A pickleball serve is the starting point for every game and every rally within a game. There are numerous subtleties to the serve in pickleball, but for now, remember this – there is one way of service that will never fail you.
The Drop Serve
Before the most recent rule revisions, it would have been reasonable to say a player should use the Drop Serve if they were having trouble with their serve. But a player might have been afraid to spend too much time on a serve if the rule was only temporary and might be changed.
You don’t need to worry anymore. According to the 2022 Rules Committee, the Drop Serve Rule is now a permanent part of the game.
Three main reasons to learn Drop Serve
- The Drop Serve is the same as a return of serve except that you control how the ball falls.
- The Drop Serve lets you hit the ball with better timing and makes it less likely that you’ll rush the serve, a common reason for service errors.
- With the Drop Serve, you’ll be able to hit shots farther. This is especially helpful when you are going into a strong wind.
When you should use a Drop Serve
So, are there some good reasons to use the Drop Serve? For the most part, the answer is definitely. Here are some reasons to consider using a drop serve:
- If you have never played a racket sport before and are new to pickleball, go straight to the Drop Serve. There’s no reason to learn the old-fashioned volley serve in the air.
- If your volley serve is giving you trouble, ditch it and make the drop serve your main serve.
- If you sometimes mess up your volley serve, you might want to replace it with the Drop Serve or, at the very least, practice the Drop Serve, so you have it as a backup. Does your serve get you in trouble? No problem. Use the Drop Serve.
The Best Reason
A lot of the debate that might arise from serving can be avoided with the Drop Serve. Let’s say someone challenges your serve during a game, claiming it violates the rules (or might be). Then, simply resort to the tried-and-true Drop Serve.
The only thing needed for a valid Drop Serve is that the ball is dropped. As a result, the ball will not be able to be launched downwards (or tossed up and then allowed to bounce). Instead, you should gently let go of the object and let gravity handle the rest.
Dropping the ball eliminates all three of the service motion’s tenets—hitting it below the waist, swinging upward, and bringing the paddle under the wrist. All that’s needed is for you to let go of the ball.
You’re free to toss the ball (and watch it bounce) wherever inside the court’s boundaries. You can’t have either foot inside the baseline or inside the imaginary line that extends from the centerline to the sidelines when you make your serve. There are no restrictions on where the ball can bounce on the court.
So make the Drop Serve a permanent part of your game. Plus, it’s the thing to do if you want to fit in with the hip crowd.
Basic Pickleball Serving Rules
Every rally in a pickleball game begins with a serve. There are a lot of subtleties to the serve in pickleball, but there are essentially three basic rules to serving in pickleball.
In pickleball, the serve is always performed from the bottom for the sake of efficiency (unlike tennis, which has an overhand serve). The serve in pickleball must be delivered with, at the precise moment of contact, the following:
- When serving, make sure the top of your paddle is below the level of your wrist (notice that forehand and backhand serves are equally valid)
- The proper serving motion involves an upward arcing of the arm.
Your foot stance during the serve is most important at the moment of contact in pickleball. Pickleball serves are valid only if at least one player’s foot is touching the ground behind the baseline at the moment the paddle contacts the ball. Successful serving requires keeping both feet on the ground behind the baseline rather than bouncing up and down.
To maximize the effectiveness of your pickleball serve, you should place the greatest emphasis on your footwork right before the point of contact. At the precise moment the paddle makes contact with the ball during a pickleball serve, at least one foot must be touching the ground behind the baseline. When serving, it’s important to have both feet on the ground behind the baseline.
Players must keep their feet on the baseline and the imaginary extension lines of the sidelines and centerline at all times. Upon making contact with your serve in pickleball, you are free to place your feet anywhere on the court, including the baseline and beyond the sideline and centerline extensions. No player is allowed to place their feet anywhere on the court other than the baseline and the imaginary extension lines of the sidelines and centerline. After a successful serve in pickleball, you are free to move your feet anywhere inside the court’s boundaries, including the baseline and beyond the sideline and centerline extensions.
In pickleball, a point is earned when the server’s serve lands in the receiving team’s service box after crossing the net. There are no service lets in the game, even if the ball hits the net.
In pickleball, the service area is the space between the baseline and the sideline, the Non-Volley Zone line (often called the Kitchen line), and the centerline that is perpendicular to the server.
Pickleball requires a serve to cross the net and land in the opponent’s service box to score a point. Even if the ball hits the net, it is not a service.
The service area in pickleball is the space between the server and the baseline, the sideline, the Non-Volley Zone line (sometimes called the Kitchen line), and the centerline that runs perpendicular to the server.
Stay out of the kitchen!
A fault is committed if the served pickleball lands in the Non-Volley Zone (commonly known as the Kitchen) or on its boundary line. The served pickleball, however, is allowed to fall anywhere besides the baseline, sideline, or centerline. A fault is committed if the served pickleball lands in the Non-Volley Zone (commonly known as the Kitchen) or on its boundary line. The served pickleball, however, is allowed to fall anywhere besides the baseline, sideline, or centerline.
Pickleball Volley Serve or Pickleball Drop Serve?
A Volley Serve in pickleball comprises tossing or releasing the ball and immediately hitting it with your paddle, without letting the ball bounce once (in other words, volley the serve). One of the two main types of serves used in pickleball, the volley serve is the more common one. Here are some pointers for your pickleball volley serve:
- Perfect your throw! This is especially the case if you intend to use spin to make aggressive throws.
- If you’re having trouble getting a solid hit with your paddle, try raising or tossing the pickleball into the air first. You’ll have more time to swing, more room to swing, and a higher point of contact when you hit the pickleball (as opposed to a lower point of contact around your knees).
- If you’re an accomplished pickleball player, you might want to try tossing the ball with some spin (whether by using your hand or your paddle). This strategy will create spin at impact, making the shot more challenging for your opponent.
- Once the score has been called, you have 10 seconds to make your serve. So, if you know you have a poor throw, it’s best to avoid serving. Regain control of the toss by picking up the pickleball.
Pickleball Drop Serve
The second option is a drop serve, which is a variation on the standard serve in pickleball. The drop serve was added to the pickleball Official Rulebook to accommodate players with physical impairments (for instance, any player with one arm). However, all pickleball players can now use the drop serve.
Drop serves in pickleball are executed by releasing the ball from any natural height (with the hand or by letting it roll off the paddle) and then striking the ball with the paddle after it has bounced once on the court.
To learn more about Pickleball serving rules, visit, The USA Pickleball Rulebook
A pickleball serve is the starting point for every game and every rally within a game. I believe this will help you immensely in your pursuit of another another victory.