Types of Serves in Volleyball

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Have you ever wondered why a volleyball moves side to side when you serve it, but it has no rotation (float serve) or why it suddenly drops when you serve it with top spin (top spin serve)? When the ball has topspin, it is because when you make contact, you snap your wrist and you follow all the way through with ur arm. This allows the air to easily move around the ball, causing it to keep its spin. As it spins, the air is pulled above it by its topspin movement. The gain of air above the ball, causes it to drop faster. When the ball floats, it is because you hit the ball with your open palm and your arm does not follow all the way through. The ball floats because the way you contact it causes no spin. The air cannot easily pass past the ball because the lack of spin causes the air to push against the ball. The force pushing the ball forward ,is pushing against the air, causing the ball to move side to side because it has no where else to go.

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How difficult a serve is to receive is mostly controlled by who experienced the server is. The motions of the ball from point A (you serving it) to point B (the ball landing on the other side of the court) are affected by the air pressure around the ball, how you make contact with it, and how aerodynamic it is. A topspin serve can be easier to return then a float, but it can also be much more difficult. If i topspin serve is served correctly then it will be moving very fast and just barely make it over the net. This very low, short drop is caused by the arm swing and wrist snap of the server. When the server does this properly he or she will throw the ball in the air with two hands so they may get their arm high, next to their ear and ready to swing. As the ball drops, the server will make a forward motion with their hand and contact the ball when it is right above their head, but also a little in front of them. When they make contact, They will snap their wrist to put the spin an the ball. Then they will continue this forward arm motion, following all the way through until their serving hand is by their hip. If done correctly, the volleyball will advance towards the other side of the court, starting at a high arc, but the topspin caused by the wrist snap and follow through will force the ball to drop short on the other side of the net. This sudden drop can make the topspin serve a very difficult serve to return, but when used multiple times, it can become very predictable.

The other type of serve that is very common but can still be a struggle to return is the float serve. The float serve starts just like the topspin serve, but instead of contacting in and snapping your wrist, you keep your hand flat and open wide, as if you were giving the volleyball a high-five. Next your arm will not follow all the way through to your hip, but will stop about halfway through. This lack of spin causes the air to slow the ball down. The abnormal amount of pressure on the ball cause it to move side to side, landing in a different spot every serve. This serve is very unpredictable due to its lack of control causing it to occasionally float right over the back line. From the receiver’s perspective, a float serve can look very easy to pass at first, but at the last second it could float to one side or the other, giving the other team an ace. In a volleyball game, serving is key, and if you know how to use these two serves properly, your chances of winning are so much higher. Control is the biggest part; knowing where your serve is going to land, and how you are going to serve it is the only way these serving methods will be of use to you. These two serves are very different, but also very similar in by how aggressive they are. Whether one is easier to return than the other, relies solely on the server and the tean receiving at the time. 

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Types of Serves in Volleyball. (2019, Mar 27). Retrieved December 9, 2022 , from

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