I previously wrote Serving: Stand or Jump?. In that post I talked about the benefit of jumping vs. standing serves and shared some thoughts on when players should start to learn the jump. I don’t really want to rehash that here, as you can easily read it for yourself. Instead, let me take this space to make a plea,

For the love of all that’s good and right, if you’re coaching high school boys, at least teach them the jump float!

Please don’t make me watch anymore boys’ high school (or older age group juniors) matches featuring predominantly lollipop serves. It’s so painful! I don’t care if it’s ugly. I’ve seen some pretty funky stuff among even professional players. At least it shows me that work is going into developing it.

And don’t just work on it in training. Make sure they do it in matches. Don’t allow fear of mistakes – either on your part or theirs – to keep them on the ground. It only hampers their development.

By the way, having to face tougher serves in practice will only help your passing get better as well.

Yes, I know the players will make more mistakes in their learning process – probably a lot more. And yes, that can negatively impact the games and drills you use in practice. There are ways to mitigate that, however, such as using the tennis serve concept.

Note, I’m using boys here not because I don’t think girls should or need to learn to float serve. They do, and my same view applies to them. I think that as soon as an athlete has the strength to serve the ball deep into the opposing court – which comes a bit quicker for boys, generally – they are well positioned to learn to jump serve.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    2 replies to "Ditch the standing serve!"


      Well we ‘finally’ have a difference of philosophy! jajajajajaja
      More jumping? I’m not keen on adding more jumping to the athletes than what they already do. Most clubs do not have a conditioning program where they can focus on the joints.
      I get the ‘lollipop’s server as I’m definitely not a fan. I train and encourage my athletes to serve flat and to the opposite endline if not jump serving. I have a RADAR Speed device where I measure their serving speed. We find what speed the athlete can serve and improve this with control to the endline. We accept that there are going to be service errors, but they should adjust on the next serve just a little higher if serving into the net or take some power off going to the endline. We train corner to corner to give more court to serve.

      • John Forman

        Kelly – I agree on the jump monitoring, though more so if we’re talking top spin serves. Float serve jumps are generally low intensity (though we do need to teach good landing technique to avoid excessively hard landings). That said, I put a lot of focus on serving, so I’m going to look for opportunities to cut down on unneeded jumping (and swinging) in other areas of training to allow sufficient opportunity for serve development.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.