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Serve Your Best

No one wants to start off on the wrong foot in a pickleball game, which is why it is important to practice your serve! We talked to Josh, a pickleball coach from Pickleball Rocks to share more about the serve and how to improve it. Josh has been a tennis coach for 11 years and has been playing pickleball for over 8 years.

What are the main pickleball rules for the serve?

1: The serve is an underhand motion

2: The ball needs to be struck below your waist

3: The head of your paddle needs to be below your wrist when you make contact with the ball

How should a player position themselves for the serve?

You want to position your body behind the baseline facing in the direction that you are serving the ball. Keep your arms slightly bent and hold the ball below your waist out in front of your body. You should set up a couple feet behind the baseline so you can step into your server to help get the ball deeper.

How do you teach a new pickleball player to serve?

We first start by having the player toss a ball underhand toward the back box. Then when they get used to that motion, we let them take their paddle and try hitting a ball over. We have them hold the ball below their waist. They start with the paddle behind them and swing it through like a softball toss. We start them behind the baseline and have them step into their serve like a softball pitcher.

Do different paddle brands affect the serve?

Not too much. If you are using your body correctly any brand of paddle will be fine.

What are some more advanced techniques or strategies that players can apply to their serve?

The deeper the better! The returner is generally going to try to hit their return and run up to the net to join their partner. The deeper your serve is the easier your third shot is going to be because you are going to have more room to hit into. 

What do you recommend for a player looking to improve their serve?

Get a bucket of balls and put a target out on the other side of the net. I use a hula hoop. Aim for that target until you can consistently hit it.

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