Volleyball Serving: Why the Short Serve Could be Your Secret Weapon!

John Mayer and Billy Allen are two of the most brilliant minds in beach volleyball. Fortunately for the beach volleyball community, the two host a beach volleyball podcast, Coach Your Brains Out, breaking down, essentially, how to improve in the most efficient ways possible. Frequently they’ll open up the podcast to questions from fans, one of which was: What is the most underrated skill in beach volleyball?

Mayer’s answer: The short serve.

The short serve is one of the most deadly – and risk-free – skills in beach volleyball. There is little that is sexy about the short serve: It doesn’t come with pace; the point is actually that it doesn’t come with pace. It doesn’t blow anyone up. It isn’t flashy.

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But it is one of the easiest ways to throw a team off its offensive rhythm. When you serve a player short – even if it’s not a perfect short serve – it’s going to impact their approach. Now, rather than flowing into their point of hesitation or batter’s box, they have to backpedal – or not. Oftentimes, players will get lazy and not back up at all.

“When you serve some players short, they don’t get back to that depth of their ideal approach,” AVP professional beach volleyball player Mark Burik said. “They don’t know how to give themselves a full length approach and they get stuck. When they get stuck at the net, they have to look up at the set, so they lose vision, and they lose a lot of the momentum their approach will give them so they lose height. Short serves will make a player jump lower, so they’re more likely to shoot the ball.”

Why the short serve works

If you’re playing someone who relies heavily on vision, serving takes that away from them. When they lose their approach, they aren’t looking across the net, but up at the set; when they’re looking at the set, they’re not seeing you; when they’re not seeing you, you don’t need to be moving and juking; when you don’t need to be moving and juking, you’re still and balanced and disciplined; and when you’re still and balanced and disciplined, you’re going to make a better dig and give yourself a better chance in transition.

All because of the short serve.

There are, of course, proper times and places and opponents to use this short serve. When an opponent doesn’t take a big approach, a short serve isn’t necessarily that effective. When a team is exceptional at optioning and attacking on two, a deeper serve will be the wiser choice. But when you’re playing an opponent who requires a long, explosive approach in order to side out, or someone who is tired, or someone who is too lazy to get back to their batter’s box, the short serve is going to be one of the biggest weapons in your arsenal.


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If you want to get more power, more accuracy, more consistency and MORE ACES as well as the defensive mindset and strategies that win matches, you should sign up for our
 Beach Volleyball Mastery. We take you through the basic mechanics of serving and then work all the way up to advanced tactics and how to beat certain types of hitters and teams. Keep the other team on their heels and never give them a chance to get a comfortable attack

We also show you how to use the various types of standing float serves as well as jump floats, jump spikes and skyballs! Each serve should be used against certain types of players! Once inside the membership, you’ll be able to unlock
 “Power, Accuracy, and Aces: The Serving Master Class which will build you an arsenal of more strategic, more accurate, more powerful serves from the ground up. It comes complete with rehab protocol, gym exercises you need to increase arm speed, solo drills you can do at home, partner drills, accuracy exercises and elite throwing and hitting drills.

We also include with 9 more skill courses AND our
 60 Day At-Home Max Vertical Jump Training Program.

Once you sign up, you'll be able to watch the in-depth tutorials, film your “before” videos, start and film your at-home drills and begin posting to our Private Facebook Group. Then, our coaches will break down your mechanics and spacing and timing at our weekly online meetings. Yes, that means we look at YOUR videos and we coach YOU!

Facebook Group CTA VolleyChat! Get Better at Beach Volleyball for posts about common questions/ problems >


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