How To Serve In Pickleball?

Pickleball is a fun sport for people of all ages, shapes, and sizes to play. It can be played indoors or outdoors with players on either two teams or individually; it can also be mixed doubles. Pickleball is often referred to as the “fastest-growing sport in America” because it requires quick reflexes and agility – you never know what will happen next! 

If you are new to pickleball, this blog post will help you get started by teaching you how to serve in pickleball. You’ll learn about different types of serves, when to use them, and how they work. Let’s dive in now!

How To Serve In Pickleball?

There are three important things you must keep in mind when serving in this game. Continue reading to learn them in detail!

Basic Rules 

#1. Pickleball is a sport that uses an underhand serve to hit the ball, unlike tennis which has an overhand serving style. The serve is an essential part of pickleball because it’s used to hit below the navel (or belly button) while contact:

  • You can stroke your arm up in an arc to make the serve, or you might use a backhand or forehand motion.
  • To ensure the most efficient use of your paddle, you should keep it level with both hands and arms. 

After the contact, you can do whatever you like with the pickleball paddle.

Basic rules of pickleball

#2. In order to make a good serve, you must first clear the seven-foot non-volley zone in front of your own net. Then, start with your right hand and alternate between servings diagonally placed across from each other, starting at court 1 (right). The server’s job is simple: return all balls back into play as quickly and effectively as possible!

#3. Players must hit the ball in the air during this process, so it bounces high into your opponent’s court, and then you can return with power to win points! This is one of those things that many players don’t know because they bounce or flick serves instead (which doesn’t count).

#4. A serve can only be attempted once unless the ball touches the net and it lands in your court on accident (in which case you’re allowed to take a second attempt).

#5. At the beginning of the game, players on court one are allowed only one fault before giving up their ball to opponents!

Only one fault before giving up the ball to the opponent

Foot Placement When Serving

In pickleball, you need to be mindful of where your feet are at the point when contact between paddle and ball occurs. One foot must remain in contact with the ground behind the baseline, or else it will not make a good serve!

This is a great rule to keep in mind when you’re playing pickleball. You can’t touch either of your feet outside or on the baseline and sideline, as well as anywhere along that imaginary extension line! Once you have made contact with the serve, it is allowed to put your feet on the court.

Serving Sequence

  • A doubles game is like a tennis match, with two players instead of one. The server gets to serve until one side commits an error, and then it’s the other side’s turn!
  • The initial serving team has the first right to serve before service passes to their opponents.
  • The first serve is always from the right-hand court. 
  • You will need to switch the courtside once you score.
  • When serving in doubles, your partner’s side of the court is where you’ll be after they lose a point.
  • In a singles game, the server serves from either side of the court depending on their score (right side if the score is even, and left side if it is odd).

Pickleball Serve

How To Improve Your Pickleball Serve

Find A Pre-Serve Routine & Stick To It

If you want the best possible shot, it’s important that your routine is comfortable and work for all of those pickleball skills.

A pre-serve routine is the best way to improve your shooting. Like a basketball player who has been practicing his free throws, you can also get ready for points with this strategy! Pick out what works best and repeat it before each match—you’ll be glad that when it’s game time, there are no surprises on the court.

Before you serve, say the score, and then get ready. This will help keep your body from having to think about what’s going on at the same time as doing it! 

Perfect Your Pickleball Serving Technique 

A common fault among those who play pickleball is the tendency to flick their wrist or bend at an angle when serving. This can cause inconsistencies in your swing, making it hard for you to repeat what was just done perfectly! 

A player’s goal should be to perfect their reliable and consistent service and serve motion. Indeed, a difficult-to-repeat action will lead them in the wrong direction of striving for excellence!

To optimize your pickleball game, you should make sure that the swing is more like a pendulum from the shoulder than the wrist or elbow. A loose and fluid motion will give better results for both power shots as well as finesse play!

Playing pickleball in double

A small tip: To ensure that the ball goes where you want it to, aim your paddle in the direction of play and extend your arm before swinging.

Additionally, the goal is for the ball to go over their opponent’s net. This becomes especially important when you’re a new player, so keep that in mind!

Select Your target 

When you’ve found your target, aim the face of the paddle where you want to hit the ball. Many golf pros say that if toes are pointing before striking, this is where it will go in pickleball except for one thing- directional indicators change depending on which side they’re facing!

After making contact with the ball, make sure you follow through so that your paddle is pointing directly at where you want it. This will help ensure consistency and give you a more likely chance of hitting your target!

Select the target

Serve Deep 

The single most important serve in pickleball is one that hits deep into your opponent’s baseline. This fundamental will help you win more points!  Deep ball serving is a great strategy, as it makes your opponent work much harder to hit that return. Also, by targeting the opponents’ backhands, you can cause them to:

  • Use their weaker backhand to serve as a return
  • Run or move around your pickle court; you may be able to open up some room for placing the next shot with this strategy!

Mix in a serve or two to keep your opponents honest, but don’t be predictable. If they know what you’re going to do every time, they will cheat and try anticipating what shot is coming next!

Mix Up Your Serves!

If you’re looking for a good pickleball strategy, then keeping the opponent guessing is one of the key aspects. If you have different kinds in your arsenal, the opponent will be unable to find any tendencies and play towards what they think is a weakness. Here are some types of serves in pickleball:

Underhand serve

A good underhand serve starts with the ball raised above your paddle. You need to hit it and send it over the net before hitting into half of the pickleball court as quickly as possible!

Mix up your serve

Serve below waist

Some people like to serve below the waist, which is a great way of achieving an accurate movement. However, you can only do so if your racquet doesn’t extend above your waist during serves or when contacting balls. 

As we know, serving without bending down lets our body stand straight, enabling us for better balance and stability. It also allows stronger strokes because they are more powerful than regular ones performed while standing up.

Soft angle serve

The soft serve is perfect for a casual game of tennis, in which you must serve the ball diagonally. It will take some practice, but the ball is going to be hard to catch with this technique! 

If you serve the ball so that it comes in front of them, they will go forward and have an easier time hitting back into one of their sections on the court while giving themselves more opportunity for preparation. 

Hitting towards the yard line can also prompt opponents to run, which helps you prepare better regarding where to stand or run for the next shot.

High soft serve

When you serve the high soft-serve, it’s important to aim for close proximity to your opponent’s baseline. This will prompt them to estimate where their ball is going and give you more time to decide what play should come next! 

Whether you’re a skilled or unskilled player, you can always spare some extra seconds with this method. With a confident manner, this type of attack can bring about an easy win!

Power serve

When playing pickleball, the power serve is an excellent move to help you win games! It is required to send a powerful ball at a high-speed crosscourt and force the rival to move away from their baseline so that you can make low shots to where they are standing!

Serve your ball low with force to successfully win a point. If you can decide which direction is going, your chances of winning points are even greater!

Send deep shots


Now, you have some great tips on how to serve in pickleball; it’s time to put them into practice! Start with a pre-serve routine and stick with it. Then, perfect the technique of picking up the ball from the ground before serving. 

Make sure to choose your target wisely, and send deep shots over or around obstacles as often as possible. Mixing up your serves will also keep opponents guessing which one is coming next, so they can’t plan their return strategy ahead of time! 

Good luck out there on the court, and we hope these points help you become a better player!

Further reading:

Pickleball Rules | Recreational Sports and Fitness Services

Basics – Serving – USA Pickleball Association

How to Improve Your Pickleball Serve – Live Healthy

Pickleball 101: How to Return a Serve

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