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Pickleball Rules to Know - The Basic Rules of the Serve

by Stacie Townsend 2 Comments

Pickleball Rules to Know - The Basic Rules of the Serve | Pickler Pickleball

There are many nuances to the serve in the sport of Pickleball. These nuances include technique, strategy, and the rules of pickleball. 

Rule 4.A of the 2020 Official Rulebook for USA Pickleball provides some of the basic rules of the serve in pickleball.

Pickleball uses an underhand serve (unlike tennis, which has an overhand serve). The rules of pickleball require the serve to be hit below your belly button with, at the point of contact, (1) your paddle moving in an upward direction (whether you are hitting a forehand or backhand motion); (2) your paddle head in a downward position; and (3) your paddle head below your wrist. After contact, you are free to do whatever you want with your paddle. Also, to note, at least one foot must remain in contact with the ground, and behind the baseline, at the point of contact. You may not step on the baseline or into the court until after you make contact with the pickleball on your serve.

Pickleball Rules to Know | Serve Below Your Belly Button | Pickler Pickleball

Pickleball Rules to Know | Basic Rules of Serve | Pickler Pickleball


Be wary of violating these rules and committing an illegal serve! For instance, striking the pickleball above your belly button, or with the head of your pickleball paddle above your wrist, will result in an illegal serve. Also, if you step on the baseline, or cross the center line or sideline prior to striking the pickleball on your serve, then you would have also hit an illegal serve.

If you want more tips and more in-depth coaching to really master your serve, purchase Pickler's video lesson collection called My Pro Pickleball Coach. My Pro Pickleball Coach is a fraction of the price of one clinic or lesson, and features over 140 video lessons (over 7 hours of instruction!), as well as a corresponding e-book, that breaks down every aspect of the sport of pickleball, including the serve, return of serve, drop, drive, dink, lob, overhead, and advanced shots in the sport of pickleball, as well as pickleball strategy, advanced concepts, and drills. Unlike other videos on the web, My Pro Pickleball Coach's video and e-book collection is organized for you in one place, has one consistent message from start to finish, touches on every aspect of the game, and is taught by the best coach in the pickleball coaching business! 

Stacie Townsend
Stacie Townsend


2 Responses


March 24, 2020

1. The rule book says the arm must be moving in an upward arc…not “paddle moving in an upward direction”. Placing focus on the paddle rather than the arm can lead to unnecessary disagreements on the court.
2. Nowhere in he rule book does it say “paddle head in a downward position”. Paddle head below the wrist at contact tells us everything we need to know about that subject. Stating a nonexistent rule can erroneously make some people believe that the paddle must be in a downward position during the backward motion or during the forward motion.


March 24, 2020

I would love to tweek my rec game a bit more. Thanks

Linda DeCurzio

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