An effective service in volleyball is crucial to a winning strategy. A good serve either will not be returned, resulting in the point, or it will be returned weakly, giving the serving team the advantage. One objective of an effective serve is to give the receivers as little time as possible to react. In this paper we construct a model of a served volleyball and use it to determine how to serve so that, after crossing the net, the ball hits the desired location in the minimal amount of time.

Author Bio

Dan Lithio and Eric Webb completed the paper "Optimizing a Volleyball Serve" during a summer research project at Hope College in 2006. Both students had just completed their freshman year of college. Dan is a Mathematics/Engineering double major at Hope College. Eric is a an Applied Mathematics major at Case Western Reserve University. Both students are avid Ultimate Frisbee players. They also enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, and were accompanied on many outdoor excursions by their advisor, Professor Tim Pennings, and his dog, Elvis.