How High Should a Volleyball Serve Go?
I attended the BYU women's volleyball yesterday and saw the Cougars, led by GMS advisory staff member Heather Olmstead, win their seventh West Coast Conference volleyball championship in the past eight seasons.
Because of Covid protocols, my assigned seat was up in the bleachers, exactly eye level with the antennas on both sides of the net. Towards the middle of the first set, I began paying attention to the height of each serve as it crossed over the net. I pulled out my clipboard and pen and began tracking BYU's serves for the remainder of the match.
The results, despite the small sample size, were not surprising. As a coach, I've always encouraged my players to "Serve under the top of the antennas." My high school team in 2020 had the most aces in the state of Utah and the second most aces in the state's history with this mindset.
In this match against Santa Clara, BYU's players were doing exactly that. More than half of their serves crossed the net at the second or third red bar of the antennas. Over ten percent of the serves barely cleared the net at the first red bar or even hit the tape of the net as it crossed over. The high serves were rarer, with twenty percent crossing the net at the very top of the antennas and five percent going completely over the antennas. Not surprisingly, both of BYU's missed serves out-of-bounds crossed over in this high range. BYU also missed two serves into the net.
When your players are serving, encourage them to serve "under the top of the antennas." Good things will happen!