward of the body but still lined up with the hitting shoulder. Height of the ball should be about a foot and a half to two feet above the player’s head.
Drill for practicing good ball contact for float serve
- A wall
- Colored tape to stick on the wall
- A volleyball with a dot on it
How the drill works:
- Put tape on the wall vertically in front of each player to indicate the direction and height of the toss.
- Have players face the wall, standing close enough so they can “high-five” it with their hitting hand. If the player is right-handed, the left foot is forward. If the player is left-handed, the right foot is forward.
- Start the repetitions with a toss and catch. Reinforce the idea that tosses should be in line with the tape on the wall.
- Continue the drill by having players complete their arm swing, striking the ball with a flat, firm hand and pinning it against the wall.
- Once the ball is stationary against the wall, players should check to see if the dot is still in their vision. If it is, it’s a successful rep. If not, try again!
Find a wall, serve the ball
This wall drill can be done at every practice, and it can also be assigned as volleyball “homework.” Every player has a ball, and every player can find a wall, so there are no excuses. By putting in a minimum of five minutes a day, players will get used to the simple mechanics of no-spin tosses followed by center-point strikes. From there, great serves will follow.