This guide isn’t for the casual Spikeballers who want a relaxing game. There’s nothing wrong with being at that stage, but if the returning team wins nearly every point, then it is time to learn the real serving method. This guide is for those of you who want to enter tournaments, play competitive games, and build your Roundnet skill. Part 1 of this guide will go over all of the official serving rules as well as ways to perfect your technique and become consistent. I recommend reading Part 1 no matter what level you are because there are insights and tips that are little-known. Part 2 is where it gets real now that you know the basics. We go through several different types of serves, how to throw your opponents off with fakes and patterns, and when to do which serves. Any of these tactics can be applied in a casual game, but these are really for those looking to win rounds in tournaments. I know what you are thinking: What do I know about Spikeball? Well, Kory and I have been avid players of the sport for over a year, and after watching countless videos of “the pros” and discussing advanced strategy, we have a pretty good idea of how the game is developing with respect to serving as well as other areas. So please trust us with our advice, but remember, this is not law, so feel free to use others’ tips and your own methods. For the intermediate, advanced, and pro Spikeballers, you will have heard the official rules and standards but this comprehensive guide is sure to contain strategies, serves, and technique that will add variety and improve your overall game. So without further ado, let’s begin with the basic rules, courtesy of usaspikeball.com :
A few important yet little known rules that you need to know:
The returning team has the choice to redo a pocket serve or to play it. This means you should always be ready to continue to point even if you pocket the serve.
The ball toss must be at least four inches up (new rule). We will talk about tossing soon, but you want to keep the toss close to your hand so it is easier to strike.
You must hit the ball behind the six feet line. If you want to lean forward or hit the ball in front like we suggest, then stand 6 inches or so behind the serving line.
If you toss the ball, you must hit it. This tricky rule means that you must focus on each and every toss.
I hate to be a stickler, but if you know somebody is clearly violating a rule, then it is okay to call them out on it. Do not demand the point if they make one mistake, but repeatedly breaking the rules should result in points defaulted.
There’s a lot of stuff there, but it becomes Second Nature after you play a few games. It is key to understand how the games work, but I know you are really here to learn the serves that your opponents struggle to return, so let’s do it. First, you need to make sure you can consistently hit an easy serve from the 6 foot requirement. It is necessary that you develop the feel for the proper distance and angle before you move on to the more advanced progression. So start 6 feet away from the edge of the net (maybe put it up against a wall if you are by yourself), and aim to work up to 8 out of 10 soft serve. Slowly increase the power behind your serves until you cannot do 80% any more, and voila! But don't just swing your arm randomly; let us look at an example serve and its aspects.
There are several things here that you should try use in your serving motion here:
Low toss - if you toss the ball more than a foot or so, it will be much harder to strike the ball with the proper speed
Low hit - let the ball drop below your shoulders to improve the angle that the ball comes off the net. You do not want hit at your waist level but rather at a comfortable height.
Contact Point - this serve is struck at a comfortable point: slightly to the side of the server, slightly out in front, and as we said before, right around chest height
Now that we have gone over the rules and seen a model serve, let's go over some basic serves that you can incorporate into your game today!
1. Out-Wide Serve
This is a normal serve, but stepping out to the side gives you an angle and makes it much harder to return in done correctly. Notice how Kory takes a wide step (not forward) while tossing the ball to that side. For the optimal serving angle, let the ball drop a little lower than usual so they have even less time to react. We will see more in future Parts of this guide, but keep in mind that lower = better.
2. Drop Serve
I always throw in a drop-shot serve every so often to keep my opponent on their feet. This serve can be effective, but if you strike too hard or show them your palm, they can anticipate it and return it easily. Let us look at a drop serve from one of the best servers in the game, PJ Showalter:
PJ has perfected his technique, and you can see how the serve bounces only a few inches above and in front of the net. The opponent has little time to retrieve the ball, and they will have to lunge or get real low to pass it to their partner. Since most players usually hit power serves, throwing in a drop serve totally messes up the returner.
Another reason that this serve is great is because of the visual fake that PJ adds to his motion. The returner is convinced that the serve will be powerful up until the ball comes off of his hand, and there is hardly any time to react by then. It is hard to see, but PJ makes this serve even dirtier by adding backspin to the ball when he hits. Using the angle of your hand to spin the ball is an advanced technique which, we will teach in further detail in Part 2 of this guide.
This serve probably wins the most points for me since it is disguised as a normal serve, and therefore it is difficult to anticipate. Even in slow-motion it is hard to pick out the subtle adjustment I made, but by the title, you can tell that a added jump top-spin to make the ball jump out after hitting the net. The only thing I did to completely change the serve was slightly tilt my serving hand forward so that it brushed the ball to create the spin. You have to get used to the feel because there is certainly a sweet drop for how much the angle your hitting hand. Ideally, the serve should also be low to throw off your opponent even more, but you can always mix it up.
This concludes part 1 of the guide! I really hope every reader can learn something from this. If you do just one of the serves or techniques suggested here, your serve and overall game-play is guaranteed to leap forward. If you like this, subscribe to our newsletter and answer the poll below! Thanks for spending some time on Fwango!