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Teaching Overhand Serves

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Ok so I'm a first time coach and most of the girls are having trouble serving over hand. They keep wanting to fist it, but if they don't, it doesn't go anywhere. It has no power in it. How can I teach them to serve with an open palm??? I am an experienced volleyball player but not so good at helping them serve.... ahhhh!!

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Funny you should ask. I just spent a fair portion of today's practice working with 7th graders new to volleyball trying to help them with overhand serves. Here's what worked "today": when told that "I can't hit it hard unless I use a fist" I had them hold the ball in front of themselves at about waist height and "pound it !" into the floor - like many players do as a tension release prior to serving. After they have fisted it a few times (if they use a fist) I then ask them to first, shape their hitting hand to the ball and think of it as a Claw - firm but not stiff -, then, as they raise their hitting hand, ask them to cock their wrist back and try to hit the ball with the heel of their hand first, then snap their "claw hand" back into the ball. I explain to them that as they get better, not only will they gain more power in their hitting, but that it will also transfer to ball control when spiking.

Let them "pound" the ball awhile - it's fun to really slug it - then ask them to try that hit over the net, starting at one attack line and hitting it hard over the net. Don't let them worry right now about where the ball goes, only that it is hit hard. After you start getting that "thunk" sound of a solid hit, then start adjusting their toss or armswing plane to get better direction and depth control.

The other, and maybe more powerfull remedy is to have them watch older players - the Olympics was a Great training film - serve. Ask them how many of those players served using their fist???

Hope you get more suggestions.

Let us know how it goes (or doesn't go:)


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to further extend on the great advice fmfjohn gave you.

Once you have them in the habit of pounding the ball open handing (tension technique). The easiest method for progression is commonly referred to as

the Bow and arrow method. The serving arm draws back with the elbow high just above shoulder, the hand moves past the ear. The toss is made, they take

one step forward and then they complete the cycle by hitting (or smacking when first starting) the toss. At this stage emphasize a toss that is high as

a basketball rim.

Post back, let us know how it goes

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