Float serve is handy as it makes the Volleyball’s trajectory unpredictable. In order to execute a Float or Floater serve, the player must hit the ball in such a way that it doesn’t rotate; this allows the air to control the ball’s movements. When executed correctly, it is tough for the opponents to anticipate where the ball will land. A Float serve is handy when playing Volleyball in indoor gyms or courts, but most of all, it is the best choice when playing Beach Volleyball.
Why learn Float serve?
Besides the obvious advantage of being difficult to defend, a Float serve does not require much movement. It does not tire the Volleyball players to the same extent as a jump serve. Also, float serves are easy to master. When done correctly, a Float serve leaves the ball at the mercy of the wind, so it is challenging for the opponents to receive such a serve.
The turbulent/chaotic airflow ensures that no one can determine which direction the ball will move in until the last second. While seasoned players can save the ball and pass it with ease, others may not be so lucky. A float serve helps the players to find the weak link in their opponents’ teams.
If the players find a way to balance the speed and precision with which they serve, they will be in a position to predict how their opponents will react to their serves. Hours of practice ensure that the players are ready for every possible scenario, whether their opponents succeed in defending the ball or not.
Factors affecting Float Serve
The reason why float serves are considered unpredictable is that the ball’s landing depends on the speed with which the ball is hit, the ball’s surface pattern, and most importantly, the airflow. If the ball moves slowly, the air surrounding it will be in laminar flow; this makes it impossible to achieve the Float serve.
If the ball moves at high speed, the airflow turns turbulent, which makes it difficult to predict whether the ball will drag and fall, lift up, be pushed to the side, or go through a combination of all these. A Float Serve is similar to the Knuckleball phenomenon in Baseball.
For the Float serve to be successful, the players must ensure that critical speed is attained to turn the laminar air flow into a turbulent one. Turbulent airflow is crucial for the ball’s sporadic and random movements. Volleyballs with panels have the highest critical speed threshold, and those with honeycomb patterns have the lowest critical speed threshold; this means Volleyball with honeycomb patterns are the best options for successfully executing a float serve.
How to execute Float Serve?
It is tricky to understand the nuances of executing a Float serve – but once understood, the players have a higher chance of scoring points. The starting position of a float serve involves holding the ball in one’s non-dominant hand; the air hole of the ball must be positioned on the center of the palm, and the arm must be stretched out in front of the player.
The next step is to toss the ball to the same height as the player’s arm length without spinning it. Then the players have to fully extend their hitting arm vertically and make contact with the ball using their palms (the fingers should not touch the ball). The Volleyball must be hit in the center, which is essential for successfully serving. A 30-35 mph speed is considered ideal for executing a Float serve successfully.
The players must pull their palms back after hitting the ball with a form wrist; if they maintain contact, they risk generating topspin. Some describe this short contact as a ‘high-five’ to the Volleyball. To perfect this skill, players make use of walls; they toss the ball and try to hit it in the middle with an open palm. The ball rebounds after striking the wall, and the players begin the drill again.
Float Serve with a Jump
Some players like to jump and execute a float serve; this requires a few additional steps before serving the ball. The players need to focus on their footwork before they leap. They can either take a three-step approach – Left-Right-Left or a four-step approach – Right, Left, Right, Left. The ball is tossed when taking the second step (in a three-step approach), and the player jumps on the third step. The players must hit the ball when it comes in line with their noses on their hitting side. The speed at which the ball must be served for it to float is 37-40 mph.
The toss and hitting of the ball follow the same steps as that of a standing Float serve. Once the players land on their feet, they can immediately shift to a defensive position. After all, some players are incredibly good at what they do and may have no difficulty receiving a float serve and passing it.
Unlike regular jump serve, jump float serve does not have any spin; the ball is still served in a manner that ensures that the ball does not rotate. Also, most prefer. Float serve over jump serve because it is much more difficult to control the serve and the margin for error is more in this case.
The choice between standing Float serve and jump Float serve depends on the player’s preference and the level of stamina he possesses. Some players use standing Float serves at the beginning of the match. As the game progresses, they switch to jump serves; this strategy is used to conserve energy and improve endurance so that the players will not be exhausted and prone to make errors before the game ends.
Single-handed or Double-handed toss – which is effective?
Jump Float serve or standing float serve can be done after tossing the Volleyball with one or, if the player wants, with two hands. Both are effective techniques, and the players must be allowed to experiment with various styles. Young Volleyball players can adapt themselves to any style, so learning both styles will not harm their performance. Most players prefer one-hand toss as they like to keep their dominant arm free to hit the ball. But that does not mean that a two-handed toss is not good.
Ultimately, the players have to settle for one style, but before choosing one, they should practice both types of tosses a lot. Such a practice will give them a clear perception of which one they prefer. Sometimes, a change in the way a player tosses the ball can significantly improve their performance.
The margin for error is less in the case of Float serves when compared to other types of serves in Volleyball. Therefore, if mastered perfectly, float serves are the best options for scoring points with ease. Of course, no technique or style alone will help the players win a match. The entire team has to work together for any technique to be effective. It is hard to anticipate how an opponent reacts or predict what he is thinking, but one should be able to understand/know how one’s teammates will respond in a situation. A cohesive team will always be able to overcome any hurdle and be victorious.