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Shot-Put Serve in Volleyball


Question:  “We have all seen the girl that does a “shot-put” arm motion when serving. What have you tried that has helped?”

Answer:  Carl McGown has been talking about “cycling the arm”. In this system, we get the should her elbow BACK (not up). In fact, Carl is saying that it’s perfectly ok for the elbow to travel slightly below the shoulder as the athlete takes the arm back and begins to initiate the forward rotation of the arm swing.

The shot-put arm is caused by having a high elbow and high hand. The athlete is most probably taking her elbow and hand back and ABOVE her shoulder and hand. It’s very difficult to create some separation and full range of motion in this case. In fact, this makes it very difficult to create the proper rotation needed to generate the proper arm swing.

I recently read this blog that compares and contrasts various arm swings and motions.

The Biomechanics of Volleyball: The Arm Swing (Part 2.2 of many)

The images of Giba, Clay Stanley, David Lee, and Paula Pequeno demonstrate this “cycling motion”.

The true shot-put arm swing is also caused by a player who not only has a poor arm position but then also wants to do one or both of the following:

They want to create force by “piking”. They do a crunch or bend forward to create power (instead of creating torque – twisting to create power).


They want to initiate the swing with the hand first. In this case, it’s very difficult to involve the rotation of the shoulder.

The images of Paula Pequeno show that she creates rotation with her hips, then her shoulders, then her elbow, and lastly her hand.

So, to finally answer your question: We have to eliminate the poor mechanics, use video to show her the correct mechanics, and to help her correct the errors in her swing.

Good luck!

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