The pickleball drop serve is a new type of pickleball serve that is popular among recreational players. It’s similar to other types of drop serves but with a twist. The main difference is that the player drops the ball straight down into the receiver’s court. It’s an interesting way to serve and can be used by both right-handed and left-handed players. Another advantage of the pickleball drop serve is that it can be practiced at any time without worrying about hitting a wall or another obstacle in the court. This makes it ideal for casual players who don’t have time to practice with opponents or partners. It’s not like you can’t hit the more traditional air-serve without partners too, but prior to the pickleball rule changes in 2022, it was used primarily by only recreational players.
While this variation of the drop serve is fun and innovative, it has some limitations. For instance, it does require a bit of timing to hit the ball accurately and consistently, but this is easily offset by the extra control that it affords when it comes to the server’s placement, as well as being a more natural movement for many players. Players also need to be comfortable with hitting off-center shots as well as dropping the ball into their opponents’ court.
New Deliberate Drop Serve
A drop serve is a serve that is hit up and into the diagonal service box on the other side of the net. This style of serving requires less coordination than hitting a serve without the ball dropping. The main advantage of drop serving is that it can keep your opponent from getting set up for a good return, because you can change the timing of your bounce and your hit. If your opponent is returning a lot of balls on the run, you can use a drop serve to keep them from hitting a strong first return, giving you more options to get them off-balance.
A second advantage of drop serving is that it maintains pace and encourages quick rallies. You will be able to keep your opponent on their toes and prevent them from gaining too much momentum. While the technique may seem daunting at first, don’t worry – there are many ways to learn how to drop serve! First off, practice with a partner – if you’re playing doubles, you can both practice serving to each other at the same time. For singles play, try practicing with a friend who knows how to volley the traditional way, just out of the kitchen box. These options will help you work on your timing and hand-eye coordination. Once you’ve got those skills down, start dropping serves instead of normal serves! The key is to practice until you feel comfortable with it.
Why might the pickleball drop serve be better for you than the in-air volley serve?
We’ve mentioned the in-air volley serve, which is traditional, and requires the server to hit the ball out of the air before it hits the ground. In-air serves are not only difficult to execute, but they’re really only available to experienced, consistent players. The pickleball drop serve is a different type of serve, and if you’re a beginner it can be more convenient, as well as being highly effective. It’s a better option for someone just beginning to learn the game.
The drop serve is a very simple serve. You drop the ball in front of you (usually on the opposite side of your body to the net), let it bounce, and then hit it across the net to the side of your opponent. It sounds a bit complicated, but even if you have never played before, you can learn this serve in little to no time with just a bit of coordination. When you have your own ball, you can practice and perfect this serve in no time at all, with or without partners.
When you play pickleball, you practice this serve all the time. When you play at a tournament, you should try to use it whenever you want to make sure to give yourself the best chance to get the ball in play.
Important points for a good drop serve in pickleball
It is a rule of pickleball that you must allow a ball to bounce, either in service or return. When a ball is served, the receiving team has to let it bounce before returning, then the serving team has to let it bounce before returning, so it is bouncing twice essentially. You have to let the ball bounce before hitting it on the first rally, when you are a receiving team, and the serving team then has to let it bounce back before hitting it over the net. After the ball has bounced once on each teams pitch, the serving team can volley (hit the ball before the ball has bounced) the ball, or they can play off a bounce (groundstroke).
You may hit the ball straight on, dropping and making contact before it touches the ground (traditional serving), or you can let the ball bounce before hitting it (dropping serving). It is worth noting that professional players generally do not use the bounce before hitting, instead hitting the ball straight away after dropping it from the hands. For the drop serve, a serving player can either drop the ball out of his hand or the faces of the paddles, and then strike the ball after the ball has bounced.
When serving, you should be able to see the ball before you let it drop, and it should fall without any other manipulation, such that if an umpire were present they wouldn’t call an error. As a server, you have to stay outside of the outside lines for your serve, but you can drop the ball almost anywhere, and you must also stay within the center line and left and right lines. Your service (whether it is a volley pickleball or drop serve) should land in the proper service box, which will be diagonally across from the server.
As a result, the drop serve on the pickleball can be hit with lots of slices (in other words, backspin) or spins, neither of which are common outcomes from hitting the traditional pickleball volley, unless you’re a pro. A pickleball drop serve with lots of slice or side spin can lead to difficult returns by the receiving team (including possibly shorter serves closer to the non-volley zone lines).
Some pickleball players prefer to toss the ball into the air prior to serving, just like one would in ping-pong. To perform a pickleball drop serve, you should drop or release the pickleball from any natural height, and usually, you’ll hit the ball around waist height without serving from over your head – like what would happen with a tennis serve.
With a normal serve, you are allowed to make contact at waist height; however, a dropped ball never bounces much higher than mid-thigh. This means that the server is losing height on their contact point. We all know that a higher contact point changes the angle at which we need to hit to clear the net, thus allowing us to hit harder. Some have asked if you can get more spin with a drop serve. The answer is yes – the drop serve allows for additional backspin.
- The drop serve must be dropped, and cannot be thrown or tossed.
- The drop serve can bounce more than one time before contact, and it can bounce inside the court.
- If the server hits the receiver’s partner with the ball, it is a point for the serving team. (This is a “hinder,” since the ball was not allowed to land in the correct service box.)
- If you swing and miss a shot, the point is not over. It is over when the ball has bounced twice. So, try to hit it again if you miss at first!
The following actions will result in a fault:
- Your paddle crossing the plane of the pickleball net, or the imaginary extension of the net beyond the net posts, before you hit the ball.
- A ball that travels between the net post and the net.
- If there is enough wind — or backspin — on a ball, and it causes the ball to land on your side of the court, then spin back to the other side without you touching it, this is a point for your opponent.
- There is no coaching in pickleball from any person other than your playing partner, unless it is during a timeout or between games.