Serving with Purpose (2:22)

Serving should be used as an opportunity to figure out your opponents strength and weaknesses. Think of serving as a way of attacking your opponent and use your serve to help get your team in a position to score in transition.

Serving is the only skill in volleyball where you have complete control over where and how you send the ball to the opponent.

By being smart with your serve, you will put pressure on your opponent and help your team be in a better position to make plays on defense.

Important Point: The main goal of running an offense is to execute an effective attack. To attack the ball well, the hitter needs to be near the net when attacking the ball. This means the ball needs to be set to the net (or at least near the net). So for serve receive, it's best for the ball to be passed up to the net.

So, what does this mean for serving?

If you are able to get your serve deep, this will make it more difficult for the opponent to get the ball passed to the net.

You want to always come up with a strategy for how you want to serve a team.

Is the left side player a better hitter than the right side player? Maybe serve the weaker hitter to try and force them to have to be the one that hits.

Is the left side player the weaker setter? Maybe force the better setter to pass so the weaker setter is forced to set.

Communication is also important in beach volleyball.

When receiving the serve, there is a lot going on. For example, as the ball is being served, both players need to be ready to:

1) pass


2) start moving toward the net to get in position to set.

Decisions have to be made very quickly because this is all happening very fast.

When you serve, if you aim to place the serve between teammates, this will challenge the team to communicate.

If you are ever having trouble coming of with a serving strategy, go ahead and send the ball between teammates.

Some hitters prefer to attack from the outside and not middle. If this is the case, serve to the middle of the court. This will force the hitter to pass from the middle then take a lot of steps to get in position to approach near the outside.

On the other hand, if the hitter prefers to hit middle, then don't serve to the middle of the court.

So, you can see it can be an effective strategy to focus on making your opponent do what they DON'T want to do.

Key Points:

  • Serving deep could be an effective strategy for keeping the offense attack off the net.
  • Short serves can be challenging for taller and slower athletes.
  • Different types of players have different strengths and weaknesses. Always test your opponent to figure out what works.
  • Serving between teammates can challenge communication and a breakdown in serve receive.
  • If a hitter likes to hit outside, serve them to the middle of the court.
  • If a hitter prefers to hit middle, serve them down the line (short or deep).

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