What Is An Ace in Volleyball? [2024 Updated]

Micah Drews


Aces in volleyball are thrilling and boost a player’s confidence tremendously. 

So, what is an ace in volleyball? Ace in volleyball is when the serving team earns a point directly from the serve. There are many ways to achieve this, but the most well-known method is to land the ball within bounds without the opposing team touching it. An ace can also be awarded for any other unreturned serve.

The ace changes the flow of the game, encourages your team, and demoralizes the opposition. 

Due to the fact that the ball never returned over the net, they help increase leads and shorten gaps. They also count as a “free point” for the team serving. 

It is possible to raise your ace percentage by practicing consistently and keeping a focused mind.

What Does An Ace Mean In Volleyball?

What Is An Ace in Volleyball

During volleyball, an ace occurs when one team serves the ball and the other team doesn’t return it, resulting in an immediate point. One of the most common ways for this to happen is when the ball lands inside the court without being touched by the other team.

Only when a player serves does he/she stand alone in volleyball, but it’s also the only time when one can score solely on their own ability. A great accomplishment for the individual player, and it is very impressive and exciting.

Nonetheless, the term “ace” can be used in other ways in volleyball as well.  Ace can also refer to a volleyball team’s best hitter or primary scorer, “the Ace“. In a tight situation, the setter usually trusts the outside hitter to set the ball to the ace.

A standard-level ace should be regularly capable of beating two blockers on his own, regardless of whether teams disagree on the “requirements.”

We will discuss serving “ace” in the following paragraphs, but if you want to learn more about spikes and how to become your team’s ace, check out this article on volleyball spikes. 

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Volleyball Serve Types: Which Serves Are Best For Aces?

What Is An Ace in Volleyball

A topspin, float, or jump serve is the most common serving style.

Topspin Serve

In a topspin serve, the server snaps his wrists like he would when spiking, causing the ball to spin and dive to the floor once it has crossed the plane of the net. For the ball to stay in bounds during this advanced serve, players must be able to aim at a target and control their strength.

Float Serve

It is more difficult for the receiving team to pass a float serve as it is one of the most common types of serves. A firm wrist is used to strike the ball, almost like giving it a high-five. The ball does not have any spin, so it moves unpredictably, making it difficult for the opponent to predict where it will go.

Jump Serve

Jump serves are high-level serves that are becoming increasingly popular among volleyball players. Back-row attacks look very similar to this serve. In order to hit the ball, the server must be far behind the line so that enough room is available for the ball to be hit. Jump float serves are tossed after servers begin their approaches, while jump topspin serves are tossed before they begin their approaches.

Your chances of scoring an ace increase when you practice your serve. You might one day make it into the record books if you do so. 

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What Counts As An Ace In Volleyball?

What Is An Ace in Volleyball

There are two types of aces in volleyball: a no-touch ace and a regular ace.

1. No Touch Ace

It is easier to define the no-touch ace. 

An ace is a serve with the ball touching the opposite side of the court without any player contacting it. 

When float serves to drift back in bounds, this can happen through underhand, topspin, or float serving.

2.  A Regular Ace

Every other type of ace falls under the definition of a regular ace. 

When the serve directly results in a point or goes unreturned by the other team, this is considered an unreturned serve. There are a couple of ways in which this can happen.

  • A player receiving the ball can’t pass it, so it bounces into the net, out of bounds, or into the ground. A pass that crosses the net and lands outside the bounds on the server’s side remains an ace! As a result, the server receives the point.
  • Second, if a rule violation is called on the receiving player, the serve is counted as an ace. Depending on the referee, this may include lifts and double hits. The serve, for example, would not be considered a double if it struck the receiver’s arms and chest. An ace would result if the player passed the ball to himself or herself.

What Does a “Return Ace” Mean?

Volleyball’s “return ace” is one of its little-known types. 

It occurs when the receiver immediately returns the ball over the net, which results in a point. Since passing to teammates and setting up spikes have a greater chance of scoring, this type of ace is rarely used and rarely acknowledged. 

At lower levels of play, return aces can sometimes be effective strategies because the unexpectedness can catch teams off guard.

There is more usage of the return ace in beach volleyball since there are only two players on the court instead of six, but it is only used under specific conditions.

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What Does NOT Count As An Ace in Volleyball?

What Is An Ace in Volleyball

Even though rotational faults are often mistaken for aces, they do not count. If one team is not in the rotation when serve begins, then it is deemed a rotational fault. 

Upon blowing the whistle, the referee will stop the game and award a point to the opposing team. The nuances of this rule and the action of serving can lead to spectators not knowing what happened and contributing the point to an ace. There is no such thing as this.

In addition, an unreturned ball with more than one touch does not count as an ace, even if it results in a point. In this case, the server has no influence on the ball after the first touch, as the opposing team’s mistakes are to blame.

As a result, any point scored by the receiving team or that returns the ball across the net does not count as an ace.

When does an ace occur in volleyball?

Aces are more common than you might think in volleyball. Generally, there are 3-5 aces per set at the university level, with 15 aces on average per match.

Lower levels have a higher number, and higher levels have a lower number. 

  • Middle school and high school levels have much lower passing skills, reach, and experience, so aces are more common. They average 5-10 per set, for a total of 25 per match.
  • A few aces per set are common at the pro level, compared to 4-5 at the university level. Positioning and strategy play a key role in determining this number since it depends largely on the player and the team they serve against.

Can The Volleyball Hit The Net On The Serve?

Yes, of course! There was a time when if the ball touched the net, it would be considered a serving fault and you would lose the serve. As part of an effort to make the game more exciting, the FIVB decided to change the rules several years ago.

Servings that drop straight down after hitting the top of the net and barely dribbling over to the other side have now become GREAT serves! It only takes one inch for an ace to become a net serve. A good server can be very difficult to handle if he gets really good at hitting the top of the net.

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Tips on how to serve Aces better

What Is An Ace in Volleyball

An ace is a recognition of a player’s hard work and skills over the course of their volleyball career. Additionally, it allows your team to rest without having to work towards the win, while putting pressure on the opponents.

There are certain steps you can take to improve your chances of scoring an ace, but you cannot guarantee it. 

To improve your volleyball ace, follow these four tips:

  • Aim for the edges
  • Target weak passers
  • Mix up the serve
  • Practice

 1. Aim For the Edges

Your serve will be deadlier and harder to receive if you aim for the edges of the court, forcing defenders to choose between passing or calling it out. Serving out the ball may lose you more points than it scores if your serve isn’t accurate.

Set up cones so you can track your progress and target the first foot within the boundary lines. 

When practicing, keep in mind that floating serves and topspin serves to change the trajectory of your serve and alter the way the ball travels.

The strength of float serves lies in their deception: the more they move, the more difficult they are to pass. Speed is the strength of topspin: the faster it moves, the tougher it is to receive. Choose your most accurate serve and use it to its full potential when aiming for the edges.

2. Target Weak Passers

You can build pressure on the opposition by targeting weak passers and rack up a few aces in the process. 

By probing your serves, you should be able to pinpoint the weakest link of the opponent’s team, and once you find them, you should be able to make your serves as challenging as possible. Your constant pressure and their diminishing self-esteem will cause their past to deteriorate, awarding you an ace.

Despite its seeming meanness, this tactic is simply common sense. Coaches who are good at stopping your aces will shift the players or substitute them before they become too dangerous, and players may be able to help out by passing the serve themselves.

Your aces will start rolling in if you choose your targets carefully and serve well.

3. Mix Up the Serve

At least in volleyball, predictability kills success. Depending on your confidence, you may want to target different players, make your serve shorter or longer, or switch from float to topspin. 

If you mix things up too much, you can impair your serving rhythm, but if you keep things unpredictable, you are more likely to score an ace and keep your opponents on edge.

A simple tactic in mixing up serve styles is to alternate between deep floats and short floats, targeting seams. 

In order to prepare for the next serve, the team will often call out “deep” or “short” after your first serve. This may cause the team to be unaware of what you are doing.

4. Practicing

Practice is the best way to improve your ace ratio.

Your technique and rhythm will improve if you spend a great deal of time serving. 

You should take serving practice seriously, even though it’s normal for most teams to goof around. You should move on to the next goal after achieving the first, then return to the previous one before using it in a game.

You can transform your serves from free balls into cannons by making small improvements every day. An ace is certainly one of the most satisfying things in the world.

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How many points is an ace worth in volleyball?

In volleyball, aces look spectacular. There should be at least two points awarded to the team that scores an ace, right?

There is only one point awarded for an ace in volleyball. It’s worth the same as any other volleyball match. In addition to the beauty of the service, there are no additional points. The server, however, often scores another ace when a team scores an ace, allowing them another opportunity to serve.

Aces are not just regular points. An opponent who is down a few points can sometimes motivate and awaken the team. Afterward, the winning team begins to lose confidence, and they start making some simple mistakes. All it takes is one ace to start it all.

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Some of the best volleyball aces

1. Yuji Nishida: Japan vs Canada in 2019

Here’s an example of Yuji Nishida’s excellent serving against Canada at the 2019 World Cup, shown in this video.

Using his perfect technique and pinpoint accuracy, Nishida targets weak passers in Canada’s lineup. With his left-handed swing, he had the opportunity to target unusual areas of the court, which he took full advantage of.

Nishida’s accuracy and angles are the key to his aces. Japan won the match more because of this than because of his power or height.

2. Ivan Zaytsev: Italy vs USA in 2014

With four consecutive aces in the 2014 World League Finals, Ivan Zaytsev achieved perhaps the greatest comeback in volleyball history. As a result, Italy won the match from behind and secured the set.

A good serve can have a huge impact on not only a match but a team as well, as shown by the aces here. Zaytsev scored no-touch aces as well as normals due to his mental toughness and killer technique.

Zaytsev beat both the USA libero and other experienced members of the team by aiming for the edges of the court when he scored most of the aces.

3. Kyle Russell: V-League in 2022

In his final match for Daejeon Samsung Bluefangs, Kyle Russell scored an astounding eight aces in a row. A stellar demonstration of powerful serving, it set a new Korean V-League record. Although this achievement does not compete at the same level as our other examples (international), it is nonetheless impressive.

Both Zaytsev and Nishida used their accuracy to succeed while Zaytsev targeted edges and Nishida targeted players. The key difference between Russell and others is that Russell prioritizes power over everything – even if accuracy was an important factor as well.

Some players may find it terrifying to receive a powerful serve. When it lands, it feels amazing, inspires hype, and builds excitement. I found this clip by Kyle Russell to be an excellent example of how one’s serve can affect a game.

How To Avoid An Ace In Volleyball?

What Is An Ace in Volleyball

It is not as much fun to receive an ace serve as it is to serve one. However, making a successful pass on a hard serve feels good. You will learn some tips in this section on avoiding ace serves.

Extend your arms

Stand with your arms spread apart, not together, when you are in serve receive the position. Runners with arms apart are faster than runners with arms together if they must run to the ball. You will also be able to control the ball better since you won’t be running while passing. In order to control the ball better, you’ll have to stop and pass.


Don’t focus on the server’s face, but on the ball in their hand. Following the ball into your arms will be easier if you focus on it. As the ball crosses the net, keep your eyes on it. Following the ball into your arms when it comes over the net is the best thing you can do. The ball should be passed to your target once you find it.

Center yourself

Put out your platform to pass after you run to the ball. You will also be able to get your feet balanced this way. If you want the ball to go where you want it to go, you should face it with your feet and arms facing the target. As you follow through to your target, push the ball with your arms. The best way to shank the ball is to swing your arms.

Pancake Pass

When you are almost at the ball, you can use the pancake pass, but you must go to the ground and extend your arm in order to reach it. This pass involves players putting their hands flat on the court and bouncing the ball off the back of their hands. In order to retrieve the ball, you must dive onto the court and stretch out. 

Stay flexible

Whenever you are waiting for the ball, shift your weight from one foot to another. The ball will come over the net faster if your body moves faster to it. You will be able to move easier by keeping your hand on the ground when you are in position.

Speed Up

Get your feet and agility faster by working on drills. Make a good pass by getting behind the ball quickly. Your pass will be more accurate if you can get to the ball faster. Passes will be more effective if you work on making your feet faster. 

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Who Earns The Ace In Volleyball?

An ace in volleyball and the accompanying point are earned by the server and their team. In that season, the server’s ace percentage and serving record are affected by their ace credit.

Can a serve be an ace if it hits the net?

No, for a serve to be considered an ace, it must pass over the net and land in the opponent’s court untouched.

Are aces more common in indoor or beach volleyball?

Aces tend to be more common in indoor volleyball due to the controlled environment, consistent court surface, and fewer environmental factors like wind affecting the ball’s trajectory.

What is the significance of aces in volleyball statistics?

Aces are essential in volleyball statistics as they reflect a player’s serving prowess and ability to create point-scoring opportunities for their team.

How can I overcome my fear of serving and hitting aces?

To overcome the fear of serving and hitting aces, practice regularly to build confidence in your serving technique. Seek guidance from experienced coaches, and remember that making mistakes is a natural part of improvement. With dedication and perseverance, you can overcome your fears and become a more skilled server.

What Is A Good Ace Percentage In Volleyball?

Aces make up approximately 7% of a volleyball player’s serving record, while the best servers on a team are between 8-10%. The NCAA box score system was used to calculate the scores for the top 25 USA collegiate teams and the “Sweet 16” teams.
It is roughly calculated that a 7% ace percentage corresponds to an ace every fifteen serves. In order to stay on top of the game, a team should average 1.5 aces per set. Practice is the best way to improve your team’s performance if that does not describe yours.  


The feeling of serving an ace in volleyball is incredible and it helps your team tremendously. The more you practice, the more consistent you will become and the more points you will earn. Make sure you work with your coach to develop strategies for improving your serve. It is possible to become an ace server if you work hard and are willing to be coachable.

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About Micah Drews

After playing volleyball at an international level for several years, I now work out and write for Volleyball Blaze. Creating unique and insightful perspectives through my experience and knowledge is one of my top priorities.

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