Pickleball Serve

Master the Pickleball Serve: Techniques, Tips, and Rules

Introduction to Pickleball Serving

Are you looking for tips on how to improve your pickleball serve? Serving is a critical component of the game and can make the difference between winning and losing. In this article, we will discuss serving techniques and rules that will help you improve your serve and avoid any penalties.

Tips for Improving Your Pickleball Serve

One coach once said to me that there is no reason to miss your serve, but inevitably, we all will miss serves. It’s important to practice consistently to increase the accuracy and speed of your serve. Here are some additional tips to help you improve your pickleball serve:

Develop a Serving Routine

Many professional players have serving routines just before serving. These routines may include bouncing the ball a certain number of times, taking a breath, or spinning their paddle. The routine of repetitive movements will help with focus and reduce missed serves. It is the same type of ritual that a basketball player follows on free throws.

Use Power From Your Shoulder, Core, Legs, and Body Rotation

Power comes from your shoulder, core, legs, body rotation, and shifting your weight into the serve. The ball will travel from your lead shoulder, so angle your lead shoulder in the direction of the targeted place.

Serve the Ball Close to the Baseline or Deep in the Serving Court

Serving close to the baseline or deep in the serving court gives you more time to prepare for your third shot and doesn’t allow your opponent to advance to the net too quickly.

Mix Up Your Serves

It’s good to mix up your serves – drive, lob, hard, soft, topspin, sidespin, backspin, etc. This strategy makes it more challenging for your opponent to anticipate and return your serve.

Slow Down, Take a Deep Breath, and Focus

The most common mistake made by players is rushing their movements while serving. Don’t rush your serve. You have ten seconds after the score is given. Slow down, take a deep breath, focus, and then serve!

Pickleball Serve Rules

Here are some important rules to keep in mind when serving:

Only One Chance to Serve

Unlike tennis, you only get one chance to serve. If you hit your serve out or into the net, your serve is over.

Serve Crosscourt

You must always serve crosscourt into the opponent’s opposite side.

Foot Placement

When the ball is served, the server’s foot must not touch the court baseline or outside of the imaginary boundary of the sideline or centerline. At least one foot must stay behind the baseline on the ground.

Service Sequence

In doubles, both players have an equal opportunity to serve and score points until they lose a point. The service must always begin on the right side of the court. If a point is scored, the server must change sides and make the following serve on the left side.

Singles Service Sequence

In singles, the server serves from the right side of the court when their score is even and from the left side when their score is odd.


Only the serving team, or in singles, the server, can score points.

Starting a New Game

At the beginning of a new game, the team serving first is allowed only one server to serve. This is why the score is announced 0-0-2. After losing the point, the opponent team then serves.

Should You Learn Power or Spin Serves?

Should you focus on power or spin serves? Some say that the serve is just a formality to get the game started, and you just need to get your serve in. However, the serve can be an offensive weapon that can set up your third shot.

If you can do more with your serve, such as pace, power, spin, deep placement, etc., and not make too many errors, then by all means, go for it! But first, try to be consistent and get all your serves in before trying anything more elaborate.

Serving in pickleball can be a make or break moment in a game. It’s important to have a consistent routine that helps you focus and reduce missed serves. Remember to take your time, get into the right headspace, and aim for the right spot on the court. Try to be as offensive with your serve as possible, but start by being consistent and getting all your serves in. Mixing up your serves can keep your opponents guessing and make it harder for them to anticipate and return. Lastly, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding serving, including the ban on spin serves in official USA Pickleball tournaments. By following these tips and guidelines, you can improve your serving and take your game to the next level.

Questions and Answers

Q: How can I improve my pickleball serve?

A: Practice consistently, develop a serving routine, use power from your shoulder, core, legs, and body rotation, serve close to the baseline, mix up your serves, and slow down to focus before serving.

Q: What are the rules for serving in pickleball?

A: Rules include only one chance to serve, serving crosscourt, correct foot placement, following the service sequence for doubles and singles, scoring, and starting a new game.

Q: Should I focus on power or spin serves?

A: Start by being consistent and getting all your serves in. Once you have achieved this, you can experiment with pace, power, spin, and deep placement to make your serve more offensive.

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