Who Serves First In Pickleball? Serving Tips You Need To Know

October 20, 2021

Pickleball is a game that you play with two or four people. You have to serve the ball in the air, over the net to your opponent’s half of the court.

If you want to be good at Pickleball, you need to serve well. Serving is one of the most critical aspects of Pickleball because it determines how fast the game will go.

If your serving is weak, it slows down the game tremendously because instead of hitting directly at someone where they can hit it back to you, players need to run around chasing balls that weren’t served well.

Who Serves First In Pickleball?

In Pickleball, the player standing on the right-hand side of the court usually serves first at the start of a game and alternately receives a serve.

Each time particular team scores, players on the said team switch sides of the court. Therefore, if you were initially on the right-hand side of the court serving, you would shift to the left side.

How To Serve The Ball In Pickleball

Pickleball is a game that requires you to serve the ball, so it lands in your opponent’s court.

In Pickleball, a serve or service refers to starting a point by hitting the ball across the net from a player’s side.

The first thing to understand is what makes a good serve. The perfect serve has three main components: spin, placement, and speed. Spin is crucial because it helps your ball bounce off of the court and stay on the path towards the target.

Placement is the most recognizable component and involves targeting an area of the court where you can effectively serve well. The server will deliver the ball from behind and over the end line of their court.

The first rule for serving the ball in Pickleball is to keep your head down and follow through after contact with the ball.
The second rule is to be ready to move after you hit the ball quickly. The third rule is that you shouldn’t step on or over any lines.

The server must strike the ball before it bounces twice, and if this occurs, the service changes hands, and players switch sides of the court.

If a fault occurs, the receiving team takes charge in serving. When a player from the receiving team wins the serve, they will always start playing in their proper court.

In Pickleball, players serve from alternating sides until one team scores over the other. The first team to score 21 points wins the set!

An 8 ounce or larger-sized ball can be used for this game as long as it bounces high enough not to hurt anyone when it hits them.

The 3 Types Of Serves In Pickleball

There are three types of serves: Overhand, Underhand, and Backhand Serve. Each kind is most effective under different circumstances.

Players can utilize all three types either as an offensive weapon or a defensive tool to keep their opponent from scoring.

Using these serves correctly will give you a significant advantage over players who don’t know what they’re doing.

Underhand Serve

One unique aspect of Pickleball is underhand serves. Unlike traditional tennis, where players serve an overhead motion, underhand players hit the ball directly into the front.

In Pickleball, the underhand serve allows you to put more spin on the ball. It also gives you a chance to go around an opponent who is standing in front of you.

Underhand serve gives you more power and accuracy than overhand serve, making it great for beginners. It also eliminates the risk of hitting someone below the waistline.

Hold your paddle by its handle and have it parallel with your body to perform the underhand serve.

The paddle should be facing away from your body. Moreover, the ball should be right above your head with its bottom facing up.

Once you grip the ball, keep it near your forehead as you swing down and forward quickly to hit the ball towards the playing field.

To properly execute this toss, serve the run-up to the ball and toss it underhand as hard as possible.

Overhand Serve

The overhand in Pickleball is a critical shot to master. The key to effectively hitting an overhand is preparation and practice.

There are many ways to hit an overhand shot in Pickleball, but a smooth, fast swing that produces excellent power and spin is the best way. That means players must have good footwork, balance, and stamina to avoid fatigue while playing.

The overhand serve in Pickleball is an excellent source of points for a player. When a player serves the ball successfully, the opposing players must play that ball or give up a point.

There are several different types of overhand serves in Pickleball. The most common type is the high service, where the ball is served from shoulder height upwards.

Another type of overhand serve in Pickleball is the low serve, which goes under shoulder height and lands close to or on the net.

The server stands behind the short service line at one end of the court. The receiver may stand anywhere on their side of the net; however, it is usually easier for beginners to stand within the service box at right angles to both sides.

After establishing the initial position, the player gets ready to throw the serve. The racquet head may be above shoulder height during the service motion, but only by an amount no more significant than required for a vertical jump of 3 inches (7 cm) above shoulder height.

Here are the steps in executing an excellent overhand serve in Pickleball. 

  1. Start with your paddle in your right hand, gripping it with the left. The racket should be behind you and above your head so that when you reach back to hit the ball, you have maximum power in your swing. 
  2. When you are ready to serve, take one long step with your left foot forward (or two small ones), then bring your racket down and around until it is parallel to the ground, like slicing down through the air with a knife. 

Backhand Serve

The backhand serves as a must-know shot in Pickleball as it’s the most common shot from mid-range.
It’s the foundation of any good player and one of the most challenging shots to master.

While some players might be born with a killer backhand, for most players, it takes time and practice to get their backhand where they want it.

The next move is to shift your weight onto your left foot, bending it slightly and moving towards the net. It will cause you to lean backward on your right leg, which is now ready for action.

Your racket should be held up beside your head as if about to serve. At this moment, you are in a position to do so. All that remains is the execution of the service itself.

Hold the paddle with your dominant hand. Place your index finger at the top of the handle, and use your thumb to support the bottom.

Position the other three fingers on either side of the handle, near where it meets the racket’s head.

When you hit the ball with a backhand grip, your thumb should be behind the handle, with your hand positioned at the halfway point.

Serving Strategies To Win A Game Of Pickleball!

Everyone loves a good game of Pickleball, but many people don’t know the strategies behind it.

The best strategy for serving in Pickleball is to start with your non-dominant hand. To put less pressure on yourself first, try starting with your left hand instead of your right. Using this strategy will allow you more time and confidence when it’s your turn again.

When serving, always face away from where you’re placing the ball so that no one else can see what direction your service is going.

When serving in a game of Pickleball, you have two choices: spin or no spin. If you want to succeed in serving, you must determine if the court is wet or dry and adjust accordingly.

If the court is wet, use a high-spinning serve that will bounce off the walls and throw your opponent off balance with its unpredictable bounces.

Use your paddle in such a way that it hits the ball but doesn’t hit the ground! Doing so may sound impossible at first, but with enough practice, you’ll be great in no time.


Everything depends on your playing style. If you want to move the ball around quickly, then serving well is ideal.

However, for those who prefer to set up their shots, please wait until the other player serves them to get into position and anticipate where the ball will land. Either way, it’s always better to win than lose!

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