The one skill in volleyball you execute by yourself with no reliance on others or reaction to on-going play is serving. It should be easy, but that’s not always the case. Every player needs to be able to serve consistently. If you are struggling with that, here are three things that can help.
1) Give yourself a consistent toss
Nothing causes more missed serves than bad tosses. To be a good server, whether you are standing or jumping, you must be able to toss the ball consistently. One way to help that toss be in the right place every time is to make it as simple as you can. Reduce unnecessary movement and only toss the ball as high as you absolutely need it to go – no higher. Doing so minimizes the chances of tossing the ball away from where it should be, which is in line with your hitting shoulder. If you toss it left or right of that your serves will tend to go in that direction, and not straight as you’d like. So practice your toss.
2) Pick a target
Serving is a proactive activity and should be done with intent. At higher levels players are instructed to serve specific opposing players or locations on the court in an effort to go for aces or to put the other team under pressure. Even at lower levels, though, picking a target is a good way to get focused in a positive fashion about your serve. It helps you visualize your serve and gives you something better to think about than “get the ball in”. Much better to be proactive than hopeful.
3) Take your time
I see so many players serve as soon as the whistle blows, rushing their serves needlessly. This tends to lead to mistakes. Much better to take your time and get yourself focused. You have several seconds after the whistle blows, so relax. This is especially important after a long or important rally. Give yourself time to take a breath, pick your target, and visualize the serve going right where you want it.
There are other aspects of serving which I could mention here, but these three are the ones in my experience I have found to have the biggest impact on most players’ serving. That’s why even with my collegiate players you will hear me in practice getting them focused on these focal points. They will take you a long way toward getting the consistent serving you desire.