In 1999 I watched Karch Kiraly playing at a World Tour event in Lignano, Italy. He was jump serving at about 60% for almost the whole game, and I couldn’t work out why? it looked like he was just rolling the ball at his opponents so they could smack it back at him.
Since then I have played a lot of beach, and played a couple of seasons indoor, and I now have a pretty solid theory on why the worlds greatest beach volleyballer would be hitting what seemed to be a 60% top spin serve at his opponents on the World Tour.
The bottom line is that hitting an effective serve is 90% placement, 10% power. Unless you have a cannon in your shoulder, (which I don’t) even your hardest serve, will be a pretty easy pass if it’s hit straight at your opponent.
On the other hand, a slow loopy jump serve right to a deep corner is very likely to produce a bad pass at the very least.
Here’s an idea for your next two weeks training.
Develop a 50% jump serve that goes in every time.
Use that server every time you hit a serve in training, even in drills where you are just serving for another guy to work on side out. (This will help you to find a comfortable speed to hit that ball that produces a reliable serve.)
Start to experiment with a deep roll, a short serve, deep cross corner, line corner, and anything else you can think of. Work on moving the passer rather than hitting aces.
Once you are happy that you can roll a jump serve in whenever you need to. (I.e. as consistently as a safe float serve) start experimenting with a little more pace and a flatter trajectory.
Things to remember:
- Keep the ball toss directly above your hitting shoulder
- Stay nice and relaxed, with a smooth arm swing
- Contact the ball as high as possible
- Don’t try to hit the ball hard, just focus on a clean contact. (Power will come easily once the timing is good)