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How to Serve in Pickleball

by | Jun 6, 2022 | Pickleball

How to Serve in Pickleball

how to serve in pickleball

The serving rules for pickleball are fairly straightforward. You must first serve in an underhand fashion and make contact with the ball below the waist. The goal is to hit the ball over the net and onto your opponents’ side of the court without faulting. While there are a handful of pickleball serving rules, these are the basics.

How to Improve Your Pickleball Serve

While having the best pickleball paddle is important if you’re looking to improve your serving skills in a pickleball, it’s not the only key to success. A lot of it is going to come down to your willingness to practice and try new things.

You should also learn as much as you can about serve strategies to be more confident in your pickleball skills. Practice makes perfect when it comes to playing, and the pickleball serve is a big part of scoring and improving the game.

When it comes to tips for how to serve in a pickleball, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Routine
  • Target Exercise
  • Release and Follow up
  • Deep Impact

Here’s a quick rundown of each tip.


One of the best tips for learning how to serve in pickleball is to have a consistent routine before serving. Similar to the best free throw shooters in basketball, a routine prepares your mind and body for the shot. Find a pace that works for you. There is no right or wrong routine, it’s about being consistent and doing it EVERY TIME!

Target Exercise

Find your goal. Point the face of your paddle towards where you want the ball to go. With pickleball, the direction of your paddle is going to determine where the ball ends up.

After making contact with the ball, be sure to pull your paddle so that it points directly at your target. The more consistent you are with your tracking, the more likely you are to hit the ball where you want.

Release and Follow Up

Let go of the ball and make contact with your paddle. The main objective here is to release the ball, not throw it. Many beginners with tennis or racquetball experience will fall into this trap.

As mentioned above, hitting the ball above your waist is an illegal serve. So, if you are leading or throwing the ball too far in front of you, you run the risk of an illegal serve. It is better to keep it simple. First, release the ball at waist level and follow it as the ball drops towards your oncoming paddle.

Deep Impact

The most efficient type of serve in pickleball is a deep serve. In fact, one of the basics of pickleball strategy is to serve deep towards your opponent’s baseline. Of all the advice we can give you to improve your service, this is by far the most important.

When you serve the ball deep, it becomes much more difficult for your opponent to return the ball with authority. It also prevents them from connecting faster. The more distance you put between your opponent and the net, the better. The easiest way to do this is to serve the ball deep into your opponent’s baseline. Just be careful that you don’t serve the ball out of bounds.

Advanced Pickleball Serves

After playing pickleball a number of times, you might have gotten the basic serve down and are wondering how to serve in pickleball at a more advanced level. Luckily, there are a few popular advanced serves that you can work on once you’ve learned the basics.

  • High Soft Serve
  • Power Serve
  • Soft Sngle Serve
  • Topspin Serve
  • Exchange Serve

High Soft Serve

how to serve in pickleball

Source: YinYang

The High Soft Serve is when you hit a long arc deep into your opponent’s field. This service can be used at all levels, from beginner to advanced. This serve offers a lot of variety and is ideal for changing the pace of the game and keeping the opponent on their toes.

You should direct your High Soft Serve towards either the back or front of your opponent’s side of the court. This can be used to get your opponent moving, getting them out of position, and preparing for your next move.

Power Serve

The Power Serve is hit low, fast, and deep onto your opponent’s court. This serve is more difficult to achieve than High Soft Serve, but it is a must-have tool if you want to improve your game. Basically, you just want to hit a low powerful serve deep onto your opponent’s side of the court that’ll get them moving.
Soft Angle serve

The Soft Angle Serve is one of the main types of serves with which the pace of play is mixed. This shot falls near the kitchen line and the sideline. The rebound must carry the ball out of the playing field. The Soft Angle Serve is the most difficult of the advanced serves because the target it is aiming for is so small.

Topspin Serve

The Topspin serve is obtained by tilting the paddle upwards. When you hit a topspin well (see also ‘How To Hit A Forehand With Topspin‘), the ball bounces deeply and quickly in a difficult and uncomfortable way to return.

This serve can be one of the more difficult of the advanced serves, but can take your game to the next level once you’ve mastered it.

Exchange Serve

The Exchange Serve is different from what is normally offered, and isn’t exactly an advanced serve but more of an advanced strategy. For example, if you play at a steady pace for most of the game, you can switch to a faster pace with the goal of catching your opponent off guard. This usually creates some confusion for your opponent, causing them to make mistakes.

Summing Up

Now that you know more about how to serve in pickleball and have gotten a look at some more advanced serves, you should have some things to work on. The game can be a lot of fun but will require some practice if you want to take your play to the next level.