Have you ever heard of the phrase “big serve” on the pickleball court? What constitutes a “big serve”? Or, in other words, how do you hit a “big serve” on the pickleball court?
A big pickleball serve refers to a powerful and effective serve that puts pressure on your opponents and gives you—as the server—an advantage from the very first shot in the rally. While the definition of a “big serve” may vary among pickleball players, several factors contribute to this classification:
- Speed: A big serve on the pickleball court typically involves a high velocity, where the pickleball is served with considerable speed. It requires you—as the server—to generate significant paddle head speed to deliver a fast-paced shot that is difficult for the receiver on the other end to handle.
- Placement: Along with speed, the placement of the serve is crucial (and, possibly, even the most critical). A big pickleball serve often targets specific areas of the opponents’ side of the court that creates difficulty in returning the serve effectively. The most important placement is hitting a deep serve, near the baseline, that forces the receiver to have to hit a challenging return across the entire length of the pickleball court.
- Spin and Variations: Incorporating spin and variations in the serve can make it more challenging for the opponents. Adding topspin, backspin, or sidespin to the serve can create unpredictable bounces or alter the pickleball’s trajectory, making it harder to return effectively. Further, incorporating variations—in other words, mixing up your serves—can also help create big serves on the court. For instance, mixing in a lob serve amongst fast-paced, driving serves can create deception and mess with the receiver’s timing.
- Consistency: A big serve on the pickleball court is not just about power, but also consistency. A pickleball player with a big serve can consistently deliver a well-executed and effective serve throughout the entire match. Consistency on the pickleball court adds pressure to the opponents, as they are aware that they may face a formidable serve on every point.
- Strategy: A big pickleball serve is often employed as part of a strategic game plan. Pickleball players may use specific serves to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses (such as a weak backhand) or to set up their own preferred shot opportunities (for instance, if an opponent always hits a return with their forehand to a specific side of the pickleball court). Your ability to read your opponents’ positioning and adjust your serve accordingly can add to your serving game.
It is important to note that while a big serve can be advantageous on the pickleball court, serving solely with power may not always guarantee success. A big serve is more than just power. Good placement, spin, and strategic variation are equally important aspects of a successful serve. Additionally, different skill levels and playing styles may influence how players perceive and execute big serves. Ultimately, a big serve is one that combines these characteristics of power, placement, spin, variation, consistency, and strategy to create a serve that is challenging for the opponents to return effectively.
What can you add to your serving game to serve “big”?!