A topspin serve is known for confounding opposition players. It’s an effective and easy way to have the edge in any volleyball game. Learning to perform this serve can advance your skills and value as a team member.
Let’s explore how you can achieve variations of this useful serve.
A topspin is pretty much what its name suggests. It is when the ball spins forward very quickly from its top. It is one of the three main kinds of serves in volleyball, and arguably the most popular.
This technique may be more predictable in its movements than others, but the rapid spin of its motion makes it a difficult one to catch and pass.
To achieve a topspin, you need to do the following:
- Throw the ball higher than usual.
- Position the hand in a curved, almost claw-like pre-posture.
- You must then hit the ball closer to the top with an outward and downward action.
- You can use the “wrist snap” technique as you hit the ball to get extra spin.
- Follow through with your arm swing.
There are a few different ways to perform the technique. The actions you make may vary depending on which one you are performing.
One way of doing a topspin serve is to stand still with your feet on the ground, placed a little apart for stability. Make sure you are positioned correctly. Then, throw the ball up higher than if you’re performing a floater action. Hit the ball near the top with your outward and downward motion, then follow it up with an arm swing.
This should give you the spin you need to successfully achieve the serve.
To do this effective method of serving, you’ll need to be quick and athletic. Throw the ball up high first, then jump up as high as you need to so you can perform your downward and outward strike of the ball.
Don’t forget to use the curved hand pre-position so you can hit the ball correctly and more effectively. You want the ball to make contact with the base of your middle finger. Remember to follow through with your swing. Much like the importance of follow-through in the physics of hitting in golf or baseball, follow-through is an important source of power in this technique.
Spiking is the action you perform to hit the ball hard and directly towards the ground, making it difficult for your opponents to get to.
There are three essential things to focus on when making this move, especially when you’re putting a topspin on it:
- Be sure to make contact with the ball with a vertical arm. This is when your arm is perpendicular to the ground. This pre-positioning helps you to create a more impactful spike. Get the serving arm close to your ear to achieve the best pre-positioning.
- Make contact by implementing the elbow to wrist arm technique.
- Hitting the ball at the top with your downward and outward action to get your topspin.
It’s best to work with a coach to achieve the ideal positioning and actions to do your spike effectively.
Catching and volleying a topspin serve can be quite a challenge — that’s why players use it in the first place.
That said, one thing about a topspin serve is that it typically heads in a straight, predictable direction, unlike a floater, for example.
To effectively receive, you need to be steady on your feet and well-grounded to receive the ball. Do workouts to strengthen your core to improve your balance. Aim to catch it in your belly-button area as this helps you to maintain balance when the high-speed, topspin serve hits you.
Don’t try to remain upright when you receive the ball, as the ball may then bounce straight back up. You want to allow your body to enclose around the ball as it reaches you.
Top tip: never jump up when catching a serve, as this can unbalance you. It also shows up slow footwork.
As you can see, learning to do a topspin serve has multiple benefits for your playing skills. There are many ways you can adapt the technique to different serving methods.
It may take a lot of focused practice to get comfortable with your topspin serve, but the effort will be well worth it!