Are you a pickleball enthusiast who is on the lookout for ways to improve your game? Well, then you’ve come to the right place! One of the critical aspects of the sport is getting your serve right. But have you ever wander what is a legal pickleball serve? Fear not if it sounds alien to you because, in this blog post, we will take an in-depth look at what constitutes a legal serve and how it can help elevate your pickleball skills.
A legal serve is one of the most important skills for any pickleball player. It involves the player hitting the ball in a way that complies with the rules and regulations set out by the sport’s governing body.
Whether you are just coming to grips with pickleball or have been playing for some time, understanding how to execute a successful legal serve will help you become a better overall player. Let’s take a look!
The Rules of Pickleball
When playing pickleball, there are two main types of serves. The underhand serve and the overhead serve. Both have their own specific rules you must follow in order for the serve to be legal.
The underhand serve is the most common type of serve in pickleball. To perform an underhand serve, the player must start with the paddle behind their back and between their legs.
They then bring the paddle up and hit the ball underneath their body, using an underhanded motion. The ball must then bounce once on their side of the court before going over the net.
The overhead serve is less common than the underhand serve. To perform an overhead serve, the player must start with the paddle above their head and behind their back. They then hit the ball over their head, using an overhanded motion. The ball must then bounce once on their side of the court before going over the net.
The Types of Pickleball Serves
There are various types of pickleball serves that you can use in order to score points. Let’s explore the two distinct ways of serving in pickleball. The volley serve and the drop serve.
PICKLEBALL VOLLEY SERVE
To execute a volley serve, you need to hit the ball before it bounces after tossing or dropping it. It should be hit below your waist height and in an upward arc, as per serving rules. Previously, this was the only allowable serve. The volley serve is the best way to add power to your serve. It hit it from the highest possible point.
PICKLEBALL DROP SERVE
Players with disabilities who found it challenging to perform a volley serve, drop serve was introduced initially them.
The drop serve involves dropping the ball from any height, with no jumping or throwing of the ball allowed. The ball can bounce before being hit, and the player can hit the ball in any way they like, disregarding rules 1, 2, and 3 below.
Drop serves are ideal for beginner and intermediate players who want to ensure that their serves are legal. They’re also useful while practicing or trying out new techniques such as generating spin or executing backhand serves
According to PickleballUSA “RULES UPDATE (1/25/2021) – A new provisional rule allows for a “drop serve.” The server has the option of dropping the ball and hitting it after the bounce. The ball can be dropped from any height but cannot be thrown, tossed, or otherwise released with any added force to bounce it.”
Although the traditional pickleball serve is still the most common style, this may change in the future as pickleball is continually evolving. Once you’re aware of the new rules, make sure to use the serve as a WEAPON with an aggressive approach.
Standard Pickleball Serve Rules
To serve legally in pickleball, the player must hit the ball below the waist and above the knees with an underhand motion. The player must also keep their paddle below their waist and behind the baseline.
The ball must be hit into the air, across the net into the opposite court. It is not legal to bounce the ball before hitting it. The player has two chances to hit a legal serve. If the player fails to hit a legal serve on their second try, they lose the point.
2023 Pickleball Serve Rule Updates in 2023
The sport of pickleball is introducing six significant rule changes that will impact the way serves are performed.
Rule 4.A.5 – NO MORE SPINNING THE BALL
The rule change specifies that players can only use one bare hand to drop the ball for a volley serve. Spinning the ball in any other way is not permitted. This means that the popular Zane Navratil and Morgan Evans chainsaw serve is no longer allowed.
Rule 4.A.6 – THE SERVER MUST HIT THE BALL AFTER IT BOUNCES.
The only change to this rule is that the ball can bounce as many times as the player likes. It can bounce anywhere on the playing surface.
Rule 4.A.5 – VISIBLE RELEASE TO THE RECEIVER AND REFEREE.
When performing a volley serve, the ball must be released from the player’s hand. The release must be visible to the opponent and the referee to avoid any secret spins.
Rule 4.B.8 – ASK THE REFEREE
Players can now ask the referee to confirm the score, the correct server, receiver, or player position before the serve occurs, and challenge or confirm a called score.
Rule 4.K – CORRECTING THE SCORE
If the server or referee calls the wrong score, play shall continue to the end of the rally. The correction will be made before the next serve. If a player stops playing after the serve is taken due to an incorrect score call, it is a fault.
Rule 7.J – CONTACTING PERMANENT OBJECTS
The server has ten seconds to take their serve, and if the ball inadvertently touches a wall or fence before bouncing on the court, there is no fault, and the server can continue within the ten seconds.
Pros and Cons of Different Pickleball Serves
There are several different types of pickleball serves, and each has its own set of pros and cons. Here is a breakdown of the most popular serves, so you can decide which one is right for you.
- Forehand Serve: The forehand serve is the most basic and commonly used serve in pickleball. To execute it, hold the paddle in your dominant hand and hitting the ball with a forehand stroke. The main advantage of this serve is that it is relatively easy to master. However, it can be difficult to generate a lot of power with this serve, making it less effective against advanced players.
- Backhand Serve: The backhand serve is similar to the forehand serve, but instead of using your dominant hand, you hit the ball with your non-dominant hand. This serve can be tricky to master, but it gives you more control over the direction of the ball. Additionally, it is easier to generate power with this type of serve, making it more effective against advanced players.
- Overhead Serve: The overhead serve is the most powerful type of pickleball serve. To execute it, hold the paddle above your head and hitting the ball with a downward stroke. This type of serve is very effective against beginners and intermediate players who have difficulty returning high balls.
However, it can be difficult to control where the ball goes with this type of serve, making it less effective against advanced players.
Types of Legal Pickleball Serves
A legal pickleball serve is one that is within the rules of the game. There are a few different types of legal pickleball serves, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.
The most common type of legal pickleball serve is the underhand serve. This type of service is easy to control and can be very effective at keeping your opponents off-balance. However, it can be difficult to generate power with an underhand serve, so you may need to hit the ball harder than you would with other types of serves.
Another type of legal pickleball serve is the topspin serve. This type of serve is more difficult to control, but it can be very effective at keeping your opponents from being able to return the ball effectively. However, because it is more difficult to control, you may need to practice this type of serve more before using it in a game situation.
The last type of legal pickleball serve is the slice serve. This type of serve is similar to the topspin serve, but it has a slicing motion that makes it difficult for opponents to return the ball. again, because it is more difficult to control, you may need to practice this type of serve more before using it in a game situation.
A legal pickleball serve is one that follows the official rules set by the International Pickleball Federation (IFP) or the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA). The server must hit the ball below their waist, and the ball must be struck in an upward motion.
A drop serve is when the server drops the ball from any height (no jumping or throwing of the ball allowed). The ball must bounce on the server’s side of the court before being struck. The drop serve is the other legal serve technique in pickleball.
A volley serve is when the server hits the ball before it bounces, while a drop serve is when the server drops the ball so that it bounces on their side of the court before being hit.
As of 2023, the IFP and USAPA have banned players from putting an additional spin on the ball when tossing the ball into the air prior to striking it. The release of the ball must also be visible to the opponent and the referee to ensure that no secretive spin is placed on the ball using anything other than the player’s hand.
With the right technique and form, you can serve a legal pickleball that will be difficult for your opponent to return. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the rules and practice serves until you find one that works best for you. Don’t forget to stay focused on positioning as well, this will help make sure that your serve is consistent and successful. Good luck!