How to Jump Serve in Volleyball
In volleyball, every point earned begins with a serve — so make it count. Dominate the court by learning how to jump serve with power and score more aces.
Once you’ve learned the basics of your sport, it’s time to master specific techniques that help you play more skillfully in game time situations. In sports like tennis and volleyball, the serve can make or break your game. “Serving in general is so crucial — it's the first touch of the entire point,” said WAVE Volleyball coach Reily Buechler. The more power and precision you can bring to your serve, “the more difficult it's going to be for the other team.” Buechler is seasoned on both sides of the net, having played four years of competitive collegiate volleyball before graduating to coach professionally for WAVE Volleyball in San Diego, California.
In the video, Buechler walks you through two types of volleyball jump serves: topspin and float. Note that the directions are for right-handed players, so if you’re left-handed, switch them to match your dominant side.
HOW TO TOPSPIN JUMP SERVE
The topspin jump serve is an aggressive play that requires a lot of energy from the server, but delivers great reward when the other team has a hard time passing it back or is unable to, resulting in an ace for your team. When the other team is put on the back foot, “it’s going to be easier for us to play defense,” said Buechler. “When you topspin jump serve, you have a more consistent chance of it going where you think it will go because of all the power that you put behind it.”
1. Set up
- Hold the ball in your dominant hand.
- Take four large steps back from the end line. You’ll want ample room to run up and jump powerfully without faulting, which happens when your foot enters the court before you serve the ball.
- As you begin your approach, toss the ball about 5 feet high and 5 feet ahead of you.
- You’ll toss the ball with your dominant hand, or the same hand you’ll swing with.
- The topspin jump serve has a 3-step approach toward the end line. If you’re right-handed, you’ll step left, right, left. If you’re left-handed, you’ll step right, left, right.
- On your first step, your hands will go out in front of you.
- On your second step, your hands swing back behind you.
- On your third step, your arms shoot out and up to propel you into your jump.
- Launch off of your left leg (your third step), using your arms to add momentum.
- As you jump up, your arms will come back into a bow and arrow shape to wind up for your swing.
- Your attacking hand will pull back into a bow and arrow shape, with your non-dominant hand facing straight out at the volleyball.
- As you swing, your left (non-dominant) arm will come down and your attacking arm will shoot forward, fully extended and connecting with the middle of the volleyball at the top of your reach.
6. Follow through
- Finish the swing by flicking your hand outward and down over the top of the volleyball to create topspin.
HOW TO JUMP FLOAT SERVE
Jump float serves have little to no spin and are more common since they are just as difficult for the other team to receive, but require less energy from the server. The float serve gets its name from the way the ball shifts through the air unpredictably, causing it to change direction at any moment. “It's really hard to pass when someone's consistent with a jump float because you may think it's coming to you, but it may finish in a different direction,” said Buechler. But on the flip side, jump float serves aren’t right for every play because “it’s not as powerful. You are relying more on the float capability than you are the actual power that the athlete is putting behind it.”
1. Set up
- Take three steps back from the end line.
- Hold the ball in your left hand, with your left foot forward. Have your right (dominant) hand back, arched ready to swing.
- Toss the ball one to two feet above your head and slightly ahead of the right side of your body. You’ll toss the ball as you take the first step of your approach.
- Step left, right, left. On your third step, jump up to meet the ball in the air.
- Swing your right arm through to attack the ball. Your palm should be flat and make contact in the middle of the ball like you’re high-fiving it.
5. Follow through
- Finish the serve with your hand high and out in front as if you’re pushing the ball straight across the net. Avoid swinging your hand all the way down like in the topspin serve — the goal here is to get no spin on the ball to achieve the floating effect.
Jumping Ahead of the Competition
Mastering these jump serves and learning when to use them will give you a leg up against the other team and overall make you a more skilled, competitive player. Take it slow, and walk through each step to get the hang of it. Be sure to do a solid warmup beforehand, as it’s crucial to get your shoulders and legs prepped for these powerful hits and jumps. Try our volleyball conditioning workouts to strengthen your muscles off the court to feel more power in your serves and take your game to the next level.
Be the first to know all about stories, launches, and events.