An ace in volleyball is a serve which lands in the opponent's court without being touched, or is touched, but unable to be kept in play by one or more receiving team players.
The "float serve" is one type of serve that tends to get many aces.
It's like a knuckleball in baseball. There are certain serves that just die. Or they rise up and hit you.
There's a lot to marvel at when watching volleyball. But never underestimate the importance of the serve.
The game is often won and lost based on serving.
If the serve receiver gets a good pass to her setter, allowing the team to be in system with its offense, then the serving team loses its advantage.
Serving is important because you're aiming to get teams out of system. You have such a big advantage when their setter is on the run.
The topspin serve is another type of serve that can be difficult to pass. The player tosses the ball with spin and hits it with her whole hand, similar to how she would spike at the net. With the float serve, she tosses the ball without spin, then hits with the palm of her hand in more of a pushing or popping motion.
Topspin are more predictable in flight; receiving them is usually more like a dig. With float serves, the ball can rise on you at the last second, or it can dive, or go side to side. So that makes it hard.
There are also hybrid types of serves that mix elements of both.
For a jump serve, you could toss it like I would a float serve, but then try to snap over the top of it to add topspin.
And there are different ways to toss the ball on the serve. Some topspin jump servers who want a lot of power and speed use the same hand for the toss -- which they try to get very high in the air -- as they do for the hit. Others use their opposite hand for the toss, while some use both hands to toss.
It's really about what's comfortable and repeatable, while also being effective.
The key is to strive to have the same routine and rhythm when serving.
A sample routine might be... bounce the ball three times, spin it, hold it, take a breath, and then serve.
"Serving is definitely a mental game, just like free throw shooting. Anyone can serve a ball into a 30-by-30-foot space, but it's about how do you do it well?" - Wisconsin middle blocker Dana Rettke
You might be thinking, "Just get it in!" But if you send over a cupcake, you'll be eaten alive.
Servers need a "go-for-it" mentality to be successful.
To be on the court you need to make big plays.
When teams get on serving runs, it can change the entire complexion of a match.
Just think of those situations when you're grinding out one point at a time and not thinking, 'We've got to get a whole lot more points here to win than they do.
Are you the type of player that feels heavy pressure when serving or do you see it as an opportunity for when you have the ball, you have control of the timing? You have control of everything in that moment.
All the eyes are on you. It's a cool time.
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