The float jump serve is the most difficult serve for opposing teams to pass and once you master the technique and form, you will find plenty of passers who have trouble receiving your serve.
What is a Float Serve?
A float serve is a type of jump serve in indoor and beach volleyball that seemingly "floats" over the net because of the lack of rotation as the ball travels. The goal of the serve is to minimize the spin of the ball after the server hits it, creating a knuckleball effect that makes it difficult to defend.
The serve is valuable because of its unpredictability in the air. As a defender gets in position to pass the ball, the lack of spin makes the ball move in different directions in the air. Back-row defenders have to adjust quickly as the ball floats toward them, leading to mishits and easy aces for the server.
A jump serve adds power and height compared to a standing serve, but there are several steps to follow to ensure that you are completing the jump serve correctly.
1) Stand A Few Paces Behind The Baseline
Go back to your serving position and don't change it up simply because you're doing a jump serve. If you normally serve from the right side of the court, serve from the right side. And vice versa. You don't want to completely change up your serve. Instead, you're looking to upgrade it.
Because a float serve isn't a traditional jump serve, the goal is not get a moving start and ferociously hit the ball while jumping through the air. Instead, you want to take a few steps towards the line and be controlled through the whole process so you can hit your target across the net.
2) Hold The Ball In Your Non-Dominant Hand
Place the ball in your off hand (the one you don't use to hit with) and make sure that you have enough room in front of you so that you won't cross over the line. Remember, the jump serve isn't about the distance you travel but trying to serve from the highest point to achieve a more favorable trajectory as the ball crosses the net.
3) Toss The Ball Up And Towards The Baseline
The first physical action of a jump serve is the toss. It is important to have a consistent toss and one of the first mistakes from athletes attempting to jump serve is tossing the ball too high.
The float serve is a quick serve and doesn't need to be tossed extremely high. The height will actually depend on your speed in your approach. Focus instead on lifting the ball up, not tossing it into the air, because you want it to have a predictable path before you launch to hit it.
4) Focus On Your Footwork Before Your Jump
The footwork for the serve is Left-Right-Left, which might be very similar to your attack when you hit front row. If you decide to do a 4-step approach then simply just add another step before the Left-Right-Left to make it Right-Left-Right-Left (usually if there is 4 steps the 1st step would be quite small). Keep your hips square and facing the direction that you wish to serve.
After the toss the ball should come down right in front of your nose as you jump, on your hitters side (not directly in the middle of your body).
5) Jump And Swing At The Middle Of The Ball
The goal of the float serve is to have great contact and little to no spin on the ball. Your swing then will be different than hitting the ball. Instead of following through during your swing you will contact the middle of the ball with the center of your palm, not your fingers, and finish strong.
It should almost look like you are "high-fiving" the volleyball with your hand looking like it is coming back towards you after contact with the ball.
5) Land On Two Feet, Ready To Play Defense
After the jump float you usually land on two feet, hips still square with plenty of time to immediately get in your defensive position and play volleyball, that is if the opponents could pass your serve!
Think you're ready to try it out! Check out these Virtual Events for Volleyball Athletes on GMTM:
The Volleyball Canada 2021 NEP Tryout offers Canadian athletes - ages 15 to 17 - to showcase their skills for national team coaches. Click here to view all of the events and learn if you are eligible to participate.
The Utica College Volleyball Visit allows volleyball recruits from the Class of 2021 and beyond to see behind the scenes of D-III volleyball program and introduce themselves to the coaching staff. Check out this great opportunity to earn your first collegiate Volleyball offer.