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Types of Volleyball Serves

Jump Serve, Topspin and Floater


SAPPORO, JAPAN - AUGUST 29: Mizuho Ishida of Japan serves during day two of the FIVB World Grand Prix Sapporo 2013 match between Japan and Brazil at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on August 29, 2013 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
Atsushi Tomura / Getty Images

There are three main types of serves in volleyball. Try them all to find out which one suits you best.


A float serve or a floater is a serve that does not spin. It is called a floater because it moves in unpredictable ways making it difficult to pass. A float serve catches the air and can move unexpectedly to the right or the left or it can drop suddenly.


A topspin serve does exactly that – spins rapidly forward from the top. The server tosses the ball a little higher, strikes the ball towards the top of the back in a down and outward motion and follows through with his or her swing. This serve has a much more predictable movement, but can be difficult to handle because of its quick speed.

Jump Serve

A jump serve utilizes an even higher toss that should be several feet in front of the server. The server uses more of an attack approach, jumps and strikes the ball in the air. The extra motion allows the server to put even more power on the ball and this can make for a very difficult serve to handle. The drawback is that all that extra motion can lead to a higher incidence of serving errors. Most jump serves have topspin on them, but it is possible to jump serve a floater.

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