If you are someone trying to learn the different rules applied in pickleball games, you should have a clear idea about the pickleball serving rules since there are a lot of controversies on the topic.
Like most other games, there are some specific rules for pickleball sport. And, you must follow the rules if you are a professional player. Beginners should have a clear idea about the game and the important rules followed there. One of the things that set pickleball apart from other racket sports is the underhand serve. Besides, the variety of serving styles makes it extraordinary from other games.
Taking time to understand the rules as a beginner is understandable. However, most rules are simple and straightforward —all you need to understand and follow them appropriately while playing.
What are the basic pickleball serving rules?
The paddle’s highest part has to be below your wrist when you’re making contact with the ball.
Players will start serving the ball from the right side of the court, and they will stand on the service court/ non-volley zone while serving the ball from the reverse side of the net.
The server wrist has to be below his waist; when he is contacting the ball to hit over on one side and try to get more power on it, everything must be down below his waist when he is making contact.
The player will keep serving the ball till she/he misses the point; he/she will exchange sides with each point. A player must hit the ball before touching the ground, but he needs to drop the ball to serve it.
If the ball can’t clear the net and reach in the opponent’s court or a specific line inside the receiver’s court, it will not consider as a legal serve. Plus, if your ball reaches the kitchen line, it is known as illegal pickleball serves.
Before going for the next serve, the server should mention the score. There are THREE numbers for the point of the pickleball game. The serving team scores the first number while the receiving team scores the second number —the third number is either “1” or “2.”
Whether the serving team has the opportunity to serve for the 1st or 2nd time depends on the third number. When the game begins, the first server will have only a single chance to serve. The same goes for the opponent team, and they will pass the ball if they lose a point. Both teams will get two opportunities to serve once the first serve for both teams is completed.
To understand the serving rules, let’s go through a practical example. Suppose you begin the pickleball game by serving first. To serve the ball, you will stand at the back of the baseline and start hitting the ball from the court’s right-hand side. You call out at “0-0-Start” and serve the ball to the opponents. Your team (Team X) wins the serve; hence you will get a second chance to serve.
Now, you will call out “1-0-Start” and continue serving from the opposite side of the court where you have served initially. Then, you lose the second point, and it is time for the opponent to serve (Team Y). Server 1 on Team Y calls “0-1-1″ and starts hitting the ball from the court’s right side. Team X doesn’t move from their position; they just changed their side once. If team Y fails to earn the point, they will pass the ball to server 2 on Team Y. Server 2 succeed in acquiring the point, and then they will change their side and calls out “1-1-2” before the next serve.
Now, Team Y fails to earn the point, and they will hand over the ball to Team X to serve. Instead of you, your teammate will start serving the ball, and before serving, he will call out “1-1-1.” If your teammate fails to earn a point, you will serve the ball to opponents and call out “1-1-2.” You will serve from the left side as you have positioned yourself from that side.
Now you succeed in earning the point; you call out “2-1-2.” This is the way the whole game will continue to be played until one team reaches 11 points.
No player will get a chance to serve a second time if he misses the first serve to earn the point because there is no double pickleball serving faults. However, if the ball touches the net mistakenly but reaches the service court, you will get another chance to serve.
Players must keep both feet at the back of the baseline for serve. The server’s foot can’t touch the court area or the baseline until AFTER the server hits the ball.
Read more “Illegal Pickleball Paddles“
What is the legal way to serve Pickleball?
Knowing pickleball serving rules is crucial to play the game properly. Unless you serve the ball, you can’t earn the point and win the match. Learning pickleball games is easy, but it is not easy to become an expert within a short time. Fitness, techniques, and countless practice sessions help to win more matches.
However, there are some techniques you can follow to win over opponents and boost you’re playing skills without doing any illegal pickleball serves. Avoid serving the ball in a rush manner. Go for a simple, relaxed, and natural motion to serve the ball; it is one of the most effective techniques you can follow.
Set a precise spot to serve the ball so that opponents will find it tricky to hit back the ball efficiently. Make sure to keep your head down, pick the perfect spot, and focus the ball before hitting it.
To get a consistent serve, avoid using only your arm or wrist motion. It will prevent maximizing your full potential on that serve. Instead, use all your muscles together from your legs to your core to hit a good, consistent, and strong serve. This type of serve is known as whole-body motion.
A lot of mid-level players prefer to serve with the open stance, right up at the line. It is not the best way to serve the ball unless you are a highly expert. Instead, you should use a closed or semi-open stance before using a fully open stance. For an open stance, your chest will be parallel to the net, but for a closed-open stance, you will face the net. This technique will help you swing through the ball efficiently, and it will be easy for you to rotate the body through the serve.
Remember, tension is the enemy of power. As a beginner, you may tense your paddle’s grip and play like a jerky or tight motion to hit the ball vigorously. This type of serve will not help you to achieve a consistent serve. Instead, you should loosen the grip slightly and play a smooth swinging motion from low to high to hit through the ball.
Avoid taking back your paddle like a very big looping backswing. Just simply turn your shoulders, and that will get your paddle most of the way there. It will help you get all the power you need to hit through the ball from low to high.
Most beginners try to hit the ball right out of their hands. However, that’s really hard and awkward. The most consistent way you can serve the ball is by holding the ball in front of you (like hip level), taking your backswing, and hitting the ball through a smooth motion.
Is there any difference between Pickleball serving rules doubles and single?
Double scoring and single scoring are almost similar, except the single-serving team has only one server to serve the ball. You need to serve from the right-hand side of the court when you have an even number point. On the contrary, the left-side is applicable for serving when you have an odd number point. There are two types of scores for a single pickleball game: server’s score and receiver’s score.
What are service faults for pickleball games?
- If the serving player fails to hit the ball before it touches the ground, it is known as a service fault. However, if the ball reaches the ground swinging at it, it is not a service fault.
- If the ball touches a permanent object close to the outside of the court like an overhead tree, it can lead to service fault.
- If the ball contacts the server or his teammate’s body or cloth physically, it can be defined as a service fault.
- If the ball goes outside of the pickleball court or exceeds the ground marking, it is a service fault.
- If the ball falls to the non-volley zone, it is also considered as a service fault.
How to find out illegal Pickleball Serves?
Often players don’t have proper knowledge about the rules and regulations of pickleball games. Some of them are unaware of their playing style and think their playing style is correct and legal (but actually, it is not). That’s why it is essential to know all the essential rules about the games to avoid violating the serve rules.
You can’t deny the situation; the more quickly you realize it, the better it is. Let’s look at some techniques that will help you find out whether you are serving and playing in the right way..
Practice, Practice, and Practice!
It is all said, “Practice makes a man perfect.” Nothing can polish up your skills than giving more effort and time to the game you play. That’s why practice as much as you can, but remember, don’t always play hard, instead play smart. When you practice the game regularly, you can understand how you can improve your performance and correct yourself from the mistakes.
Make yourself aware of all the necessary things
The simplest things often seem the most challenging thing to understand. Don’t hesitate to learn the pickleball rules and research everything correctly to know how everything works. Keep training yourself by reading authentic books of pickleball games.
Play with professional players and get suggestions from them. Tell them to comment about your playing style, whether your service style is legal. If you can’t find any professionals, watch YouTube videos uploaded by professional players. It will help you to boost your serving skill correctly. Also, watch professional tournaments to understand how they play and how they serve their balls.
Record, Watch, Learn, & Repeat!
Another thing you can do is recording your own game. It is a simple yet lucrative technique to keep track of your playing activities. While playing pickleball sport, you may not figure out whether you are playing in the right manner or not. But when you record it, you can watch your body movements and how you serve the ball. Then you compare your playing style with professional players to find out the legal and illegal pickleball serves.
Brush Up Your Agility Power
No one can deny good skills are required to play like professionally. But you also want to ameliorate your fitness level to become the master of the game. There are many exercises you can practice to polish up your agility power, and other fitness issues.
Is It Illegal To Put Spin On The Ball As You Serve?
If you follow the pickleball game rules appropriately, there is no problem putting a spin on the ball while serving the ball.
Is It Illegal To Throw The Ball In The Air Before A Serve?
Like table tennis games, many pickleball sportspeople prefer to toss the ball in the air before a serve. As it doesn’t mention anywhere, it is not illegal to serve in this way.
How confident are you after learning pickleball serving rules? Are you still in confusion about illegal pickleball serves? We hope you not because we have already discussed all the necessary that you should know to serve pickleball ball correctly. Happy reading!