April 23, 2015

Overhand Serving Question

I must preface that I am not crazy and/or super competitive   I coach an 11U team and I don't want to pressure the girls during their serve as I know it will only make it harder for them..  We are working on consistent overhand serves for all of our players.  After working with 9 of them all season, I still have two that continue to contact the ball with a bent elbow and more under the ball than behind it.  These two are also do not swinging nearly fast enough to get the ball over.
I am writing to you because I have no idea to how to make them "reach higher and swing faster".  I think my head will explode if I say it more one time.  Please give me some pointers as a coach.  I really want to help them as they both love the game.  They have worked so hard and  I want them to experience success before they start to give up.

Overhand serving is a challenge and I believe is mandated too early for volleyball players.  The most important detail of serving, is to serve the ball in, especially at a young age.  Forget winning and losing, serving the ball in allows for rallies which means more touches on the ball for the VolleyMini's. (side note……just invented a new term for this website referencing the young, young, knee pads wider than their legs young players……VolleyMini's!!!).

Each person physically develops according to their DNA stamp, and no matter how much coaching, video, carbohydrates, yoga or pushups they do, overhand serving is not going to happen this year or next.

Three suggestions, which you may already employing:

1)  Ensure they can serve the ball in via an underhand or sidearm serve; simply because this puts the ball in play and allows VolleyMini's to get better.

2)  In practice, shorten the service line to 20 feet for them to practice succeeding with an overhand serve - When they get 20', then take it so 23', etc., etc.  This will allow them to keep good form, while building up the mental confidence to serve the ball in with an overhead serve.

3)  Develop their arm speed by having them play catch with their folks (or each other) using a Nerf football.  In college, we had our players which were rehabbing from shoulder surgery, throw a Nerf football as a means of redeveloping their arm speed.  You have to have good armswing technique to throw a Nerf football because the ball will flutter and not fly, with poor technique.  As they get proficient throwing a Nerf, then switch to a smaller sized leather football because it will be heavier, but will still fit in their hands.  With both the Nerf and the leather football, the players will need to throw the ball hard/fast to make it spiral and travel the necessary distance, which will result in a faster armswing!

My advice is geared towards them learning to successfully serve and your head not successfully exploding!

Good luck!

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