Pickleball serving rules & their importance.

The pickleball serving rules are quite simple and easy to learn and understand. Learning these skills and mastering them can help beginners to win games easily. But along with the rules, it’s also important to know the basics about the service and its types.

The last major change in the service rules was made around two years ago in 2021 and continued the same afterward. These changes were made to improve the experience of the game because the whole game depends on service. Losing the serve is like losing the game or letting the game get out of hand.

What are Pickleball serving rules?

There are 6 most known rules for serving in pickleball that a player has to follow to avoid faults and losing serve. Let’s discuss this in-depth and learn how to serve in pickleball to score better and make an easy win.

1: Serve must be underhand.

You have to make an underhand serve in pickleball to avoid fault. It is a compulsory rule and rather than that you will lose your serve and it will be a sideout in singles and in doubles the serve will move to the second player if the first player makes a fault. And also the ball must be visible to the referee and opponent player when serving.

2: The position of the paddle when serving.

The paddle must need to be below your waistline when makes contact with the ball on a serve shot. So this rule depends on your height and if you are taller then it will be easier for you to hit the ball and make it cross the net and avoid let’s.

pickleball serve rules

3: pickleball serving order.

At the start of the game, a player will always serve from the right side of the court to the diagonally opposite service court. So according to this rule, the ball must land on the crosscourt on the opposite side inside the court area not outside of it nor in the kitchen area. And if the server wins the rally he will move to the left side of the court and will serve again with the same rules. And if he loses the rally the next player will get the serve.

4: Motion of the paddle.

According to this rule, the head of the paddle also needs to be below your wrist when moving to hit the ball. This rule also makes the paddle move upward automatically when you hit the ball which is also necessary according to pickleball serving rules.

5: Right position of feet.

The position of your feet matters when you serve in pickleball. According to this rule, you must need to have both feet out of the baseline (behind it) and at least one foot touching the ground. Also, keep your foot upright between the sideline and centerline imaginary extension.

You have to keep both feet out of the baseline but make sure to stay inside the outbound area. This rule also fulfills the requirement of pickleball serving line rules. Jumping or moving forward when serving is prohibited so always try to avoid them.

pickleball serving line rule.

6: Serving attempts.

Only one serve at a time is allowed per server. This means when a server loses his serve he will get the second serve on the next turn. Before the year 2021 a let is replayed and the server gets one more chance but according to new pickleball serving rules, a let will not replayed instead the game stays continue. Important about let,

  1. A let is only considered when the ball hits the upper side of the net only on a serve shot and manages to land in the correct serving court.
  2. If the ball touches the net cord and lands somewhere else instead of the opposite serving court, according to pickleball serving rules this will be a fault not let.

Is there anything else to know?

Yes of course it does not ends here, there is a little more information a beginner should know to improve his experience in pickleball. Like serve, its one of the most important factor in pickleball and improving serve can help to win a game easily.

How to improve serves in pickleball.

There are various methods you can use to improve your serve in pickleball as it’s one of the most important winning factors in the game.

  • To improve serve in pickleball the first thing you need to do is practice. Play as much as you can. For this purpose, you can also mark a line on a wall similar to a net and start practicing.
  • Try to hit the ball with medium and high force to learn the impact in practicing sessions. So during the game, you can use the experience to win rather than taking chances with foolish shots.

Pickleball serving techniques.

There are two main types of techniques being used in pickleball for serving.

  1. Drop serve in pickleball.
  2. Volley serve in pickleball.

Pickleball drop serve rules.

This method is mostly used by the experienced players. The way to play this serve is the server drops the ball on the ground with one hand and lets it bounce and when it reaches at correct height hit it with the paddle holding it in the other hand. The remaining rules are the same as mentioned above and the only difference is the drop before hit.

The ball could be dropped from any height there is no hard and fast rule for it also you can even let it bounce more than once means 2, or 3 times.

Pickleball volley serve.

A serve is considered a volley serve when the player hits the ball without letting it touch the ground. In this method players first toss the ball into the air release it normally from hand and hit it with the paddle holding in the other hand when the ball reaches under the waistline. These methods explain the way you release the ball from your hand, there are two further pickleball serving techniques depending on how you hit the ball,

  1. Pickleball backhand serve: To make it easy to understand let’s consider you are holding your paddle in your right hand. You volley a ball and hit and your hand moves from the left side of your body to the right side. This is comparatively easy and best for beginners.
  2. Front-hand serve: In this method, you are holding the paddle same in your right hand, and when hit the ball your hand moves from right to left side.

Advantages and disadvantages of both services.

The first major advantage of a drop serve is it can help a server add a little spin to the ball when serving. The spin helps to distract the opponent and makes it hard for him to hit it back. This is mostly used by beginners and middle-level players. But don’t forget using or applying anything on the surface of the paddle is illegal because in the past many players used this way for extra spin serve in pickleball.

pickleball spin serve

Another advantage is it is easier for beginners to play without miss-hit. The Backhand method is more suitable for this type of service. With this method the chances of a successful service increase by more than 80 to 90 percent.

But it could have some drawbacks as well the first one is its slow speed as compared to pickleball volley serve. With the help of volley serve a player can hit the ball with more power which means more speed and the effect of air will be less as compared to drop serve.

The volley serve is used by professional players due to its statistics like power, speed, and less effect of air. The changes in rules are often made in pickleball because it is still getting into better shape but you got the latest version here.

Illegal pickleball serves.

There are 6 commonly known illegal pickleball serves or service faults according to pickleball serving rules that a player can make in game. So, always try to avoid these six things,

  1. Foot fault in pickleball: This fault is more common in beginners as they are not used to it. So always try to keep at least one foot touching the ground behind the baseline whenever you serve. Also, try to avoid touching or stepping beyond the baseline and sideline.
  2. Tossing the ball: For a volley serve if a server tosses a ball upward and fails to strike it before it hits the ground is also considered a fault. So the timing matters a lot for this kind of shot because you also can not hit it early as well before it gets lower than your waistline.
  3. Hitting above the waistline: Sometimes players mistakenly hit the ball higher than the waistline. This often happens when a player gets nervous due to several reasons like if the opponent is about to win or has much lead or any other reason.
  4. The slice serve: The underhand slice motion or sidearm slice motion was used to add extra spin to the ball which is now forbidden in pickleball. These kinds of tricks make games harder for beginners.
  5. Serving with the wrong sequence: Sometimes players forgot the serving sequence and this happens mostly in doubles. If a wrong player serves or a player serves on the wrong court is a fault. And for doubles sometimes the server serves in the correct court but near the center line and on the opponent’s side the player on the other court mistakenly hits it back and makes a fault.
  6. Serve goes out of bounds: This means when a player serves a ball and the ball lands anywhere instead of the correct diagonal court. The ball could land out of court lines or inside the kitchen area which is prohibited on a serve shot and will be a fault.

So it is always better to avoid these pickleball illegal serve to avoid losing points and serving turn as well.

Importance of a pickleball serve.

It plays a key role in winning a match in a pickleball game that which side is serving. The reason behind this, in pickleball only the serving side can score, and what does this exactly mean? This clearly states in the official pickleball serving rules book if a team serves and wins the rally that team will be awarded a score.

On the other hand, if the serving side makes any kind of fault in serve or loose rally due to any reason/fault the opponent team or player will get to serve next this depends on scoring and serving rules for single and double with no score addition on their scoreboard.

 Also, one more thing to know is who serves first in pickleball. Any method could be used for determining who will serve first because nothing is mentioned in the official pickleball serving rules book. Like toss with a coin or Rock Paper Scissors it depends on the players to choose their desired method.


This article is written according to official pickleball serving rules. The changing in these rules are often made but you do not need to worry about it because we update our content regularly. The additional data is collected from many players playing pickleball regularly.

Also, checkout if you want to learn about the basic rules of pickleball. If you want to participate in a tournament of pickleball you can get the information about it from the link below.

There was the rule before 2021 if a let happens then the serve will replayed but now it’s changed. According to the new rules update the game will be played continues even if a let happens.

Yes, it is allowed according to pickleball serving rules. As mentioned above this is the most desired method used by intermediate players so far and also the easiest way to serve.

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