Home » How to Get a Better Overhand Serve in Volleyball?

How to Get a Better Overhand Serve in Volleyball?

how to get a better overhand serve in volleyball

An effective overhand serve can be a game-changer in volleyball, allowing you to put your team on the front foot right from when the ball crosses the net. Here’s a comprehensive guide designed to help intermediate players elevate their overhand serve technique, ensuring more consistent and powerful serves.

The Importance of a Strong Overhand Serve

In volleyball, the serve is the only skill one player controls. A strong overhand serve can disrupt the opponent’s formation and put them under immediate pressure. Mastering this skill elevates your game and boosts your team’s performance.

Understanding Basic Techniques

Before we get into drills and personalized tips, let’s break down the fundamental components of an overhand serve:

Hand Positioning

  • Hold the Ball: Use your non-dominant hand to hold the ball, spreading your fingers evenly for better control.
  • Dominant Hand: Your dominant hand should be open, with the palm facing upward and fingers slightly bent, creating a platform to contact the ball.


  • Stance: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the ball in your non-dominant hand.
  • Release: Extend your non-dominant arm above your head and release the ball upward and forward.
  • Height: Aim for a consistent toss, about 1 to 2 feet above your striking hand’s maximum reach.


  • Weight Shift: Shift your weight onto your back foot as the ball peaks.
  • Swing: Swing your hitting hand forward and upward, making contact with the ball’s center.
  • Follow-through: Your arm should naturally extend fully in the direction you want the ball to go.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Hitting Too High or Low: This can cause the serve to go out or fall short.
  • It is not Fully Extended, which Leads to a need for more power.
  • Poor Follow-through: Affects both power and accuracy.

Improving Serving Accuracy and Power

Drills and Exercises

  1. Toss and Hit Drill:
  • Practice a consistent toss.
  • Focus on the contact point and follow through.
  1. Wall Serves:
  • Stand about 10 feet from a wall.
  • Practice serving, aiming for a specific spot to improve accuracy and power.
  1. Chair Serves:
  • Place a chair on the other side of the net.
  • Aim to serve the ball over it to encourage a higher toss and more powerful follow-through.
  1. Upper Body Strengthening:
  • Exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and shoulder presses build the necessary upper body strength for a more potent serve.
  1. Service Accuracy Game:
  • Set up targets on the opposite side of the court.
  • Challenge yourself to serve the ball into specific zones to improve accuracy and consistency.
  1. High Toss Drill:
  • Practice serving with an intentionally high toss.
  • Focus on timing and adjusting your approach to meet the ball at the optimal height.

Developing Consistency in Your Serving

Personalized Tips

  • Consistent Hand Contact:
  • Focus on snapping your wrist at the moment of contact to direct the ball accurately.
  • Improving Toss Technique:
  • Practice with a target area, aiming for a consistent height and distance in front of you.
  • Increasing Power:
  • Engage in upper body strengthening exercises.
  • Focus on transferring weight from your back to your front foot during the serve.
  • Improving Follow-through:
  • Visualize the path you want the ball to take.
  • Ensure your arm extends fully in that direction after contact.

Incorporating Proper Footwork and Body Position

  • Stance:
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart to maintain balance.
  • Weight Transfer:
  • Shift your weight smoothly from your back to your front foot during the serve.
  • Body Alignment:
  • Keep your body aligned toward your target to maximize accuracy.


How can I improve the consistency of my overhand serve?

Improving consistency requires a combination of proper technique and regular practice. Ensure your toss is steady and repeatable, as a consistent toss leads to more controlled servings. Practice specific drills aimed at maintaining uniform hand contact and follow-through. Additionally, build your muscle memory through repetition and focus on your body alignment throughout the serving process.

What should I do if my serves keep going out of bounds?

If your serves consistently go out of bounds, it could indicate issues with your toss, contact point, or follow-through. Pay attention to the height and position of your toss to ensure you’re meeting the ball at the right spot. Make sure you’re making contact with the center of the ball and snapping your wrist to drive it downward. Regular practice and drills targeting smaller zones on the opposite court can also improve your precision.

How can I get more power in my serves?

Powerful serves come from a combination of strength and technique. Focus on building your upper body strength through push-ups, pull-ups, and shoulder presses. Ensure you use your whole body during the serve by transferring weight from your back to your front foot and engaging your core muscles. A strong follow-through and proper wrist snap will also help increase the power of your serve.

What are some common mistakes when serving overhand?

Common mistakes include an inconsistent toss, poor hand contact with the ball, inadequate weight transfer, and incomplete follow-through. These issues can cause the server to lack power, accuracy, or height. Focus on refining each part of the serve technique individually to develop a more effective overall serve. Regularly evaluating and correcting your form is critical to avoiding these common mistakes.

How often should I practice to see improvement in my overhand serve?

Consistency is vital to any skill, mainly when serving in volleyball. Aim to practice your overhand serve several times weekly, incorporating various drills to improve accuracy, power, and consistency. Regular, focused practice sessions will help ingrain proper technique and build muscle memory, leading to noticeable improvements.


Focusing on these critical areas and incorporating specific drills and personalized tips into your practice routine can significantly improve your overhand serve. Remember, consistency is vital. Regular practice and a clear understanding of the fundamentals will make your service more robust and accurate.

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