What Counts As A Legal Pickleball Serve?

As a new player to the vibrant and fun sport of pickleball, learning how to serve is one of the most important parts of learning to play pickleball well.

What Counts As A Legal Pickleball Serve

The serve is often the first thing that beginners to the game learn how to do, and it is even a part of the game that most professionals find themselves needing to regularly practice and refine. 

That being said, if you’re wondering what counts as a legal serve in pickleball, rest assured that you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’re going to be taking a closer look at what is acceptable in terms of serving, as well as how you can easily spot the difference between a legal serve and an illegal serve. Just read on!

What Counts As A Legal Pickleball Serve?

As soon as you’ve got your perfect paddle and purchased all of the clothing that you’re going to wear out on the court – it only makes sense that you’ll be ready to begin practicing on your technique. 

When it comes to pickleball serving, the good news is that the rules are generally quite simple to understand, although you might find yourself struggling to pick up the rules in the beginning as you learn the game.

Don’t let that scare you off from playing pickleball, though, because the rest of the game is super simple to get the hang of in practice.

The main reason that pickleball serving is such a complicated area of the game is because there is often a very fine line between what is correct serve and what is considered an illegal serve.

That being said, if you’re a pickleball player and you’ve been playing for some time already, we’re sure that you’ll have encountered quite a few heated conversations during your games about a serve or two! 

So, with all that being said – what counts an illegal pickleball serve? By making sure that you know how to spot an illegal serve, you’re going to find that you are able to avoid making unnecessary, illegal mistakes while making your own serves.

This brings us to our next section.

What Are Illegal Pickleball Serves?

Like we have already mentioned above, most pickleball rules are generally pretty simple and easy to get the hang of.

What Counts As A Legal Pickleball Serve (1)

However, one of the biggest parts of the pickleball game that seemingly garners the most controversy is the serving rules. 

If you’ve already begun to do your own research surrounding the rules of pickleball, then we’re sure that you’ll know that the serve is the only part of the game that will allow you to make a score.

That being said, you’re going to need to make sure that you are making the most of each opportunity that you get to serve. 

Here are some of the things that you might want to avoid while serving as they’re illegal:

  1. Using an overhand stroke: Unlike other sports like tennis, you’re not allowed to make an overhand serve. When it comes to pickleball, you are only allowed to make pickleball serves with an underhand stroke and then an upward motion.
  1. Serving above the waist: This is another move that could count as a foul. While making a serve, you’re going to need to make sure that the contact made between the pickleball and ball is made below the waist.
  1. Taking longer than 10 seconds to serve: Just like with other similar sports such as tennis and badminton, taking too long to make the serve can be counted as a foul. In order to make a serve that is going to be counted as legal, you’re going to have to make sure that you are making the serve within 10 seconds or less.
  1. Standing in front of the baseline while serving: Another illegal move in pickleball is positioning yourself in front of the baseline while making your serve. When you are preparing to go ahead and make a serve in pickleball, you’re going to need to make sure that your feet are positioned directly behind the baseline of the service court. If you don’t do this, it’s an automatic foul.
  1. Raising the paddle head above the wrist: This last point is where things can get a little bit tricky. When you are serving in pickleball, it is very important that you are making sure that the pickleball paddle face is never rising above the wrist. If it does, then this is an illegal move and the receiving team will be able to get a point. The only part of the pickleball paddle that is allowed to be above the wrist during the serve is the handle.

How To Avoid Illegal Pickleball Serves

When learning the game of pickleball, it’s highly likely that you’re going to find yourself making a few mistakes here and there.

In order to help reduce the chances of you serving illegally in pickleball, here are a few pointers that you can beginning putting into practice:

  • Get lots of practice: As the old saying goes “practice makes perfect” and this is certainly the case when it comes to making a legal pickleball serve. We recommend implementing plenty of serving drills in your practice that will help you to hone your ability to make a legal pickleball serve.
  • Watch other players serve: Along with practice, you should also make sure that you are taking the time to watch other players who have more experience than you. Oftentimes, watching another player make a serve will allow you to improve your own.
  • Improve your agility: Even though it’s important to make sure that you have a great serving technique in order to prevent letting the receiving team get any points from silly serving mistakes – it is also just as important that you are making sure you are as fit as you possibly can be. Improving your agility and strength will surely make you a better player, and in turn, a better server!
  • Familiarize yourself with the rules: Another surefire way that you can help to lower the chances of making an illegal pickleball serve is to make sure that you are regularly checking the rules. No matter how experienced a pickleball player you are, taking the time to familiarize yourself with the rules of pickleball (especially as far as serving is concerned) will help to lower the chances of making silly mistakes that can easily be avoided.

Wrapping Up

There we have it! We’ve made it to the end of the guide.

Now that you have taken the time to read through this article, we hope that we have been able to give you a much better understanding of the fine line between an illegal serve and a legal serve in pickleball.

We also hope that we have been able to assist you further on learning how to properly make a legal serve in pickleball (see also: What Is The Chainsaw Serve In Pickleball?)in order to prevent a point being given to the receiving team.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide, and good luck honing your pickleball serve(see also: Who Serves First In Pickleball?)! Bye for now.

Michael Walter
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