Demystifying the Serving Rules in Pickleball for Beginners and Pros

Here are the serving rules in pickleball to help you serve correctly because if you mess up here this will benefit the opponents in earning more points.

Pickleball is an American-originated game that is played in a similar way to tennis. The only apparent difference is the size of the bat or racket that players use to hit the ball and pass it over the net. It can be played indoors or outdoors on a court. Just like every other game pickleball has also set a few rules and standards that players must follow while playing the game.

If you are interested in pickleball and not aware of the game rules then read this article to get full-fledged information on all the serving rules that a player should follow in pickleball. To serve correctly while playing pickleball is very important because if you mess up here this will not only benefit the opponents but will also not let you earn a point for your team.

Related: 5 Pickleball Tips That Will Help You Win

Serving Rules in Pickleball

It is a common practice that all the games are played with some rules. These rules can be different for different games. Even if we talk about similar games like badminton, tennis, and pickleball they also differ in some rules that the players need to follow to earn points for their team. To play without making any fouls players need to know the basic rules of a particular game they are taking part in or showing interest in.

serving rules in pickleball

Are you someone who loves pickleball but still struggling to understand the serving rules of the game? It’s true that pickleball is a pretty simple game but the serving rules are a little complicated. Here are a few set basic rules for serving in pickleball that you should know to improve your game.

  • Pickleball serving rules should always be done in an upward motion. The serves will be counted legally correct only if you move your hand in an upward motion to strike the ball. The players are allowed to use forehand or backhand for serves.
  • Another rule is on the position of the pickleball paddle that it should be below the waistline of the players when they hit the ball.
  • While serving in a pickleball game the players should keep the pickleball paddle below their wrist to not be announced guilty of an illegal pickleball serve.
  • Besides pickleball’s paddle rules, you should also keep your body position correct which includes keeping your feet behind the marked baseline while serving.
  • Also, the services should be done in diagonal directions across the court.

You should keep all the rules in mind while serving and try not to go against any of these because if you are found guilty of any of the above-mentioned rules then you will lose the serve. Pickleball serving rules might seem odd and hard to remember for someone who is new to this game. Pickleball serving rules do not only apply to the bat position of the server but also to the body position of the players.

Related: Pickleball Rules

You must be wondering why learning and understanding pickleball serving rules is so important. A simple answer to this curiosity is that all your match scores will depend on the service as the team who is serving will get more benefits as compared to the opponent who is at the receiving end.

serving rules in pickleball
  • Another surprising rule of serving in pickleball is that the server team will keep on serving until he makes a mistake. Thus, if you don’t mess up the serving there are high chances of winning the game and earning points for your team.
  • Also, scores decide which side of the court the player will serve i-e players serve from the right side of the court when playing alone or when your score is even and when the scores are odd players are supposed to serve from the left side court.
  • The players are suggested to change the position after each serve which means that they should switch to the left or right side of the court on each serve unless and until the player commits a fault or illegal serve.
  • Pickleball is a fast game and also involves too many activities which make keeping track of the score a little hard. That is why the serving team always announces the pickleball scores of both teams to make this easy.
  • According to the pickleball new rules 2021, players will not be able to avail second chances on a let serve from now on.

Double Serving Rules

Pickleball double serving rules are similar to the single serving rules but just with a few changes in it as two players play in each team. Double serving rules means that both the players get the chance to serve to the opponent team. To play a double-player pickleball game following serving rules apply.

  • Both players of one team get the chance to serve until an illegal service is served to the opponent team by the serving team.
  • The double serving rule is applicable on both players after the first service which means on the very first service by a team only one player gets the chance to serve.
  • Another rule that is only applicable for pickleball double games is that the first service should be served only from the right side.
  • Moreover, in the pickleball double game, the servers should announce their serving number to avoid any confusion between e-g server 1 or server 2.

Non-Volley Zone Rules

A non-volley zone is referred to as that area that is within the 7 feet distance from both sides of the net. Therefore, a player can not hit the ball that is within this declared region. Hitting the ball is strictly prohibited in this area if any player fails to abide by this rule he will be declared guilty for a fault.

It is one of the most strict rules of the game even if the player’s clothing or paddle is within this area he or she will be announced as guilty for crossing the non-volley zone.

Other Rules

  • If the ball hits any part of the body other than the hand holding the paddle, it is considered a fault.
  • Only single-direction strokes are legal.
  • Players can use both hands or switch the paddle to the other hand to hit the ball.
  • In case of any injury to any player, the game is paused immediately.
  • No non-volley zone rules are applied if the ball returns to your side after hitting the net by chance which means the player can reach over to hit the ball again without touching the net.
  • The players can not catch the ball with their hands if it has not bounced on the court.
  • If the ball hits the player on any body part it is also declared as a fault.


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Pickleball is not a very hard game to play but the rules of the game are so complicated that it makes it difficult to learn for a newbie. It takes time to understand all the rules and get used to them so that you don’t make a mistake in court. We are humans and it is totally acceptable that we may make mistakes at some point in the game or our career. The only solution to this is practice, practice, and practice.

While practicing servings you need to keep the following rules in mind:

  • While serving you should be one foot away from the baseline so your foot does not touch it mistakenly to declare the service illegal.
  • Make sure that your paddle is below your waist when you hit the ball to serve.
  • Also, keep in mind to always use an upward arch to serve the ball.

You should have noticed by now that this game has many complicated rules but as far as serving rules are concerned one should abide by three basic rules for pickleball that are mentioned above while being a pickleball player. I hope our guide has helped you in understanding and cleared your confusion regarding serving rules of pickleball.

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