Serving Strategies

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Manager of League Operations

I’m sure if you’re reading this, then you must ‘relish’ the opportunity to get out on the Pickleball court. The game is taking the world by storm and we want to set you up for success!

Seeing as you can only score when you are serving, why not make the most of that opportunity?! Differentiating your serves can keep your opponent off-guard and make your serves difficult to ‘dill’ with. This can be utilized similar to mixing up your pitches in baseball. A pitcher may use fastballs, followed by curveballs, followed by change-ups, in order to keep the hitter guessing. This article aims to serve a few options up, so you can take your game to the next level.

  1. The High Soft Serve
    • This focuses on lofting the ball on your serve (around head height) and landing it towards the baseline.
    • By taking a little speed off the ball, you’re keeping your opponent guessing and also causing them to generate power and placement on their return.
    • Forcing them to generate their own power on the return can lead to erratic shots. Furthermore, your opponent is forced to stay behind the baseline and isn’t able to edge forward.
    • The weakness of this serve is that it gives more skilled players a greater opportunity to set the tone of the point. Additionally, it may be difficult to judge how deep to hit the ball without serving out.
  2. The Soft Angle Serve
    • This serve style can be likened to a drop shot in Tennis or Badminton.
    • Your aim is to keep the ball close to the net and make your opponent reach for the low serve.
    • This is often aimed out to the side of the court. This allows for your opponents to be stretched around the court following the return. Thus, there are many open lanes on the court as the receivers are pushed to the outside.
  3. The Power Serve
    • Perhaps one of the more obvious options, the Power Serve is a low-driven shot that crosses just above the net, while landing as close to the baseline as possible.
    • This causes the returner to think quickly and react swiftly to the serve. The speed of the serve alone may cause the opponent to fault.
    • This serve puts pressure on the returner to handle the speed of the serve and control the return. However, the weakness of this serve is that it doesn’t force the returner to generate any power. They can essentially block the serve and still continue the rally.

For a more visual aid, please click here to see videos of these serves in action (Courtesy of the Pickleball Channel).

I hope this helps feed your O.P.D. (Obsessive Pickleball Disorder). If these serves work and make a difference in your game, feel free to buy me a beer some time. Or even just a high five.

Keep on dinkin’!!