What are the 10 Serving Rules in Pickleball?

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Pickleball employs service outside scoring, meaning you can score on your serve. Due to this, service is very crucial. You cannot score points if you’re unable to serve. And you can only win if you’re able to score! We will explore the special Pickleball serving rules so that you go fully prepared on the court to begin playing.

Whether you’re a newbie to pickleball or want to brush up on the rules ahead of your next match, you must remember the pickleball service rules.

What are the new Pickleball Serving Rules?

Pickleball is a pretty simple sport, but it has some strange regulations (and terminology!) Mastering the pickleball serving rules is essential to becoming a great pickleball player at any level. Pickleball rules may initially be difficult to remember, but as you practice pickleball, they would become part of the routine.

Knowing how to initiate the point with a solid and legal serve correctly is crucial for starting the game going in the correct direction. Now let’s check the pickleball serving rules.

1. Understand how to pickleball drop serve

In pickleball, there are two methods to serve the ball. The first shot is a volley serve. So to perform a volley serve in pickleball, you should throw or let the ball go and then strike it with your paddle without letting the ball bounce on the ground (volley the serve). Moreover, this pickleball volley serve is the most convenient manner of playing on the service court.

The second technique of serving pickleball is an alternative approach known as a drop serve. The Official Pickleball Rulebook established the drop serve for participants with physical impairments (a player with one arm).

The pickleball drop serve is open to all players since it is a “provisional rule” according to the Official Rulebook. So pickleball drop serve is now authorized. But it may be modified or eliminated depending on its impact on the sport. To perform a drop serve, you should drop or release the ball from any reasonable height, either through hand or by having it roll from your paddle, and then strike it using your paddle once it bounces on the court.

Since they can achieve a higher contact point with a traditional serve than a drop serve, most skilled players choose to use it. The higher contact enables players to drive the ball further straight compared to a drop-serve contact, which will need them to strike the ball further upwards.

2. Use only upward motion for pickleball serving

There are several legal serves, but if you’re not swinging from low to high, the pickleball serves are immediately deemed an illegal serve.

Moreover, this is specified by pickleball rule 4.A.5, which stipulates that the server’s arm has to be in an upward arc when the ball is hit. You may serve using either a forehand or backhand movement in pickleball, provided your hand travels in an upward arc when the server’s paddle makes contact.

3. The pickleball paddle head should contact the pickleball ball beneath the wrist of the server.

The Official Tournament Rulebook stipulates that you may only hit the ball if the paddle head is below your wrist. Otherwise, you will commit an illegal pickleball serve.

Again, this may be difficult to do well. As per rule 4.A.6, your serve is permitted if the maximum height of your paddle is lower than the highest point of your wrists (i.e., where your wrist joint bends). So this is possibly the most challenging pickleball serving rule to comprehend.

Execute the serve with an underhand stroke such that the contact with the ball lies below the waistline. This serve is an Underhand Serve which is different from the tennis serve.

4. Feet Placement

In a pickleball game, the location of your feet at the time of contact is crucial. At the time of contact between your paddle and the pickleball during your service, you must have at least one foot behind the baseline. So this implies that you cannot simultaneously leap and serve; at least one foot needs to remain on the floor behind the baseline.

5. Singles Serving Rules

Every player serves in singles till they forfeit a point. After every other serve, you must swap the side you are hitting from. In singles, whenever the scoring is even, the server serves from court’s right, and if the scoring is odd, from the left court.

6. Doubles Serving Rules

Each serving team member has the opportunity to first serve before serving returned to the opposing team. The second server for the initial team is excluded at the beginning of the game. After every side out, the service begins on the right side of the court. The server then switches sides after every other server. Complicated regulations and player positions govern who serves first and from what side.

7. Double Bounce Rule

Whenever a team serves the ball, the receiving side must allow it to bounce before returning it, followed by the serving team must allow it to bounce before returning it. Both teams have the option of volleying or doing a ground stroke once in each team’s court. Volleying is striking the ball before it bounces and ground stroke is playing it off a bounce. The double bounce rule removes the advantage of serving and volleying and prolongs rallies.

Whenever the serving team wins an exchange in doubles, the two players on that team transfer sides from left to right and right to left to start the following point.

8. Pickleball Rules on Service Faults

A fault on the pickleball court is a breach of the rules that pause play and results in the closing of the rally by the team or player who commits the fault. In pickleball, you may make some errors on the serve.

The Official Pickleball Rulebook states that the following behaviors will lead in a violation on the serving team and the loss of the server’s serve:

There is a service foot fault on the server. Service foot faults are detected whenever the server’s paddle comes into contact with the pickleball. At the start of service motion, ensure you position the feet appropriately.

  • Behind the baseline, one foot of wasn’t in touch with the floor;
  • Any foot that contacts the baseline or any location within the baseline; or
  • Any foot that touches the region inside or beyond the imaginary extension lines of the appropriate sideline or centerline

9. You must serve across the diagonal of the pickleball court.

You must execute each pickleball serve diagonally all across the court. In other words, you must serve in the non volley zone/service court diagonally opposite.

10. Crosscourt Serve

The pickleball serve must travel above the pickleball net and settle in the service box across the court from the server. In other terms, the service must fall inside the region bounded by the sideline, the baseline, the Non-Volley Zone Line and the center line, which is diagonally from the server upon the pickleball court.


Certainly, pickleball has various serving regulations compared to other sports. If you’re a beginner to pickleball and getting somewhat overwhelmed, don’t fret. That is very typical! You will quickly learn the pickleball serving rules, just like every other pickleball player.

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