Every home game, when Bucyrus senior Hannah Wyeth begins executing her jump serve, the Redmen student section comes to life.
An airplane noise, initiating Wyeth’s “lift-off” erupts from the stands, and oftentimes ends with cheers after the senior records an ace.
Wyeth is one of many jump servers across the North Central Conference this season, and each year the number of players taking to the air during games increases. The serve itself is not only popular because of its effectiveness, but the intimidation factor it provides against players on the other side of the net.
“It’s a lot harder than regular serves, and it comes at them faster,” Wyeth, a jump server for two years, said. “They don’t have as much time to react to it. You have more time to move when it’s a regular serve than you do when it’s a jump serve. You basically have to be there, ready, and your feet have to be still, otherwise you are just going to shank it.”
Wynford head coach Shauna Hurles, a former collegiate player, said receiving a jump serve can be extremely intimidating, and is a very common practice in college.
“That gets in your head right off,” Hurles said. “Even a stop spin server gets in your head quickly, and at the collegiate level you saw a trend towards more people jump serving versus just serving hard.”
An even more noticeable trend is the age many athletes have started adopting the jump serve. Volleyball power house Buckeye Central churns out a number of solid jump servers, including both Kilee Kimmel and Emily Weithman this season, many starting before high school. Kimmel has been perfecting the serve since she was 13 years old.
“I like jump serving because it helps make my serve more aggressive,” Kimmel said. “It is effective because it makes my serve more aggressive and intimidating.”
Royals sophomore Red Cory started jump serving when she 8 years old and said it was a bit frustrating in the beginning, especially at such a young age. She was the only player in junior high that used it, and said she was often looked at as strange by her competitors. Wynford also has a seventh-grade jump server this season in Lexie White, another example of the serve taking off at the youth level.
“It was always odd, because I was the only one who could do it,” Cory said. “They always just thought I was weird because I could. When you jump serve, it’s easier to get over. It’s like an approach when you hit the ball. You can control the game when you serve, and you can put the ball wherever you want.”
Galion’s Reanne Neal, a 6-1 player, has only been jump serving for a little over a year, after a suggestion she try it out from her club volleyball coach. She said it’s made her serve more aggressive, and said it also affects her play when facing another jump server. Neal spends a lot of her free time working on her technique.
“I have a long driveway, so I practice my foot work, and I can hit it up on the house by my garage, like a real serve,” Neal said, making sure to mention she hasn’t broken any windows in the process.
No matter what age a player start the process, the end results tend to be the same. A solid jump serve at any level can become a big asset to any team.
“Most people that jump serve, you can tell they are really good volleyball players,” Wyeth said.
“They work hard at it.”