The Dreaded Overhand Serve…

By Sabrina (BGV Blogger and Recreational Volleyball Player)

One of the toughest things about volleyball for kids my age is going from underhand to overhand serving. It’s hard because with underhand serving you don’t have to worry about throwing the ball in the air or timing when to hit it. Most kids also think it’s easier because you don’t have to have a lot of power. If you aren’t tall or you’re just starting volleyball, overhand serving can be really intimidating to even try.

But if you’re a little serious about volleyball and you want to get better, it’s a good idea to change to overhand serving. When you underhand serve, the ball can stay in the air a long time allowing the other team a lot of time to get to it, but overhand serves can be lower to the net making it harder for the other team to receive the ball. With a lot of practice you can learn different types of overhand serves, like a float serve.

When I first started playing volleyball three years ago I was eight years old and of course, I started serving underhand. Underhand wasn’t that hard for me because I served with a lot of power, but I really wanted to serve overhand so I started trying last year. And even though I’m not perfect with it, I’m more consistent this year.

Overhand ServeHere are a few tips to for overhand serving:
• Practice, practice, practice!
• If you’re very short, throw the ball up high and make contact at a higher point on the ball
• Use your arm to follow through completely as you swing
• Follow the coach’s suggestion – start close to the net when trying the serve and then back up each time as you get better and better
• Don’t do a lot of EXTRA! Get the basic overhand serve down before trying jump serves and other stuff
• Lastly, don’t rush your serve. Take your time!

The biggest thing to remember is not to give up. If you can get your serve over the net with an overhand serve, but not all the time, DO NOT GO BACK TO UNDERHAND SERVING! You won’t get better if you do that.

Good luck and more importantly, have fun!

How it all started

TBirts age 10Well, we’re here! Over six years ago, I was picking my oldest daughter up from our local Boys and Girls Club when she came running up to me, asking me if she could play volleyball. I’d actually been thinking she should be involved in some activity since she stopped dance two years before (no excitement for it…)

At the time, volleyball was for 9-12 year old girls and my daughter wouldn’t be nine for four months. I asked the director, “She’s not nine yet…would she be able to play?”

He gave her the once over, “Yep, she’s pretty tall, pretty athletic…I’ll let her play up, if it’s okay with you?”

That’s how it all started and I had no clue that years later she’d be the dynamo she’s become.

Teia played recreational volleyball for four years (averaging about two seasons per year), then moved to a developmental club two years ago. The past three years she’s played for her middle school team and just finished her first high school season where she started on the junior varsity team, but ended on the varsity squad.  This winter marked her move to an open travel volleyball team (after playing on a regional team last year based in the Northern Virginia area). She’s also participated in several clinics associated with volleyball clubs, high schools and colleges.

Now, let me be truthful, my daughter has something, but she also has a LOT to learn about various techniques and about the sport, in general. But the past three years have been filled with coaches whispering that she has a lot of potential. She’s always been among the best on her team, but she was looking for a challenge this year. I agreed if she kept her grades up, I’d support her as much as I could.

The past two years, Teia has tried out for several clubs; all making her offers to play for them – one of which is consider one of the premier clubs in this region. We are all very proud of her.

But one thing was evident, especially as Teia attended tryouts: there weren’t too many girls who looked like her on TBirts Middle Blocker 2; courtesy Black Girls Volley/Karen Beitzellthe court. What was more interesting for the second year in a row, she was the only African-American on her team (last year she was one of two girls of color at all).   I remember asking her if she thought this would be a problem…her response, “Mom, I just want to play with girls who will challenge me. I don’t care what color they are.”

I’m not sure why there aren’t more black girls playing volleyball at the travel level, but money could be a big factor. I’ll write a separate post about that, but it definitely is an investment both in money and time.

So this website, our blog posts (yes, that will be a family affair as well) and the information we provide, hopefully will encourage more girls who look like my daughter to consider playing – and excelling – in this exciting, exhilarating sport.

Pass, Set, Hit!