How do I teach a jump serve to younger ages 9-13, as well as high school girls? What progressions can be used?
Thanks so much for the question, let's take a look. For starters, teaching a 9 year old to jump serve and teaching a junior or senior in high school to jump serve is going to be handled a bit differently. Your ability to manage their patience will certainly be tested, because frankly, at those ages, it's difficult to jump serve consistently on a regular basis. If you want your girls jump serving, you as the coach will need to identify what is an acceptable service error percentage and mitigate that on your own terms. With that said, my suggestion is this.
I think we would both agree that a jump serve is nothing more than an attack at the net, from a much further distance! I used a typical three step approach when I jump served. I started out that way in high school, and my serve was virtually the same my senior year in college. The first thing you need to do when teaching young kids to jump serve is plenty of reps. Time devoted at the beginning/end of practice for nothing but serving.
Assuming a your girls can all attack a ball at the net, split your team in half, one on one side and the other on the other side of the net. One side starts with each having a ball, and put them roughly three paces behind the 10 foot line. Have them simply toss the ball to themselves and approach, jump, and swing, from behind the 10 foot line. this does several things. 1. It's a confidence booster. Obviously the task is a bit easier from there then the back line. and 2. it allows for the players to get their footwork down. As the coach, make sure the players are tossing consistently. The toss, in my opinion, is probably one of the most crucial aspects to the jump serve. At that age, they are likely to toss one ball 10 feet in the air, then 8 feet, then 15 foot on the third serve. this level of inconsistency will lead to players to rushing their approach on some serves and be too early on others.
As the players get confident from the 10 foot line, simply move them back further. A roll of tape placed at 15 foot, etc., until the players work their way back to the end line. Also, you need to ensure a high point of contact. I always stress this not only when serving, but when attacking at the net. players who drop their elbows/hands and make contact by their ears are destined for failure. A good outstretched arm above the head upon contact is what you're looking for.
As I said earlier, repetition rules the day, along with constant supervision to ensure the habits they are forming are good ones.
I hope this helps, and please, if you'd like more details, please feel free!!