One of the most important skills to master in pickleball is the serve. Not only does it require you to be accurate and skillful, but there are also some rules to follow; otherwise, it will result in a fault, and you will lose points.
The server must hit the ball diagonally across the court to the opponent’s side in pickleball. The server calls out the score before serving and then swings the paddle underhand before hitting the ball, followed by a smooth follow-through.
The player must also ensure that the ball lands within the boundaries of the court. The serving rules for singles and doubles pickleball games are essentially the same, and the first serve is always initiated from the right side of the court.
If you want to win in a racquet sport (e.g., badminton and table tennis), the key is to master your serve. In addition to the basics of serving, different types of serves and the importance of practice are all important aspects to consider when learning how to serve in pickleball. And this is what we are going to discuss in today’s article.
Rules of Serving in Pickleball
Every pickleball rally starts with a serve, which is considered the most important shot of a game. In pickleball, you are supposed to serve underhand. While it’s the least popular serve technique in tennis, pickleball only allows an underhand serve to limit the aces.
According to the International Federation of Pickleball Official Rule book, the player has to fulfill a few conditions to make a good serve.
These conditions are;
- When the ball hits the paddle, the paddle head should be below the player’s wrist joint and his waist.
- Unless it’s a drop serve (when the player chooses to drop the ball and hit it after the bounce), the arm should move in an upward arc during the serve.
- If you are drop serving, an upward arc is not required.
- The player may use either forehand or backhand motion to hit the ball while serving.
- At least one server’s feet should be behind the baseline until the service is over.
As per the new rules of pickleball that took effect in 2021, there are no service lets in the game. This means the ball can hit the net, and the service will still be considered a good serve as long as the ball clears the kitchen and the non-volley line and lands in the right service box.
Read more on Let Serve here: What is a Let Serve in Pickleball?
Only one service attempt is allowed in pickleball. This is another important point that players must remember and work on making their serve better to avoid losing their turn. If the ball lands in your opponent’s kitchen or on the non-volley line, it’s considered a fault.
Read more on the kitchen here: What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?
In case of a fault in a doubles game, the server’s partner will get a chance to serve. However, in a singles game, there is no second chance to serve; in the event of a fault, the serve transfers to the opponent.
Pickleball Serving Tips
If you follow a few expert tips to serve in pickleball, you can greatly improve your serve and increase your chances of winning. The first thing to remember is to have a proper stance when you are about to serve. The player should stand with their feet shoulder-width apart and their weight evenly distributed on both feet.
Also, check out this article: Is it Better to Serve First in Pickleball?
The player should be facing the net, and their body should be angled slightly toward the court they are serving to. The player should bend their knees slightly to give them more power and control when serving.
Remember, the player must stand behind the baseline when the ball hits the paddle during a serve. If your feet land on any of the lines or you’re standing within the court, it results in a service fault.
Also, remember to throw the ball diagonally to the cross-court service box. In addition to these tips, you must learn the underhand serving technique. To serve underhand, you must hold the paddle flat like a serving tray and extend your arm toward your target.
Hold the ball at knee level and parallel to your paddle handle. Keep your eye on the ball when you’re about to hit it. Don’t serve too quickly, as it can cause you to commit mistakes.
Having a proper grip is also important when serving in pickleball. The player should hold the paddle with their dominant hand, and the handle should fit comfortably in their palm. The player should then wrap their fingers around the handle and make sure that their thumb points down it. This grip will give the player more control over the ball when serving.
For players who find it difficult to move their arm in an upward motion during the service, it is recommended to use the drop serve technique.
One of the most common mistakes beginner servers make is not to hit the ball with enough power. This result is a serve that doesn’t make it to the service court. It may also result in hitting the net, making the player lose his turn. The solution is to work on your backswing and follow through such that you’re not lifting your body up.
It is also recommended not to look up as soon as the ball hits the paddle. The idea is to keep looking down for a couple of seconds after you have hit the ball. And finally, try to hit the ball a little harder or use a different paddle that offers a good combination of power and control.
Need a Paddle? Check out this article: How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle?
Types of Serves in Pickleball
Practicing serves is crucial for improving your game. It is important to practice all the different types of serves so you can use them in different situations. Practicing also helps you develop accuracy and power in your serves.
Three types of serves have been recognized in pickleball: high soft, power, and soft angle. All these techniques have their pros and cons, and if you master all these techniques, your opponent will be left guessing what’s coming next.