April 9, 2020

Serving Footwork Question

My daughter has been playing club volleyball for about 3 years.  This year she has come across a team where she is the black sheep.  

Up until this year she never knew her footwork was not right while serving.  However her serves have always been one of her strongest attributes in her game.  She is a right handed server and she steps w her right foot.  Not once has she ever had a problem w getting her balls to get over.  Last years team which was at another well known club she was known for her serves by other teams and they would be scared when it was her time to serve.  

However this year her coaches won’t let her serve cause of her footwork cause she can’t nail starting with the left foot.  I just want to know is it illegal?  Will she get carded?  Will the team get docked?  I know the footwork isn’t right but will this effect the team in any way?  Or are there servers anywhere else who have gotten anywhere that have just had backwards footwork? 

I just want my daughters confidence to come back.

A sad mom 


While the most important part of serving is getting the ball over the net and in the court, it is also best to have good technique for physical health - Let me expand.

Your daughter is using 'goofy foot' or backwards footwork when she swings (it is not illegal, there is no rule regarding any type of footwork).  When a right handed hitter's last step is with their right foot, this places extra stress upon their right shoulder.  This because the right step being last, rotates the hitter's right side torso toward the front and the only way they can generate enough power to attack is to use only the shoulder muscles.  

When footwork is correct and the final step is with the left foot, this results in the left side starting at the front and the attack shoulder starting at the rear.  When the attack shoulder starts at the rear, the torso is able to rotate and provide support/power to the shoulder during the serving/attacking motion.  

For one incorrect footwork and swing, there won't be a physical issue, but over the course of a season of matches and practices, the shoulder can start to fatigue and fatigue can translate into tendonitis and/or rotator cuff issues.

I would be curious to know what her attacking footwork is like?  Is she also 'goofy-foot' when she hits?  I have seen a few collegiate players, who served a jump float, use backwards footwork.  

As to the coach - Some coaches are maniacs about correct technique while others view the result of the play as primary.  A parent or player is not going to change the training/coaching philosophy of a volleyball coach - these coaching philosophy changes usually occur during long losing streaks and heavy drinking.

Because of COVID 19, this club volleyball season is done for the majority of teams - We all hope that a few National Qualifiers can be rescheduled and the summer National Championship events will happen.  This means that the negative situation that your daughter finds herself in, is about done.

For next club season, select a club that won't mandate the serve footwork/technique which your daughter is not comfortable using. This is part of the club selection process - She needs to communicate with a club during tryouts that she has a very good serve but uses backwards footwork.

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