The serve in pickleball is a critical element that sets the tone for each rally. Understanding the serving rules is essential for players to start the game correctly, maintain fairness, and maximize their serving potential. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of pickleball serving rules, from the correct serving technique to the specific guidelines that govern the serve rotation and fault system.

The serve is a fundamental aspect of pickleball that kickstarts every rally, making it crucial for players to understand and adhere to the serving rules. A proper understanding of the serving technique, rotation order, fault system, and foot fault rules ensures fair play and sets the stage for an exciting and competitive game. We will delve into the intricacies of pickleball serving rules, providing valuable insights to help players master their serves and elevate their gameplay. Try This: Pickleball Scoring Rules

Proper Service Technique

When serving in pickleball, players must adopt the correct technique. The serve must be executed underhand, with the paddle below the waist level and the ball struck below the server’s waist. This ensures a fair and consistent start to each rally.

Serving Order and Rotation

In pickleball, serving rotation follows a specific order. The first server begins on the right-hand side of the court and serves diagonally to the opponent’s service court. After each successful point won by the serving team, both servers rotate positions, with the server on the right moving to the left side. This rotation continues throughout the game. Explore More About Pickleball: Pickleball Court Dimensions

Pickleball Serving Rules

Double Bounce Rule

The double bounce rule is a fundamental aspect of pickleball serving. After the serve, both the serving team and receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it. This rule ensures fair play and allows players ample time to get into position for the ensuing rally.

Faults and Second Serve

Faults occur when the server commits an error during the serve. Common faults include stepping on or beyond the baseline, serving out of turn, and not executing an underhand serve. When a fault is committed, the serving team loses the serve and the opposing team earns a point. Each team receives two serving opportunities per turn, with a second serve given in case of a fault on the first attempt.

Foot Faults

Foot faults occur when the server’s feet cross or touch the baseline or the sideline during the serve. To avoid foot faults, servers must maintain contact with the ground behind the baseline until the serve is executed. Foot faults result in a fault, and the serve is lost.


By familiarizing themselves with the serving rules in pickleball, players can confidently step onto the court and engage in fair and exciting matches. Adhering to proper serving technique, following the rotation order, and understanding fault and foot fault rules ensure a smooth start to each rally and maintain the integrity of the game. So, practice your serves, grasp the serving rules, and unleash your skills to dominate the court with powerful and strategic pickleball serves.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is the underhand serve the only legal serve in pickleball?

No, the underhand serve is not the only legal serve in pickleball. While the underhand serve is the most commonly used technique, the overhead serve is also allowed as long as certain guidelines are followed.

Can I hit the ball before it bounces when serving in pickleball?

No, in pickleball, you must let the ball bounce before making contact when serving. This is known as the double bounce rule. The first bounce must occur on the serving side, and the return must be allowed to bounce before it can be hit.

What happens if I serve the ball into the net in pickleball?

If your serve hits the net and fails to clear it, it is considered a fault. A fault results in a loss of serve, and the opposing team gains the opportunity to serve.

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