How to serve in pickleball?
As is the case in all racket sports, having a strong serve is key if you want to take the game to your opponent. Knowing how to serve well can put you on the front foot and give you more options for how you want to play the rest of the rally - take an attacking approach or go for a more controlled style.
Pickleball is no different - and there are certain factors you should consider regarding the serve that will help you in your overall game - and prevent you from making mistakes from the off. In this post, we’ll look more in detail at how to serve in pickleball.
The types of pickleball serve
There are two types of serve in pickleball: volley serve or drop serve. Let’s take a look in more detail at each one.
- Volley serve: Until a couple of years ago, this was actually the only type of serve allowed in pickleball. A volley serve is essentially one in which you drop the ball and hit it before it bounces. When a player opts for the volley serve, they must ensure that the ball is hit below waist height, and always in an upward arc - the serving arm starts low and moves in an upwards direction. This type of serve is the preferred choice for players looking to get more power.
- Drop serve: This type of serve is normally preferred by newcomers to pickleball or intermediate players who are looking to improve their serve and ensure that it is legal and consistent. As the name suggests, the player drops the ball - without adding any extra spin or other effects - and serves underarm once the ball has bounced a minimum of one time. It can bounce more than that if a player wishes. Similar to the volley serve, the serving arm must move in an upward direction.
Pickleball service rules
As well as serving in an upward movement, there are other factors to consider to ensure your pickleball serve is legal. Let’s take a look at them now so you are aware of them and won’t make an error next time you step on court.
- Upward serving motion: As mentioned, for both types of serve, the arm must move in an upward arc when striking the ball. No hitting from above or from the side - that will be a fault.
- Point of contact below waistline: The point of contact between the racket and ball when serving must always be below the server’s waistline.
- Racket head below wrist: At the point when the racket and ball meet, the head of the racket must be below the server’s wrist. In other words, the racket must be below your hand rather than above it.
- One attempt: You get one attempt to serve. If you make a fault, service goes to the opponent. If you win the point, you keep serving until you or your playing partner makes a mistake.
- Both feet behind the baseline: As is the case with many racket sports, both of your feet must be behind the baseline when you serve. And one of them must be touching the ground.
- Diagonal serve: The serve needs to land in the diagonally opposite service area, as in padel and tennis.
We hope this guide helps clarify any doubts you may have had about the pickleball serve. The best thing is to practice, so now it’s up to you get pick up your racket and head out on court. Keep an eye out on our blog on All For Padel for more tips about pickleball.