A common theme on the pickleball court during the 2023 calendar year has been mastering an aggressive serve to gain an advantage from the very first shot of each rally. One way to be aggressive on your serve is to add power. By adding power, you can help keep your serve deep in the pickleball court and push your opponents further back behind the baseline and away from the net, making it much more difficult for your opponents to hit an effective return.
One of the most powerful pros in the game is Daniel De La Rosa, whose serve was recently caught on the high-resolution, slow-motion cameras at a Major League Pickleball event.
In the slow-motion, frame-by-frame, you can see De La Rosa coil back and then whip through his serve in order to generate power on his serve on the pickleball court. This action allows De La Rosa to engage his most powerful muscles in his core, hips, and legs. So, how exactly does De La Rosa torque to generate power on his pickleball serve?
- Coil Your Body: As you prepare to serve on the pickleball court, initiate the power generation by coiling your body. Rotate your shoulders and hips away from the net, loading tension in your core and hip muscles. Your weight should shift slightly onto your back foot (which you may notice that De La Rosa’s front foot has almost no weight as he raises his heel).
- Uncoil for Power: Begin the serving motion by uncoiling your body explosively. Simultaneously rotate your hips and shoulders towards the pickleball net, transferring the stored energy from your core and hips into the point of contact on your serve. This generates rotational power and adds speed to your serve.
- Sequential Movement: Focus on the sequence of movements. Initiate the rotation with your hips, followed by your core and shoulders, and finally, your arm and paddle. The sequential transfer of energy from your lower body to your upper body adds power and whip-like motion to your serve on the pickleball court.
- Use Your Hips: Emphasize the hip movement in your serve. As you uncoil, drive your lead hip forward and towards the net, transferring your weight from your back foot forward through your target. This hip movement and weight transfer will help generate additional power on your pickleball serve.
- Follow Through: Complete your serve with a full and controlled follow-through. Extend your arm and paddle towards your target, maintaining a smooth and fluid motion. This follow-through allows you to fully utilize the power generated from your core and hips, while also maintaining accuracy.
Remember, while focusing on generating power, it is important to maintain control and accuracy—as a missed serve is a missed opportunity to score points on the pickleball court. Practice these techniques gradually, starting with a controlled swing, and gradually increasing the power as you become more comfortable and confident with your mechanics. With consistent practice and refinement, you can enhance the power of your pickleball serve.