For tennis players, serving in pickleball can be difficult to get used to at first.
Unlike tennis and platform tennis, where overhead serves are prominent, serves in pickleball must be underhand.
In today’s blog we’re going to give you some tips on how to perfect the underhand serve.
First and foremost, make sure that you’re hitting the ball below your waist – this is what qualifies a serve as underhand. Because you must hit the ball out of the air from the toss, swing from low-to-high and hit the ball in an upwards, arcing motion. Finish your swing with your hand in line with your opposite shoulder. Imagine that you’re painting a crescent moon during your swing!
Once you’ve mastered your serving motion, the most important thing about serving is getting the ball into the correct service box. In order for a serve to be considered “in,” it must land inside or on the lines of the service box that is diagonal from where you’re positioned. Whenever a game begins, the server stands behind the right service box, and therefore serves the ball into the opposite side’s right service box. The service boxes alternate as the points continue.
If you find that you’re hitting too many of your serves into the net, angle your paddle upward when you hit the ball. This is called opening your face. If the face of your paddle is too closed (pointing toward the ground), chances are you’ll hit many of your shots into the net. Being able to slightly adjust the angle of your paddle can reap big benefits because it opens up your game to different serving styles.
There are many different types of serves: hard, soft, flat, deep, short, angled – the possibilities are virtually endless. The right serve depends on who you are playing and how your opponent is positioned to receive. Practicing different types of serves is crucial for competition, because your opponent won’t know what to expect.
If your opponent has a tendency to hug the baseline when receiving, you may want to try a deep serve with heavy topspin to push them back and catch them off-guard. If your opponent stays several feet behind the baseline, you may want to try a short, angled serve to knock them out of position.
Serving with accuracy takes hours of practice and is not something that can be mastered overnight. Again, the most important thing about serving is to simply get the ball over the net and in the proper service box.
Still not sure how to perfect the underhand serve? Let Chuck Vietmeier, our GAMMA Sports product manager, help!
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