Serving is the only volleyball skill that does not depend at all on the actions of another player. It is completely under the control of the individual. That way, it is generally the easiest to develop to a reasonable level. For a new volleyball player, simply getting the ball onto the court consistently is a major hurdle, but once it’s overcome, the next challenge is being able to serve accurately.
Getting volleyball to where you want it to be when serving comes down to one simple but fundamental thing: consistency. There are two aspects to this consistency. One is the draw. The other is contact with the ball. Simply put, if you can’t throw the ball in the right place and hit it correctly every time, you will have a hard time serving the ball where you want.
Also, accuracy is almost always well served when aiming at your target. That means facing your target early on and making sure all of your movements – your stride, your throw, and your swing of your arms – move along that line. When all of those things are moving in the same direction, the ball is much more likely to go in that direction.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for becoming an accurate server. It all comes down to repetition. Any drill or game that involves serving is one that allows you to work on consistent pitches and hit the ball and get everything moving on the line of your goal. You just need to make sure you focus on those key points every time you approach the service line.
That said, there are many ways to train an accurate serve. Most serve drills can be adapted to require serves on certain areas of the court. For example, instead of doing a simple 10-in-a-row drill on the court, you could require that all serves be performed in a designated half of the court. Naturally, as accuracy improves, the target areas should be made smaller.
However, being a really good server isn’t just about being able to hit your goals. It’s about being able to put the ball where you want when asked. That means having the ability to hit any target at any time. This is essential to try to take advantage of weaknesses in the reception of your opponent’s serve and give your team an advantage. A great way to work on this type of situational accuracy is in drill and game situations where goals are stated in some way (like a coach call) prior to serving.
What it comes down to is a precise serving is the same as with most things: repetition. With the right focus and intention, any exercise can be used effectively to develop precision.