Volleyball Serves- Serving Tips and Techniques for Volleyball 

How do you serve in volleyball? Or how to serve in volleyball? 

To serve in volleyball, stand behind the end line, toss the ball, and strike it over the net into the opponent’s court. Practice underhand and overhand serves for better effectiveness. 

Serving in volleyball is a fundamental skill, and it’s often your first opportunity to take control of the game. As a newcomer to the sport, one should master different volleyball serving techniques. Also, being familiar with various types of serves is necessary as each has its distinct effectiveness. 

Player preparing to serve in an indoor volleyball match
Player preparing to serve in an indoor volleyball match

Let’s explore volleyball serves and get you on the path to mastering this essential skill.

Volleyball Serves – Volleyball Serving Styles and Techniques 

Serve Type Best ForProsCons
Underhand ServeBeginners learning control Easy for beginners, offers controlPredictable and may lack power
Overhand ServeAdvanced players, powerOffers more power and versatility, varietyRequires skill and practice to master
Jump Float ServePlayers with timingHigh speed, unpredictability, disruptionDemands good timing and jumping ability
Skyball ServeExperienced playersHard to predict, disruptionChallenging to master, prone to errors
Hybrid ServeVersatile playersUnpredictable and versatile, confusionRequires a high level of skill and precision
Floater ServeUnpredictabilityUnpredictable ball movement, challengingCan be inconsistent, requiring precise technique
Sidearm ServeShort and preciseOffers control, useful for short servesMay lack power, relatively easier to predict

Serving is a crucial skill that can make a significant impact on the outcome of a match. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, mastering various serving styles and techniques is essential to help you become a more effective and confident server on the volleyball court.

Diverse players practicing serves on a beach at sunset
Diverse players practicing serves on a beach at sunset

Key Takeaways: 

  • Serving is a fundamental skill in volleyball and is your first chance to take control of the game.
  • Understand the different types of serves, like underhand and overhand, and practice them.
  • There are various types of serves in volleyball, each with its pros and cons.
  • Choose the right serve, focus on consistency, develop a routine, work on toss placement, and use the right hand position.
  • Generate power using your core and legs for effective serves.
  • Vary your serves and aim for target areas.
  • Stay calm under pressure and communicate with your teammates.
  • Professional volleyball serves are characterized by power, speed, topspin, variation, accuracy, and consistency, with a focus on strategic placement and inducing pressure on the opponents.

Types of Volleyball Serves 

Here are various types of serves in volleyball. These volleyball serving techniques offer a range of options for players to choose from, each with its own advantages and challenges. Let’s see what proper volleyball serve out of different types of serves suit your style; 

Underhand Volleyball Serve:

So, what is underhand serve in volleyball? The underhand serve is one of the foundational and most popular serve technique in volleyball. It’s perfect for beginners and offers control. 

To perform it, stand behind the end line, hold the ball in one hand, swing the other arm in an underhand motion, and send the ball over the net. While it’s relatively easy to learn, this serve is predictable and may lack power. 

It’s commonly used for a controlled start to a rally and is excellent for new players to develop their serving skills.

  • Pros: Easy for beginners, offers control.
  • Cons: Predictable and may lack power.

Overhand Volleyball Serve:

Overhand serve in volleyball is a more advanced serve. It involves striking the ball with an overhead motion. Variations, including topspin, float, and jump serves, provide versatility. 

Overhand serves offer more power and can be unpredictable, making them suitable for experienced players. However, achieving accuracy and consistency with this serve requires practice and skill. 

It’s often used strategically to challenge the opponent’s reception and disrupt their offensive play.

  • Pros: Offers more power and versatility, can be unpredictable.
  • Cons: Requires skill and practice to master.

Jump Float Volleyball Serve:

A powerful serve with a running start and a mid-air “float” technique, making the ball move erratically. The jump float serve is an advanced and powerful serve. 

It involves a running start, a mid-air “float” technique, and creates erratic ball movement. This unpredictability makes it challenging for opponents to receive effectively. 

To master this serve, a player needs good timing and jumping ability. It is a serve often seen in high-level play and is known for its ability to put immense pressure on the receiving team.

  • Pros: High speed and unpredictability make it challenging for receivers.
  • Cons: Demands good timing and jumping ability.

Skyball Volleyball Serve:

A high, floating serve that reaches a high point and descends steeply, creating difficulties for receivers. The skyball serve is one of the most unique serves in volleyball. 

It features a high, floating trajectory that reaches a zenith before descending steeply. This creates difficulties for receivers due to its unpredictable flight path. 

While it’s hard to predict and can disrupt the opposing team’s rhythm, it’s also one of the most challenging serves to master. Its effectiveness is highly reliant on the server’s ability to execute it consistently.

  • Pros: Hard to predict and can disrupt the opposing team’s rhythm.
  • Cons: Challenging to master, prone to errors.

Hybrid Volleyball Serve:

The hybrid serve is a versatile technique that combines elements from different types of serves. This serve type combines elements of different serves, involving variations in spin, speed, and direction to confuse opponents. 

It involves variations in spin, speed, and direction, designed to confuse opponents. This serve is unpredictable and challenging to receive, making it a preferred choice for experienced players.

 It can be an effective tool to keep opponents on edge, but executing it requires a high level of skill and precision. 

  • Pros: Unpredictable and versatile, difficult to receive.
  • Cons: Requires a high level of skill and precision.

Floater Volleyball Serve:

What is float serve in volleyball? Floater serve in volleyball reduces spin on the ball, causing it to move unpredictably, making it challenging for receivers. The floater serve is designed to reduce spin on the ball, causing it to move unpredictably. 

This makes it difficult for receivers to handle the ball effectively. The lack of spin results in an unpredictable trajectory, challenging opponents. However, this serve can be inconsistent, as it relies heavily on the server’s precise technique.

  • Pros: Floater in volleyball is an unpredictable ball movement, hard to handle.
  • Cons: Can be inconsistent, requiring precise technique.

Sidearm Volleyball Serve:

In side arm volleyball serve, the server swings their arm in a sidearm motion to strike the ball. The sidearm serve involves a distinctive sidearm motion, where the server swings their arm to strike the ball. 

It offers excellent control and is particularly useful for serving short, precise balls. While it may lack the power of other serves, it’s still an effective option when executed with precision. 

The sidearm serve is less commonly used but can be a valuable tool for tactical play in specific situations.

  • Pros: Offers control, useful for short, precise serves.
  • Cons: May lack power, relatively easier to predict.

Volleyball Serving Tips

Serving is a crucial aspect of volleyball, as it initiates each rally and can have a significant impact on the game’s outcome. Here are some essential tips for effective volleyball serving:

Coach explaining serving techniques to players with a whiteboard
Coach explaining serving techniques to players with a whiteboard

1. Choose the Right Serve:

Understand the different types of serves, such as the underhand, overhand, topspin, float, jump serve, or hybrid. Select the one that best suits your skills and the situation.

2. Focus on Consistency:

Consistency is key in serving. Work on a reliable toss and contact point to ensure you can place the ball where you intend, reducing errors.

3. Develop a Routine:

Establish a pre-serve routine. This can include bouncing the ball a specific number of times, taking a deep breath, and visualizing your serve.

4. Toss Placement:

A precise toss is essential. Ensure your toss is consistent and slightly in front of you to make it easier to attack the ball.

5. Hand Position:

For overhand serves, maintain a firm hand position. For a topspin serve, contact the lower half of the ball; for a floater, contact the center; and for a jump serve, contact the top half.

6. Generate Power:

Engage your core and legs to generate power in your serve. For overhand serves, use a smooth arm swing and a high point of contact.

7. Vary Your Serves:

Don’t become too predictable. Mix up your serves with different types and placements to keep your opponents guessing.

8. Aim for Target Areas:

Target areas that are difficult for the opposing team to receive, such as short serves, deep serves, or serves to the corners.

9. Stay Calm:

Keep your composure, even under pressure. Confidence in your serving can make a significant difference.

10. Communication:

Communicate with your teammates to coordinate your serves and set up an effective defensive strategy.

11. Watch Your Opponents:

Pay attention to your opponents’ weaknesses and tendencies, and adjust your serves accordingly.

12. Practice Regularly:

Consistent practice is the best way to improve your serving skills. Work on different types of serves and situational serving.

Remember, serving is not just about power but also about placement and strategy. By mastering the various aspects of serving and incorporating these tips, you can become a more effective server and contribute significantly to your team’s success in volleyball.

Rules for Serving in Volleyball

Referee indicating a serving fault during a volleyball game
Referee indicating a serving fault during a volleyball game

1. Service Area: The server must stand behind the end line within the service area to serve.

2. Serve Rotation: Players rotate in a clockwise manner before serving. Each player has a specific rotation position.

3. Contact: The server must hit the ball cleanly, not allowing it to touch any part of their body or clothing.

4. Over the Net: The serve must clear the net and land in the opponent’s court.

5. Faults: Common faults include stepping on or over the service line, serving out of turn, and foot fault.

6. Service Order: The order of serving follows the rotational sequence, and service order is essential.

7. Serving Errors: Serving errors include foot faults, serving out of turn, and not hitting the ball cleanly.

8. Let Serve: If the served ball touches the net but still clears it and lands in the opponent’s court, it’s a “let serve” and is re-served.

9. Positioning: Both feet must remain inside the court or directly on the sideline when serving.

10. Service Result: A successful serve that lands in the opponent’s court is in play, while errors result in points for the opposing team.

Professional Volleyball Serve

A professional volleyball serve is an advanced and highly skilled serve performed by experienced and competitive volleyball players at the professional level. It typically includes several key characteristics:

1. Power and Speed: 

Professional serves are known for their speed and power. These players generate significant velocity on the ball, making it challenging for opponents to receive and return.

2. Topspin: 

Topspin serves are common at the professional level. Players use a wrist snap and a strong, topspin motion to add spin to the ball. This spin helps control the trajectory and placement of the serve.

3. Varation: 

Professional servers often employ various types of serves, including jump serves, jump float serves, and jump spin serves. They can mix up their serves to keep opponents guessing and off-balance.

4. Accuracy: 

While power is essential, professional servers also maintain a high level of accuracy. They can target specific areas of the court or exploit the opponent’s weaknesses with precision.

5. Consistency: 

Professional players are consistent in their serves, reducing errors and double faults. They can repeatedly deliver high-quality serves throughout a match.

6. Strategic Placement: 

Professional servers strategically place their serves to disrupt the opponent’s offense and defense. This includes targeting weak receivers, serving to the seams between players, or aiming for the back corners of the court.

7. Pressure: 

Professional serves are designed to put pressure on the receiving team. They force quick decisions and may result in overpasses or aces.

8. Variability: 

The ability to change up serves by adjusting the speed, spin, and direction is crucial at the professional level. This variability keeps opponents on edge and prevents them from settling into a rhythm.

Video credit: Dennis Jackson


Mastering volleyball serving techniques is crucial, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player. Different serves offer unique advantages, but consistency, precise toss placement, and effective communication are key. Professional-level serving demands power, speed, topspin, and strategic accuracy. In all cases, serving is not just about power but also about placement and strategy, contributing significantly to your team’s success on the volleyball court.


How to serve in volleyball for beginners? 

Beginners in volleyball should start by practicing the underhand serve, which is the most straightforward technique. Stand behind the end line, toss the ball in the air, and use an underhand motion to strike it over the net. Focus on consistency and gradually move on to more advanced serves as you gain confidence.

How many types of serves are there in volleyball?

There are several types of serves in volleyball, including the underhand serve, overhand serve (which includes topspin, float, and jump serves), jump float serve, skyball serve, hybrid serve, floater serve, and sidearm serve. Each of these serves offers unique advantages and challenges.

What is a kick serve in volleyball?

In volleyball, a “kick serve” is not a common or recognized term for a serve. It’s possible that the term might be used informally or regionally to describe a particular style of serve, but it’s not a standard or widely accepted serve technique in the sport.

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