Where to Serve
Published on November 11, 2010 by sprouticus · 1 Comment
Being able to serve to any zone on the court doesn’t do you any good if you don’t know where to aim. Here’s a handy guide to picking apart your opponent’s serve receive.
4-Person Serve Receive
I love serving against a team that runs this because there are so many opportunities for aces. See below for a reminder of what this serve receive looks like.
My favorites holes are:
- Deep corners – zone 1 or zone 5 works equally well. Because these serves go over the head of one passer it’s very likely that they will hesitate just long enough to confuse the deeper passer. For maximum effectiveness aim for a decently high arc on your serve so that the passer in the front can’t reach up and pass it overhand.
- Center of the court – Look at all those people standing around in a circle just waiting to mis-communicate about a pass. Dropping a really short serve into zone 3 is a very entertaining option.
- Seams – sending a hard-driven serve, either top-spin or float, into the seams between any two players will work well in this configuration. When you’re passing it feels like there are a lot of people around, so players tend to back away from passes when they shouldn’t.
3-Person Serve Receive
This arrangement really lets you pick on weaker passers. Most teams will either have each passer taking any serve in his/her lane (meaning everything in front or behind a passer is his/her responsibility) or they’ll have the two outside players taking shorter serves while the middle passer plays anything deep.
My favorite weaknesses to exploit:
- Weak passers – if you have a player who just missed a serve or a hit, is having a terrible passing day or isn’t quite paying attention, serve to them.
- Alternate short/long – this is great for lane setups because it forces a passer to play both short and long serves, meaning s/he can’t stay short and deep and be confident that’s where your serve is going.
- Deep corners – as with the four-person setup, a strong, deep serve will be effective here, particularly if the passers are using the latter arrangement where two players take short serves and one takes deep. Again, aim for enough height so that the player in the front of the court can’t take the serve overhand.
5-Person Serve Receive
You won’t see these very often at a high level, but in case you come across them you basically want to attack the seams (of which there are many). There will be a player standing on the seam between zones 3 and 6, and serving right over their heads in a reasonably high arc is probably my favorite shot against this serve receive.
Flat, fast serves are also effective since they don’t give players time to decide which of them will be taking the pass.
Remember, there is no mercy in serving, so don’t hesitate to exploit the weaknesses you find in your opponent’s serve receive pattern!
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Tags: how to serve a volleyball, volleyball serve, volleyball serving