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Similarities Between Volleyball and Tennis – Serve Technique

My daughter is a junior tennis player.
She started playing tennis at five years old she’s 12 now. So she’s been playing
tennis for seven years and recently we decided to sign her up for volleyball,
because it might be good for her to do a team sport. And interestingly she quickly
developed a good volleyball serve. And I was interested to see how her volleyball
serve might affect her tennis serve. Could it make it better or could it
possibly make it worse? So in today’s video we’re going to discuss the
similarities between a volleyball serve and a tennis serve. There are different types of volleyball
serves but the one that we’re interested in is the jump topspin serve, because
this one has the most similarities to a tennis serve. So the way a jump topspin
serve works is the player will in most cases throw the ball with the dominant
arm and they will also put topspin on the ball and they will throw the ball way
ahead of themselves in front. And now the next thing that happens on the serve is
the player will jump and become airborne and then in the air and the feet are
gonna point a parallel to each other like this and the body is gonna go into
a bend into a c-shape and now the player will get his dominant elbow pointing
straight back while the non-dominant arm is in the air and I heard this referred
to as the Nike swoosh. So the contact on the volleyball serve
should be made when the player is at highest point in a jump and what the
player will do then he will uncoil this C shape and rotate into the contact
with the ball and so this is what it looks like. In midair the body will
straighten, uncoil and at contact the shoulders will be
parallel to each other Once the volleyball player has made
contact the finish will depend on what kind of serve the player is attempting but
the body will usually go into a slight a jackknife position and I suppose this is
done to regain balance because this is occurring in midair. So you will see the
volleyball player go slightly down with the upper body while the feet go forward There are a lot of similarities between
a volleyball serve and a tennis serve but the one that stands out the most is the
rotation of the torso. So we talked about the Nike swoosh in volleyball and if you
compare this to the trophy position in tennis is very similar. So we have the
elbow pointing back now in tennis it can point even further around the body like
this to get more of a coil. This is impossible to do in midair on a
volleyball serve. So we’re going to have an advantage there as tennis players but
the similarities are that we have this reversal of the shoulder positions where
the dominant shoulder is below the non-dominant shoulder and now what’s
going to happen as we initiate the strike and accelerate the serve. We’re
going to reverse this shoulder position and we’re going to also rotate the torso
and we’re gonna make contact at the exact same place as a volleyball player. And the way these two serves accelerate into the contact is exactly the same. The
uncoiling of the upper body in addition to the reversal of the
shoulder positions. This is what creates a lot of acceleration. So a volleyball
serve will go like this into the contact and a tennis serve will go exactly the
same way. You will rotate into the contact while reversing these shoulder
positions and now once you reach this position naturally you will achieve a
full extension of the hitting arm and that’s the case for volleyball and
tennis Is it possible to do a tennis volleyball
serve? So basically throw the ball with the dominant arm and then leap into
the court and slam the ball into the box. It actually is possible and it’s been
done by the one and the only Brian Battistone a former top 100 ATP
doubles player I tried the Brian Battistone slash
tennis volleyball serve and it is extremely difficult to pull
off and I might even say it’s almost impossible. And Brian is an exceptional
athlete and he can pull it off, but the problem is that whether it’s a jump
volleyball serve or a tennis volleyball serve the contact has to be made when
the player is at the highest point of the jump and you do not want to hit the
ball on your way down. So this timing is very tricky. And the reason why
volleyball players have to leap into the air to get power is that they don’t have
this pesky little thing. They have to generate all the power from their own
body. So this is why you will see them throw the ball way up into the air and
then use the pace of the ball that’s coming down to generate more power. They
are exceptional athletes that can jump very high and now they’re gonna make
contact at a higherpoint and able to get more power that way. See we don’t
have to do this on a tennis serve because we have the tennis racket and so
a stationary volleyball serve will go to about 35 miles an hour. The fastest
volleyball serve ever recorded was 134 km/h which is 83 miles an hour and what
we can do with a tennis racket is even with a stationary serve by only using
our arm we can easily get a hundred miles an hour, which means that a
stationary tennis serve is a lot faster than the fastest volleyball serve. So I
think my daughter is safe playing volleyball. I actually think that it can
in some ways improve her tennis serve if she continues to work on our tennis
toss, because as you know the tennis toss at the junior level at the
recreational level and even some of the professional players have difficulties
with the toss. So the toss is something that’s unique to the tennis serve and
must be practiced a lot, but as far as sports similarities, the volleyball
serve is the closest thing we have to a tennis serve.

David Frank



  1. frank mancuso Posted on May 3, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    I loved a heavy topspin volleyball serve as in my tennis serve!

  2. Natachi Nnate Posted on May 3, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Nick, I played volleyball but I have never associated the volleyball serve to a tennis serve. Interesting concept! You always make our brain think for more. Love it!

  3. quinby123 Posted on May 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    I saw Battistone play in person before and he has a very unorthodox game using a 2 handle racket. His jumping ability is impressive though.

  4. Intuitive Tennis Posted on May 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm

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  5. Jose Rodil Posted on May 31, 2019 at 4:26 am

    Correct me if I'm wrong but most people that try a volleyball type of serve will foot fault a lot unless they start a few meters behind, depending on the player's jump. Isn't that an issue with this motion?