Volleyball Drills to Become a Better Server

Championship volleyball begins with solid serving. STACK Expert and former collegiate volleyball player Sarah Coffey offers three drills players can use in practice to improve their serve.

Volleyball Serve

Championship volleyball begins with solid serving. It's imperative to have players who can serve directly to all locations on the court to take advantage of an opponent's weaknesses.

Serving can be challenging during crunch time, so it's important to master the basics during practice. Here are some tips on types of serves and three serving drills you can perform during practice.

Sprint & Serve

This drill allows players to build endurance by sprinting and then rushing to the end line to serve (similar to a live game). The drill can also be used for conditioning or for warm-up before practice.

  • Team is split up on both sides of the net
  • Each player has a ball
  • When whistle is blown, the team chooses an area on the court from 1 to 6 (1 = right back, 2 = right front, 3 = middle front, 4 = left front, 5 = left back, and 6 = middle back)
  • Each player must serve the ball once to each location, sprinting to the other side of the net to retrieve the ball
  • Once every player has completed the task, the drill is over
  • Early finishers may continue to serve (while cheering on teammates) but do not have to sprint from side to side

Pressure Serving

This drill replicates a scenario in which a player has to serve under pressure, the focus of everyone's attention (spectators and players) in a tight game. If done correctly, the drill will eliminate the fear of missing a serve.

  • All players stand on the serving line on one side of the court
  • There are 2 rounds of serving
  • First round: each player must serve the ball in court. If one player misses, the entire team has a consequence (coach's choice—e.g., sprints, laps, Push-Ups), and the serving must start over from the beginning
  • Second round: each player must choose a spot and serve the ball directly to it. If a player misses, the same rules apply
  • Drill is complete when all servers have made their serves

Server vs. Passer

This drill improves serving and passing in a competitive environment while providing realistic repetitions.

  • Players form groups of three (server, passer, target)
  • Server stands at the end line in serving stance; passer stands directly across from server on other side of the net; and target stands in the middle next to the net (keeping score between server and passer)
  • Server must serve ball to passer
  • If serve is missed or is beyond a distance of one step from passer, no points are awarded
  • Passer must pass ball directly to target to receive a point
  • After 10 points are awarded to either the passer or server, players switch roles: target becomes server, passer becomes target, and server becomes passer.

Want more volleyball serving drills? Check out 3 Fun and Effective Volleyball Serving Drills.

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