What Does an Ace in Volleyball Mean?

Many people often ask what does an ace in volleyball mean? An ace in volleyball refers to a serve that the opposing team cannot control and bring back into play. There are several ways in which a team or server can score an ace that we can look into through this guide as well as the types of serves that are possible for this to take place.

Let’s get started!

What Is an Ace?

When a server in a particular team serves and the players of the opposing team are not able to receive it properly or at all, then that counts as an ace. This kind of ace can earn points for the team and can also sway the direction of the game if the server scores multiple aces consecutively.

There are three different serves that are usually carried out during official matches. These serves can then either lead to an ace or can start off a rally.

Once the server serves, the reaction of the opponent players can also make a difference. For instance, if they fail to receive it or if the ball falls to the ground, then the server’s team can score an ace.

Types of Aces in Volleyball

There are different types of aces in volleyball that can earn points for the server’s team. In this section, we will particularly look at how a serve can lead to an ace in different situations.

This generally not only depends on the strength or technique of the serve itself but also how it forces the opposing team to react to the ball. For instance, if it delays their response, then they could end up losing the point.

Zero Contact

One way in which a server can score an ace is through zero contact between the ball and the players of the opposing team. This means that the server serves the ball and aims it in such a way that the opposing team cannot react to it in time.

This can then cause the ball to directly land on the opposing team’s court without them coming in contact with the ball at all. This wins a point for the server’s team, which can be referred to as an ace or service ace.

Thus, the only person who touched the ball was the server. However, it is important for the call to directly fall on the opposing team’s court instead of going out of bounds.

Touching the Net

Another way in which the server can score an ace is by strategically aiming the ball in a way that touches the net but still manages to fall into the opposing team’s court, removing the chance for them to receive the ball successfully.

Usually, this kind of serve is meant to fall right in front of the net on the opposing team’s court. This can work best when the other team is not expecting such a move or if their formation is focused towards the back of the court.

This could then delay their response, causing them to run towards the ball once it has almost fallen on the ground, by which time it might be too late to receive the ball.

It is important for the ball to not fall back into the server’s team’s court as this would give the point to the other team.

Missed Return

A missed return in volleyball is an unsuccessful attempt on the part of the opposing team to send the ball back to the team who made the serve. One of the most common ways in which this happens is when the opposing team receives the ball but cannot control it properly.

This can then cause the ball to go out of bounds or simply fall on the court. This means that the ball was too fast for the opposing team to receive conveniently enough while also controlling it to be able to send it back.

This leads to another service ace for the other team who served. It is important for the receiving team to touch the ball once before it falls down on their side to count as an ace.

Receiver Violation

In case the receiver does not follow the rules of volleyball while trying to receive the ball, then this can count as a violation on their part. In this case, even if the ball does not actually fall onto the court, it can still count as an ace because the receiver messed up the play.

There are several ways in which the receiver could make a violation. For instance, if the same person hits it twice or uses another tactic that is not allowed in the game, then they could lose the point.

This is, however, usually rare.

Out of Rotation

If the opposing team is out of their usual rotation when the server makes the serve, it is possible that the opposing team might not be able to receive it well.

This could either happen before the serve itself or it could take place after the serve when the team is trying to receive the ball.

For instance, the opposing team’s formation could be a bit off or could mess itself up in an attempt to receive the serve, which could cause the ball to land on their court one way or the other.

Types of Serves That Can Lead to an Ace

Apart from the opponent’s response to the ball, it is important to look at the types of serves as well, as these are usually the ones that can bring out the aforementioned responses from the opponents.

Jump Serve

A jump serve requires the server to toss the ball into the air so that they can make an approach towards it and serve it to the opposing team. This jump serve could either be combined with a float serve or a topspin serve.

For the former, the server tosses the ball after they begin their approach whereas, for the latter, the server tosses the ball first.

Float Serve

A float serve, as the name suggests, requires the server to hit the ball in such a way that it can float and slow down a bit in the air before making it onto the other team’s side. This serve, if done successfully, can cause an ace that the opposing team cannot receive properly.

This is usually because once the ball is in the air, it can become difficult to predict the direction that it will take and where exactly it will land, causing a possible delay in how the opposing team responds to it.

Usually, the float serve involves hitting the ball without putting distance between the server’s palm and the ball.

Topspin Serve

A topspin serve requires the server to first toss the ball high up into the air. They can then hit the ball with or without a jumping approach and can then aim at a particular spot on the opposing team’s court so that they can win an ace.

This kind of serve also requires the server to snap their wrists in a way that can accurately hit the ball by also ensuring that they are hitting it with as much strength as possible.

Once they manage this, the ball will spin towards the other team with a high speed that could then mess up their play and cause the ball to land on their court.

How Many Points Does an Ace Earn?

Each service ace causes the team to earn a single point. This can give the team a good lead or a chance to catch up. However, there are no possibilities of earning more than one point with each ace.

Yet, the server can manage to earn consecutive aces if they keep making plays that the other team cannot receive properly, allowing them to earn multiple points with the same server until the other team manages to send it back properly.

This is not always easy to manage, especially at more advanced levels.

How to Score an Ace

Scoring an ace requires plenty of practice on the part of the server. This could include trying out new techniques and perfecting them with your own team before trying them out in an official match.

An important part of scoring an ace is to ensure that you have a target that you can aim for with each serve while being able to bring that into action as well. For instance, if there is a gap on the opposing court or a weak receiver, then you can aim towards those.

Even with perfect practice, this might not always work as there are several other factors in play in a match, such as the receiving skill of the opponents.

Final Remarks

We have now told you all about what an ace means in volleyball. To sum up, any serve that can earn a direct point for the serving team because the opposing team cannot receive it is an ace.

We have also taken you through the serves and plays involved that can lead to this ace. All you need to do now is watch out for the ace or practice it to perfect it.