Pickleball Serving – Rules & Techniques

In Pickleball, you serve by striking the ball while moving your paddle in an upward arc. You must keep your feet behind the baseline until after you’ve hit the ball, and the ball must land inside the service area on your opponent’s end of the court. (Read more about the Pickleball court layout and rules.)

There are several types of serves and strategies to think about when serving. Recent developments have created a new serve called drop serve that is different from the traditional serve. Using drop ball serves does not require you to apply ball striking rules. The serving rules may seem confusing initially, but once you learn them in depth, they will be much clearer.

Why the Pickleball Rules for Serving are Crucial:

Pickleball’s serves define how each turn will unfold and, ultimately, how each point will be scored. The more important point is that scoring in pickleball requires you to be on the team that serves. You can be prevented from scoring if you serve poorly – or worse, if you fault. Also, check the What is a Drop Shot in Pickleball?

The opposition can gain points after their next turn, which means you will lose your serve.

Play starts with a serve and continues throughout the turn. The pace of pickleball can be sped up, tension is increased, and the game will be much more satisfying when a good serve is made. Pickleball players can, however, be frustrated by a weak or illegal serve, which slows down the action. The pace of the pickleball game will remain enjoyable for all players if you follow the pickleball rules for serving. Pickleball works this way, after all!

Pickleball Serving Rules

Pickleball Serve Basics:

The right-hand service square should be started first, then alternated with the left-hand square each time at Pickleball. The serve must land on the diagonal service court after clearing the non-volley zone in front of the net.

Serving underhand with the paddle below the waist requires both feet to remain behind the back line. Bouncing the ball is not required to hit it into the air. The serving side serves until a fault in the serving is discovered. At that point, the serving side will take over the serve. It is either a serve or a return, depending on where the ball lands. Also, check the How to Play Pickleball for Beginners?

Serving requires both feet to be behind the back line. Serves are made underhanded by contacting the ball below the waist with the paddle. When the server serves, the ball must be hit in the air. Using a bounce to hit the ball should not be a good strategy for the server. Serves may be overtaken if balls land in the appropriate service courts after striking the net. Each new game allows one fault for the first serving team before handing the ball over to the opposition. Prior to passing the ball to the opposing team, both teams serve and fault. A player on the right side of the court always begins play when the receiving team wins the serve.


Rules for Serving in Pickleball:

  • Underhanded, diagonal serves must be served with both feet behind the baseline, and underhanded, diagonal serves must be served underhanded.
  • The paddle is in contact with the ball during pickleball serves below the waist. Neither serving from a bounce nor hitting the ball on the full is permitted.
  • Attempts to serve are limited to one per person.
  • Serving teams alternate sides every time they win a point.
  • In the case where the ball falls into the playing area, it is called a let. The point is then replayed by returning the ball to the server. It isn’t possible to have this happen too many times in Pickleball.
  • A new game starts with a serving team that can commit only one fault before passing the ball. The ball will then be passed over after both members of the team have served and faulted.
  • At fault, the serve is passed to the opposing team, which then serves until the fault is resolved.
  • The court’s right side serves first if the service changes sides during a game.

Volleying Rules:

  • A volleyball is a ball that is hit on the full without bouncing.
  • On both sides of the court, a seven-foot non-volley zone prohibits full-court shots. As a result, “spiking” is prevented.
  • Volleys are faulted when players step over the line.


Faults occur when:

  • Serves that happen to land in the non-volley zone (including the line) or fail to reach the receiving side.
  • Nets don’t allow balls to cross
  • It’s out of bounds when a ball lands there
  • When a ball bounces on the court, it strikes a permanent object
  • There is more than one bounce before a ball is struck back by the receiver
  • During a game, the player’s clothing or the net post is touched
  • The service is violated

Doubles Serving:

Depending on the score, the serving order for doubles is determined. Serves are made from the left side of the court if the score is odd or even. To start the game, the right-handed player serves. As long as this player is not at fault, they will continue to serve. Every time the player serves, he or she switches sides. The first serve will be on the right side, followed by the second serve on the left side. It is the partner’s responsibility to provide service when the serving team is at fault. A fault made by a serving team member will result in the opposition being granted the serve.

Updated Pickleball Serving Rules:

A new provision in 2021 allowed players to drop pickleball and hit them over the net after they bounced. Although the drop has no height restriction, it cannot be bounced with added force. Also, check the How To Score In Pickleball?

For the 2022 season, there is one rule that you need to know if your skills advance you to pro status. The Professional Pickleball Association has outlawed a spin on the ball’s release before serving.

Pro Tips for Powerful Pickleball Serve:

  • Practice and patience will help you get an effective serve even if you’re not a professional. Serving requires the use of your entire body. The potential of your serve will not be maximized if you serve with only your arm. By using all your body muscles, you can deliver consistent strong serves.
  • The best way to learn how to use a fully open stance is to start with a semi-open or closed stance. Open stances involve facing the net with your chest, while semi-open and closed stances involve facing the net with your shoulder. The closed or semi-open stance allows you to rotate your body easily.
  • Unbalanced swings are caused by shoulders, arms, and grip tensions. Tension hinders the power. Keeping them loose is essential to generating a smooth swing. Your grip will cause you to move awkwardly if you hold it tightly. Also, check the How to Choose a Pickleball Paddle?
  • It is customary for several players to take up several corners of the court for an angled serve. This shot exposes the backhand in the middle. It is common for players to struggle with backhand serves. The best way to achieve an effective result is to serve from the left. You will cover the majority of the court in your third shot with your forehand in this way. Make sure your third shot is positioned to expose your forehand side.
  • Serve with a looping backswing rather than a very backhanded loop. Too much backswing will result from taking your paddle hand too far back.
  • Focus and clear your mind again before serving by taking a deep breath. Other racquet sports can also benefit from this tip. Short and compact backswings are essential when learning the serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Does your side have to change when you serve in pickleball?

Answer: Get on the same side as the receiving team at all times. Right-side players starting on the right side are always even; left-side players starting on the right are always odd. A correctly rotated serve will always lead to an even score for the serving team.

Question 2: Can pickleball balls be tossed when being served?

Answer: If you drop the ball, it will bounce, but if you throw, throw, or otherwise release the ball with additional force, it will not bounce. Serve diagonally opposite the service court marked by the imaginary sidelines and centerline.

Question 3: Does pickleball still allow drop serves in 2022?

Answer: Currently, “drop” serves are permanent options under the 2022 rule changes. If a player serves with a “drop” serve, the ball is dropped from their hand or paddle face and hit once it bounces. You should only drop the ball, not throw it down or up.

Question 4: Can a serve to touch the kitchen line?

Answer: The kitchen rules prohibit you from touching the kitchen line or zone when volleying a ball. You can include your partner in the list of objects physically associated with you. You were also thrown into the kitchen due to your momentum after volleying a ball.

Final Thoughts:

It’s time to say goodbye to Pickleball. Pickleball’s serving rules and general gameplay can be a bit confusing at first, but once you play a few rounds, you’ll become a pro. Even though this game has a distinctive style of play, it shares many of its rules with badminton, tennis, and ping pong. Having played one of these games before will make pickleball easier for you. Also, read the Best Gamma Pickleball Paddle.

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