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Your Paddle Head Matters

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 03-07-2022

You do not see an illegal serve called very often on the pickleball court in a sanctioned match—particularly, a pro pickleball match. However, an illegal serve was called during a pro men’s doubles match at the APP Punta Gorda Open against Travis Rettenmaier.

The rules of pickleball provide that, at the point of contact on a volley serve (as opposed to a drop serve):

  • your arm must be moving in an upward arc (to note, you may hit the serve with either a forehand or backhand motion);
  • the point of contact must be below your waist; and
  • the highest point of your paddle head must be below the highest part of your wrist (which is the point on your wrist where your joint bends).

In the video above, Rettenmaier committed a fault against these serving rules, as his paddle head was above his wrist at the point of contact. As a result, Rettenmaier committed a fault and lost his serve.

If you use the volley serve out on the pickleball court, be sure to follow these rules and avoid any inadvertent faults.

For a deeper breakdown on all of the rules of pickleball, check out Pickler’s Ultimate Guide to the Rules of Pickleball.

Have you had an interesting rules issue on the pickleball court? Send it to us at stacie@thepickler.com, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.

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