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How well you receive the serve impacts the rest of the play.
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A serve receive is one of the most important plays in a volleyball game and can quickly show your opponents your skill level on the court. According to "Volleyball Skills and Drills," the serve receive is the most critical part of an offensive plan, and learning how to anticipate and react to a serve is a key element to staying on top. If you play the serve correctly, you can more effectively transition into offense to give your team the advantage. Several drills to improve your serve receive focus on this vital skill.
Serve Receive Transition
The serve receive transition drill teaches players to shift from serve to receive to hitting. To practice the drill, have five players on each side of the net; three are passers, one is a setter and one is a server. After the ball is served, one of the passers passes it to the setter, who sets the ball for that passer. That player then moves to the net for the hit. Alternate serves and make sure that each passer has an opportunity to perform the drill, which is particularly helpful in teaching players to set up for their offense for scoring.
Serve Receive with Immediate Return
This drill also works on transitions, using six to eight players. On one side, three players act as passers, with one setter and one attacker as well. On the other side of the net, two or three players are servers. The ball is served and once it's attacked, the coach throws in a free ball, which the attacking side must transition into play and then quickly recover to receive another serve. A variation to make this drill even more challenging is to add blockers to the serving side. The coach can throw a ball to the blockers to attack back at the receivers.
A pass target drill helps players practice receiving as well as passing on target. Have players line up in two lines at the back of court, with one or two setters by the net. Two other players will serve to each line from the other side of the net. After each serve, the player at the beginning of each line will receive, trying to pass to the target, which is the setter by the net. After the passer receives, she moves to setter position and the setter goes to the back of the line for a continuing rotation of passers and setters.
The overhead passing drill forces players to make a quick decision on whether to do an overhead or forearm pass after receiving the serve. To do it, have three hitters line up on one side of the net, and three passers take the other side, in line with their opposing hitter. A target for the passers takes position near the net, and the first hitter hits a down ball -- similar to a serve, but the hitter is closer to the net and does not jump -- to their opposite passer. The passer then uses a forearm or overhead pass to get the ball to the target, and then the next hitter/passer pair do the drill.