Can You Bounce the Ball Before Serving in Pickleball?

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By Jacob Jackson

The popularity of pickleball has skyrocketed recently. And why not? It’s an exciting, fun, and easy sport to pick up. But wait, there are some rules that you need to know! One of the most debated topics among pickleball fans is whether or not you can bounce the ball before serving. Believe it or not, this seemingly insignificant detail can have a major impact on your game!

Can You Bounce the Ball Before Serving in Pickleball?

Pickleball is a sport that people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. It’s similar to tennis, but with a twist. In pickleball, the ball must bounce before being served, also known as a drop serve. This makes it easier for new players to learn the game.

Serving in Pickleball

During serving, you always want to hit the ball high enough so that it bounces off the court and prevents your opponent from returning it. There are various strategies you can use in pickleball, such as throwing the ball over your opponent’s head or using your body to stop shots.

Want more pickleball tips? Check out our blog on how many pickleball courts fit on a tennis court!

Is It Legal To Bounce The Ball Before You Serve In Pickleball?

Pickleball combines elements from tennis, badminton, and table tennis. In general, the net is lowered to 34 inches on a badminton-sized court. The debate on whether bouncing the ball before serving is legal in pickleball has been going on for quite some time.

According to official pickleball rules, bouncing the ball before serving is allowed as long as it doesn’t interfere with your opponent’s ability to return the ball or intentionally distract them from their serve. However, some tournaments may choose to disallow this technique due to the potential for disruption or confusion among players.

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So, while it may be allowed by the rules, it’s up to individual tournament organizers and referees to decide whether or not bouncing the ball before serving is allowed in pickleball matches.

How Does Serving Work in Pickleball Before Bouncing?

Serving is a critical aspect of pickleball. You need to serve the ball in a way that your opponent can return it over the net. There are different ways to serve, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

One method is to toss the ball above your head and let it fall towards the ground, known as a “hitscan” serve. If done correctly, it can catch your opponent off guard and make it difficult for them to hit the ball.

Another method is to lob the ball directly towards your opponent’s feet from below your waist, known as a “feet-up” serve. This gives your opponent less time to react before the ball hits their foot.

There are also other techniques, such as the “pickleball bounce serve,” where you strike the ball forcefully with both hands, and the “flip serve,” where you strike the ball gently with one hand, quickly turn around, and strike it with the opposite hand. These techniques aim to make it challenging for your opponent to anticipate your next shot.

Ultimately, it’s important to try out different serving methods to see which ones work best for you. Becoming an expert in serving can greatly improve your pickleball skills!

Ball Before Serving in Pickleball
Pickleball Database

What Makes a Pickleball Serve Illegal?

Pickleball is similar to tennis, but with a smaller court and equipment. Like other racquet sports, the serve is crucial. To avoid losing points or even getting disqualified in serious tournaments, it’s important to serve within the rules and avoid any illegal serves.

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A pickleball serve must be hit underhand, without using any wrist action, and land within a designated 7-foot service area on the opposite side of the court. The ball should not bounce more than once before crossing into this area, or else it will be considered illegal. However, if the ball skips across without bouncing, it is allowed as long as it lands in bounds.

In doubles pickleball, players must alternate their serves after each point and cannot “double-hit” the ball. Additionally, if either player contacts anything other than the ball with their paddle during service, it will also be considered an illegal serve.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your serves are legal and avoid any penalties.

New Serving Rules in Pickleball

Pickleball has recently introduced new serving rules to make the game more challenging and exciting. These rule changes aim to level the playing field, give players more control over their serves, and increase competitiveness.

The main change is that players must now serve from behind a “kitchen line,” which is seven feet behind the baseline. This prevents servers from standing too close to their opponents and gives the returning players a fair chance to return the shot. Additionally, players can only serve twice before switching sides with their opponent, preventing any one player from having an advantage in serving opportunities.

New Serving Rules in Pickleball
Miami Herald

These changes are also designed with safety in mind. By having players stand further apart during serves, the risk of accidental contact between players is reduced.

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These modifications create a fairer playing experience and encourage competition among pickleball players of all skill levels and experience!


What are the basic rules to attempt serving in a pickleball game?

The basic rule is to toss or release the pickleball to perform a volley serve. Then, you use a paddle to strike the pickleball while trying to prevent it from bouncing on the court. It’s a standard serving technique used in pickleball courts.

What are the three basic rules for attempting the pickleball serve?

In a pickleball match, there are three requirements for a legal serve. First, the arm should be raised in an upward arc. Second, the paddle should be raised. And third, the ball should contact the ground below the waist.

Does the ball bounce first while serving?

Yes, the ball should bounce before being struck by the service return or serve. Additionally, both teams should ground stroke their initial shot after the serve.

Does the pickleball game allow two chances for serving?

Yes, in a pickleball match, each team has two opportunities to serve. The serving side only has one chance at the start, when the score is 0-0. When a team loses a point, the opposite team receives the serve, giving them another opportunity to serve.

Wrap Up

So, can you bounce the ball before serving in pickleball? Well, it depends on when you last served. If it has been more than a few seconds, go ahead and bounce the ball. But if it has only been a few seconds, hold off until your next serve.

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