An ace serve is the most common way a player can earn a point for their team all by themselves. Being able to serve aces consistently can take a lot of practice and strategy. In this article, we will explain how to get an ace serve and some strategies you can use to become more consistent with aces.
What Counts As An Ace In Volleyball?
An ace in volleyball happens when a point is directly scored by the service of the ball. An ace occurs when the ball goes untouched or is shanked off the passer making a second hit impossible.
The four ways a serve is counted as an ace are:
- The serve strikes the opponents court untouched
- The serve is passed by the opponent but can’t be kept in play
- A violation on the opponent is called by the referee (lift, double hit, etc.)
- The receiving team is out of rotation
The most common way an ace is scored is by the ball going untouched by the opponent and hitting the floor. It’s always a good idea to watch the court for those empty spots that players are leaving open and aim for those when trying to make an ace serve.
Making an ace serve isn’t easy but can be done with some practice. In the next section, we will discuss some strategies you can use to help you become an ace server. It’s also a good idea to discuss with your coach some ways to become a better server.
What Kind Of Serves Are Best For Aces?
Being a consistent server is very important in volleyball. If you are consistent at serving it sets your team up for success by ensuring that the ball is going to be in play. Before moving on to specialty serves, make sure that you are consistent with the traditional overhand serve first.
When you are consistently serving the ball over the net, your coach may teach you some serves that are good for scoring aces. Below we will go over these serves that have proven to be effective. Many players have used them and have scored aces several times.
The float serve is a serve where the ball doesn’t spin. This makes it difficult for the opposing team to make a good pass on serve receive. The float serve is unpredictable. It can drop abruptly or even go left or right. If you can get consistent at this serve, it will give you a definite advantage to serving an ace.
The Topspin serve is when the server attacks the ball by snapping their wrists. This allows the ball to spin and dive to the floor after crossing the net. When using this serve, you will want to aim at a target and be sure to control your strength so that the ball stays inbound.
The jump serve is very popular in volleyball. This serve looks like a back-row attack with an approach on the ball. Be sure to give yourself enough room behind the serving line to approach the ball for the attack. A jump float serve requires the server to toss the ball after their approach. A topspin serve requires the server to toss the ball before their approach.
Like with any skill, serving aces requires a lot of practice. The more you practice, the more consistent you will become and the more points you will earn for your team.
How Does Spot Serving Help With Aces?
When trying to serve an ace, having a target on the court to serve to is important. You don’t want to just go up to the line and serve the ball carelessly without thinking. This can lead to your team losing the serve very quickly.
Spot serving the ball will give you a goal as to where to place the ball on the court. If you know where the ball is going, you are more likely to hit your target and get an ace.
Many times, coaches will see a weak spot on the court and signal to their players which spot to serve the ball. They will show the player a number which corresponds with a position on the court. If they see a weak spot between two positions, they will flash two numbers to the player indicating to serve it between those positions.
Sometimes, playing a serving game will help players learn to spot serve with greater accuracy.
How To Avoid An Ace In Volleyball?
When you are on the receiving end of an ace serve, that is not as much fun as serving an ace. But it does feel good when you make a successful pass on a tough serve. In this section we will give you some tips on how to avoid an ace serve.
Spread your arms
When in serve receive position, stand with your arms spread apart not together. If you must run to the ball, you are much faster running with arms apart than together. It will also give you better ball control by not running and passing at the same time. You will have to stop and pass allowing the ball to have more control.
After you are done running to the ball, put out your platform to pass. This will allow you to get your feet balanced as well. Your feet and arms should be facing the target where you want the ball to go. Push the ball with your arms by following through to your target. Be sure not to swing your arms as this is a good way to shank the ball.
Focus on the ball in the server’s hand not on their face. Focusing on the ball will help you follow it into your arms for the pass. Keep your eyes on the ball as it comes over the net. When it does come over the net, follow the ball into your arms. Find your target and pass the ball to them.
Shift your body weight from foot to foot when waiting for the ball. This will help your body move quicker to the ball when it comes over the net. Touching the floor with your hand when you are in position will help keep you low to the ground therefore making it easier to move.
Work on drills that speed up your feet and agility. Get behind the ball quickly to give yourself plenty of time to form your platform and make a good pass. The faster you can get to the ball, the better your pass will be. Working on making your feet quicker will help your passes be more effective.
You can use the pancake pass when you are almost to the ball, but you know you will not be able to reach it unless you go to the ground and stretch out your arm. In this pass, players put their hand on the court flat like a pancake and the ball bounces of the back of their hand. This requires diving onto the court and stretching out to retrieve the ball. To learn more about the pancake check out our article The Pancake In Volleyball.
Serving an ace in volleyball is a great feeling and helps your team tremendously. With practice you will become more consistent and earn more points. Remember to work with your coach on strategies that will improve your serve. If you put in the hard work and are willing to be coachable, you will be a successful ace server.
If you are new to volleyball, be sure to read Volleyball Tips For Beginners. It is a great place to begin learning the basics. If you are planning on trying out for a team, read How To Prepare For Volleyball Tryouts.