During a recent volleyball class that I taught, I was surprised to learn that several of my adult students didn’t know the six zones of of the volleyball court. This is a vital piece of information for formulating your serving strategy, so I thought it was time to cover it here.
Basically, there is one zone per player on the court; they correspond to the positions that players would be in if there were no stacking or moving around to get into different serve receive, offensive and defensive formations.
Zone 1 is the server (see the diagram above), and the zones then move around the court counter clockwise in the order that players would serve. So in the diagram above zone 2 is on the right side of the court close to the net; this would be the next server after the team rotates.
So, what does that mean for your serving technique? First of all you need to be comfortable serving to any and all of these zones. You should be able to systematically pick apart your opponent’s serve receive no matter how they set their passers up, and you can only do so if you’ve got variety in your arsenal.
I recommend putting hula hoops, boxes, or volleyball baskets in each of the six zones and trying to hit each one 3-5 times in a row.
Choosing which zone to serve to can sometimes be a matter of simple physics: the shorter distance the ball goes before it must be passed, the more difficult it is for the passer.
If you serve straight down the line (from zone 1 on your side to zone 5 on your opponent’s side, for example), the ball has a much shorter distance to travel than if you served all the way across the court (your zone 1 to their zone 1). Shorter distance means less time to react and communicate, which can mean more passing errors.
That’s why short serves tend to cause teams so many problems — although they have to travel on a higher arc to get over the net, they still go a relatively short distance, making it difficult to get to them in time.
So, today’s take away: learn to serve to all six zones now, and you’ll be picking apart your opponent’s defense in no time.
For more serving tips, check out these other posts:
Photo courtesy of Flickr.