Purpose: To train serving balls at various paces and distances
Procedure: In groups of four, players practice serving around each other in a short-short-long rhythm. Server 1 starts by serving a ball to S3. S3 receives the pass (preferably with one touch) and plays a short pass to S4. S4 returns the pass to S3 and then pressures S3 so that he or she must play the ball around S4 in order to complete a pass to S1. S3 and S4 then switch roles. S1 and S2 combine in the same fashion so that S1 now serves around S2 to S3 and then switches roles. The combination results in a serve from S3 (that bends around S4) to S2. This sequence can be performed with driven or flighted passes that bend on the ground or in the air (figure 3.9).
Coaching Points: This activity is fundamental repetition, so the coach is looking for all technical elements described in the chapter:
• Body position
• Plant foot position
• Point of contact on the ball
Variation: By instructing players not to pressure the partner who is serving the long pass, the same rhythm can be used to train serving balls without using the bending technique.