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The purpose of the serve (at the developing levels) is simply to place the ball in play and is not intended as an offensive weapon.
The serve must be hit with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below the waist, defined as the navel. The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the highest point of the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball. The highest point of the paddle head cannot be above any part of the line formed where the wrist joint bends.
A new provisional rule allows for a "drop serve." The server has the option of dropping the ball and hitting it after the bounce. The ball can be dropped from any height but cannot be thrown, tossed, or otherwise released with any added force to bounce it.
Serve to the diagonally opposite service court from behind the baseline and on or within the imaginary extension of the sidelines and centerline.
Placement should be deep and to the center of the diagonally opposite service court to keep the receiver back.
Follow through toward target and return to the ready position to be set to receive the service return.
Don’t continue into the court; remain behind the baseline until after the 3rd shot is hit.
Explaining the Pickleball Serving Rules
5 Perfect Serve Tip
RETURN of SERVE
The main goal is to return the serve deep to keep the serving team at the baseline; power is not as important as control. A short return brings the serving team forward, allowing them to reach the NVZ line and negating the receiving team’s advantage.
The serve must bounce before being returned.
Wait behind the baseline for the serve in order to permit moving forward to hit the return with momentum.
The preferred service return stroke is a forehand with a backswing and fofollow-throughstepping forward to meet the ball in front of the body. This allows the receiver to quickly move toward the net by following the natural momentum of the follow-through.
A shot lofted deep to the opponent’s backhand gives the receiver time to reach the NVZ line and keep the serving team back.
Follow through, move to the NVZ line and return to the ready position to be set to return the next shot.
Watch the ball. If you realize you can’t make it all the way to the NVZ line before the ball is hit by the opponent, stop and assume the ready position. Return the ball, then continue to the NVZ line. Stop again if necessary. In tennis, this is often referred to as the “split step.”