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Mastering the Drop Serve in Pickleball: Tips and Techniques

Published: 2023-04-26
Mastering the Drop Serve in Pickleball: Tips and Techniques
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I'm Matt from the pickleball clinic, and today, I'm going to teach you how to hit a drop. Serve. In pickleball, we have two main types of serves. We have the volley serve, which is where we're holding the ball out in front, tossing it, and hitting it out of the air before the ball drops to the ground. We have the drop serve, which is where we hold the ball up, drop it so that it bounces off the ground, and then hit it off the bounce. If you're a beginner, I highly recommend starting with the drop serve.


What is a drop serve in pickleball?

A drop serve in pickleball is a serving technique that was introduced as a provisional rule in 2021 by the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and later made permanent. The drop serve is an alternative to the traditional underhand serve and is often considered easier for beginners or players with physical limitations.

When executing a drop serve in pickleball, the player drops the ball from their non-dominant hand, lets it bounce once on the ground, and then hits it with their paddle. Unlike the traditional underhand serve, there is no restriction on the point of contact for the paddle and the ball during a drop serve. The player can strike the ball at any height and with any type of motion, including overhand, as long as the other serving rules are followed.




7 tips and techniques for a great drop serve


As said, The drop serve is an easier alternative to the traditional underhand serve in pickleball, particularly for beginners or players without prior racket or paddle sports experience. This blog post will provide a detailed guide on how to execute a drop serve effectively while adhering to the rules.


Tip 1: Bounce the ball before serving


  • Drop the ball and let it bounce before swinging and hitting it (the ball can bounce more than once).
  • This provides more time to complete the swing and react to the bounce of the ball.


Tip 2: Rules for the toss


  • Hold the ball out and perform a dead drop without applying any force or spin.
  • The ball can be dropped from any height and bounced as high as desired.
  • Bouncing the ball off the ground before serving is not allowed.




Tip 3: Proper foot positioning


  • Your feet must be behind the baseline when executing the serve.
  • You can drop the ball anywhere in the court, but your feet must remain behind the line.




Tip 4: Stand sideways


  • Stand sideways to get a full rotation and better alignment toward your target.
  • If serving from the right side, angle slightly towards the left; if serving from the left side, angle slightly towards the right.




Tip 5: Hit the ball at its apex


  • Wait for the ball to reach its highest point after the bounce before swinging.
  • Avoid hitting the ball right off the bounce, as this can lead to inconsistent serves.




Tip 6: Bend your knees and follow through with your swing

  • Keep your paddle back, bend your knees, and swing under and up.
  • Follow through over your shoulder for a smooth, effective serve.





To summarize, here are the key points for the drop serve in pickleball:


  1. The ball must be dropped (not tossed or spun) from the player's non-dominant hand.
  2. The ball can bounce more than once before being struck with the paddle.
  3. There is no restriction on the height or motion when contacting the ball.
  4. The ball must clear the non-volley zone and land in the opponent's service court diagonally across the net.
  5. The player's feet must be behind the baseline while executing the serve.





By following these tips and understanding the rules of the drop serve, you can improve your pickleball serve technique and enjoy a more accessible way to serve the ball.