The aim of the present study was to investigate the serving techniques in male top level volleyball, especially the tactical and spatial behavior of the servers and receiving opponents focusing on the pros and cons of the different serving techniques. An analysis was made of 4552 serves from 28 matches played during the 2008-2009 regular season of the Italian volleyball male Top League. Serving techniques were categorized into Jump Serve (JS), Float Jump Serve (FJS) and Float Serve (FS), and for each serve several parameters were recorded: role of the server (Setter - S, Hitter - H, and Middle Blocker - MB), kind of serve (JS, FJS, FS), number of players defending the serve (Defense), difficulty in receiving the serve (RS), evaluation of serve outcome (EV), and defensive court zone where the ball was directed (FZ). The results confirmed the largest use of the JS (69.9%), followed by the FJS (26.9%) and the FS (3.3%). There were significant relationships between the serve technique, the EV, the Defense and the FZ where the serves were directed (Chi-Square p = 0.000). The zone absolutely most hit was the posterior/central, followed by the left/posteriors. There were significant differences in the RS difficulty for the JS respect to FJS (p = 0.001) and FS (p = 0.000) and also for the defensive strategies performed: a defense strategy with 2 defenders showed significant and better score during the reception respect to that with 3 (p = 0.000). No statistical relationship was found between the role of the server and other parameters. These results are consistent with previous studies in which JS showed to be the most powerful technique in terms of increasing defensive difficulties but, at the same time, with a fairly high percentage of errors. This issue must be taken into consideration in crucial phases of the game, and the serving techniques must be used strategically. JS can be very useful for increasing the defensive “conflict zones” with the aim to score a direct ace or to make the offensive maneuver difficult after reception. FJS can be useful when there is the need to aim a specific FZ and prepare the team for the next defense action. Scouting or match analysis procedure of the serving statistics should be performed during the game to better indicate the serve strategy to choose.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Education, other