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Pickleball Serving Rules Every Player Should Know


Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing participation sports in America. A mix of badminton, tennis and ping-pong, the game is played with a plastic ball and a paddle on an indoor or outdoor court. If you are ready to jump into the pickleball craze, here are the pickleball serving rules you need to know.

Basic Pickleball Serving Rules

Unlike tennis, a pickleball serve isn’t an offensive weapon but rather the means to put the ball in play to your opponent. Your goal is to hit the ball to the center of the service court diagonally opposite from you. Here are the rules to follow:

  1. Stand behind the baseline.
  2. Use an underhand stroke in an upward arc to hit the ball at a point below your waist. In addition, the highest point of your paddle needs to be below your wrist when you hit the ball. Although this sounds complicated, some practice on the court should help you correctly master this technique.
  3. The ball must clear the net and the non-volley zone and line. It is out if the ball lands in the non-volley zone or hits the line.
  4. You can repeat the serve attempt if the ball touches the net but lands in the correct court. 
  5. Only one serve attempt is allowed per player.
  6. For each new game, the first team to serve is only allowed one fault before service transfers to opponents. After that, both team members have the chance to serve and fault before the service switches to the other team.
  7. Whenever the opposing team wins a serve, the right-hand court player always starts play.
  8. Once you have served the ball, get in the ready position behind the baseline for the return volley.
  9. Don’t move into the court until the third shot is hit.

Updated Pickleball Serving Rules

In 2021, a provisional rule was added to allow a “drop serve,” which gives the serving player the ability to drop the pickleball and hit it over the net after it bounces. There are no height restrictions for the drop, but no added force can be used to bounce it.

If your skills advance you to being a pro player, there is one new rule for the 2022 season you need to know. The Professional Pickleball Association has outlawed the spin serve, meaning you can not spin the ball’s release before the serve.

Best Paddles To Help Ace Your Serve

New pickleball paddles are released every year. Whether you want a lightweight paddle, a textured graphite surface or a honeycomb grip, check out our reviews on Pickleball Portal to find the best products to up your game.

Now that you know the pickleball serving rules, you can pick up a paddle at your local court and give this popular game a try for yourself.

Check out Pickleball Portal to access unfiltered and informative pickleball news and stories and the latest gear reviews. We can even help you go from beginner to pro in a year!

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About Dan Langston

With experience in the ecotourism industry and time well spent as a fly fishing guide in the remote absaroka mountain range for 6 years, Dan brings a unique perspective on customer service to the digital world. As the operator, Dan is now committed to revitalizing Pickleball Portal and plans to build a support system for content creators and provide helpful information for the pickleball community. dan@pickleballportal.com

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