Overhand serve towards a court target

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1 ball for 2 to 4 pupils
Court 2 to 3 m x 6 to 9 metres or targets (rings or marks)

Aim of the task:

Reach the target with an overhand serve

Serve towards a court with a net.

We insist on the precision in length and direction. Most of the time pupils think it's enough to "hit hard" and "send the other side of the net". On this technique we must have the same demands of regularity and precision than for the underhand serve.

We organise games with targets like rings or zones on the ground with points allocated. Targets close to the net and at the back of the opposite court are hardest to reach but alos the most efficient.

In order to identify the right placing we get placed without hitting, then we get placed and we hit balls to make them bounce on the floor. The player judges:

  • I am well placed => I hit.
  • I am badly placed => I don't hit.

Using throws without hit we control:

  • Is the ball well placed? It falls back into my left hand.
  • Are the shoulder, arm, hand well armed? Pulled back using using the amplitude of the joints.
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See the video

It is essential to place the ball forward and high in the natural passage of the hand, arm extended. A bad placing causes compensations from the upper body (rocking of the bust from front to back) and from the weight supports and causes losses of power and precision (ball lifted from underneath and not hit).

Players must integrate the relationship between the wind-up course taken by the hand when getting ready, and the hitting power. This can be compared to a bow and arrow. Power is accumulated by pulling the elbow back and down. This will enable the hand to accelerate in an forward and up whip movement. This momentum starts at feet level by a push from the back foot, followed by a push forward of the hip.

In simple words, if we step forward during the hit this will give part of the hit speed. (Note: with adults, a supported hit can be enough given the weight-power ratio with the ball).

The shoulder on the hitting side goes first, the arm skimming the ear, arm vertical. If the hit is slanted sideways the muscular effort on the shoulder is much greater. The extension of the hand for the wind up is at the same time a means of toning (therefore protecting the fingers) and to add power in order to hit with a whip of the wrist. The hand is active at the moment of hitting.

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