How Do You Serve in Pickleball? A Guide to Mastering the Pickleball Serve

How Do You Serve in Pickleball?

Are you ready to up your pickleball game and learn how to serve like a pro? Serving in pickleball is a crucial skill that sets the tone for the rest of the game. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking to improve, mastering different serving techniques can give you a competitive edge.

In this article, we will delve into the various serving strategies and techniques in pickleball, helping you develop a strong and effective serve. We’ll cover everything from the basics of grip and stance to advanced techniques like spin and placement.

Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned player looking to refine your skills, improving your serve can make a significant difference in your pickleball game. So, let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of serving in pickleball.

The 10 key pickleball serving rules

Rule NumberRule Description
1Stand behind the baseline while serving.
2Serve diagonally to the opponent’s service box.
3Use an underhand swing to strike the ball.
4Contact the ball below waist level.
5Ball must cross the net and non-volley zone (kitchen) on serve.
6Serve must land in the opponent’s diagonal service box.
7Avoid faults, such as the ball landing outside the service box.
8No stepping on or over the baseline before hitting the ball.
9“Let serves” is allowed if the ball touches the net but lands in the box.
10Observe the double bounce rule after the serve.

How do you serve in pickleball?

How Do You Serve in Pickleball?

In pickleball, serving starts a point by hitting the ball over the net and into the opponent’s side of the court. The server must follow specific rules for a legal service. Here’s how to properly serve in pickleball:

  1. Positioning: The server must stand behind the baseline (the back boundary line) and serve diagonally across the court to the opponent’s diagonal service box. The server’s feet must not touch the baseline or the court until the ball is struck.
  2. Service Sequence: After scoring each point, the service sequence begins from the right-hand service box and alternates between the server’s right and left-hand service boxes. This means you’ll start serving from the right-hand box and then switch to the left-hand box for your next serve. The sequence continues throughout the game.
  3. Underhand Serve: Unlike in tennis, pickleball serves typically underhand. This means you must hit the ball while it’s below waist level, and your paddle hand remains below your waist at all times during the serve.
  4. Contact: The ball must be struck with the paddle below the waist. You can’t let the ball bounce before hitting it. The serve is executed by swinging the paddle upward to strike the ball over the net and into the opponent’s service box.
  5. Diagonal Serve: The ball must be served diagonally, meaning it must cross both the net and the non-volley zone (often referred to as the “kitchen”) before it’s allowed to be hit by the receiving team. The serve must land in the opponent’s diagonal service box.
  6. Faults: A fault occurs if any of the following happens:
    • The ball lands outside the diagonal service box.
    • The ball fails to clear the net.
    • The ball lands in the non-volley zone.
    • The server steps on or over the baseline before hitting the ball.
  7. Foot Faults: The server’s feet must remain behind the baseline until the ball is struck. Stepping on or over the baseline before contact is a foot fault.
  8. Let Serves: If the ball touches the net and still lands in the correct service box, it’s considered a “let serve” and does not count as a fault. The server gets another attempt.
  9. Double Bounce Rule: After the serve, the receiving team must let the ball bounce before hitting it. The serving team must also let the ball bounce before hitting it. This ensures a fair start to the point. After both sides have completed these initial bounces, the ball can be hit before or after a bounce.

Remember that pickleball rules may vary slightly based on the specific rules followed in your region or among your group of players. Always familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines for your particular pickleball game.

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How many ways can you serve in pickleball?

How many ways can you serve in pickleball?

In pickleball, there are two types of serves that are considered legal. The first is the traditional pickleball volley serve, where the ball is struck before it touches the ground. The second is the hit serve, where the ball is dropped from any height and then struck after it bounces on the ground. Here is how to do it right:

1. Volley Serve

The volley serve is a key skill that can significantly improve pickleball games. It has proven to be useful especially when needing to attack and build a point while maintaining control over the rallies. By dropping the ball and hitting it before it bounces, you gain power on your serve as well as an ideal angle to keep your opponent guessing. Additionally, it is less likely for errors or double-faults since you need not worry about picky court services rules, such as having a certain contact zone or specific height above the ground at which you have to drop your ball.

2. Hit Serve

The pickleball drop serve, or bounce serve, is a great way for beginners or players with disabilities to get into the game without feeling like they’re falling behind everyone else. This type of serve allows the ball to bounce more than once before it is hit by either the server or the receiving opponent. It can be used in any match and works well for players who are intimidated by trying to execute a traditional volley serve.

Maddie Toren’s demonstration of both types of pickleball serves is very helpful for those just starting out. Not only does she show both techniques in motion, but Maddie also clarifies rules 1, 2, and 3 which should be followed when serving. Rules 1 and 2 states that the player can not jump nor throw the ball while rule 3 requires that when hitting they must disregard those rules. With their newfound knowledge of how to complete a proper drop serve, players should feel more confident on the court as they progress in this enjoyable sport.

What does let’s mean in pickleball?

The concept of a “let” in pickleball is a fairly recent development. A let serve was initially classified as hitting the net, then landed within the correct service box. This rule was patterned after the tennis regulations, which call for replaying any let serves. Despite the near-duplication of rules, pickleball matches often saw more difficulty and disputes concerning such serves than their tennis counterparts.

The USA Pickleball Rules Committee finally addressed this issue by altering the rulebook: any mention of a “let” serve was removed completely. The committee argued that requiring replays made for an unenjoyable playing experience further complicated things for both participants and referees alike, and therefore had to go. Since this formal change took effect, there have been far fewer disputes concerning such serves during pickleball matches – making for a much smoother environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1: How do you serve in pickleball?

Answer: Serving in pickleball is a crucial aspect of the game. To perform a proper serve, begin with an athletic stance and position yourself behind the baseline. Hold the pickleball paddle with your non-dominant hand, and the ball in your dominant hand. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to the baseline.

FAQ 2: What are the different types of pickleball serves?

Answer: There are various types of serves in pickleball. The most common serving style is the underhand stroke, where the ball is hit with an upward motion from below the waist level, ensuring the paddle head is below the wrist joint. Drop serves, deep serves, and traditional pickleball volley serves are some examples of different serve techniques.

FAQ 3: Can I use any type of serve during a pickleball match?

Answer: Yes, you can use different types of serves based on your playing style and proficiency. Choosing the right serve depends on the situation and your opponent’s weaknesses. Keep in mind the rules and regulations, such as the two-bounce rule and foot fault, to avoid any faults or penalties.

FAQ 4: Are there any specific rules for serving in pickleball?

Answer: Yes, there are specific rules for serving in pickleball. The serve should be initiated from below the waist level, with the paddle head below the wrist at contact. The server should stand behind the baseline and aim to keep the serve within the non-volley zone until the ball is contacted.

FAQ 5: Can I use a drop serve as an advanced player?

Answer: Yes, a drop serve can be beneficial for advanced players. It involves adding extra spin and control to the serve, making it more difficult to return for the opponent. However, it requires practice and precision to execute properly, as any faults could give the opponent an advantage.


Serving in pickleball requires practice and precision to execute properly. The most common serve is the underhand stroke, followed by the drop, deep, and traditional volley serves. To ensure a successful serve, players should abide by certain rules such as keeping the paddle below the wrist joint at contact and not jumping or throwing the ball. It is important for both beginner and advanced players to be aware of these rules and practice different types of serves in order to gain an advantage over their opponents.


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