How to Drop Serve in Pickleball?

By: Brandon Fritze

Struggling to gain the upper hand in pickleball? The elusive ‘Pickleball Drop Serve’ might be the missing piece to outwit your opponents. In this article, we’ll not only cover the rules and techniques of the drop serve, but we’ll also discuss a significant rule change that you need to know.

Irrespective of your skill level, this comprehensive guide will equip you with everything you need to understand and master the drop serve in Pickleball. Keep reading!

What is a Drop Serve in Pickleball?

A drop serve in Pickleball is a type of serve where the ball is dropped from the non-dominant hand and then hit after it bounces on the server’s side of the court, just behind the baseline.

What is Drop Serve in Pickleball

 How to Drop Serve in Pickleball?

You can quickly drop serve in Pickleball by using these six simple steps:

Step 1: Positioning

Begin by standing behind the baseline, just like with any other server.

Also, ensure you have a comfortable and balanced stance, with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Ball Placement

Hold the Pickleball in your non-dominant hand at about waist height.

With your dominant hand, take a comfortable grip on your paddle. Position the ball slightly in front of you, ready to drop it for the serve.

Step 3: Dropping the Ball

Focus on dropping the ball gently from your non-dominant hand. ‘

Aim for it to fall directly in front of you and slightly to the side so that you have ample space to hit it comfortably.

Practice dropping the ball a few times to get a feel for the motion.

Step 4: Striking the Ball

As the ball reaches its peak height after bouncing, use your dominant hand and paddle to strike it.

Aim for a smooth, controlled contact with the ball. Keep your wrist firm but flexible, allowing for a clean hit.

Step 5: Follow-Through

After striking the ball, follow through with your paddle to ensure proper control and accuracy.

Allow your arm to extend naturally forward while maintaining balance.

This follow-through motion helps guide the ball to your desired location on the opponent’s side of the court.

 Pickleball Drop Serve Rules

Here we will walk you through the essential rules and guidelines for executing a drop serve in Pickleball.

All of these rules are updated according to the 2023 USAPA official rules book.

So, let us take a look at these updated rules without further ado.

  • A server should drop the serve in Pickleball by using their paddle.
  • The server in Pickleball has the choice to execute a drop serve by releasing the ball and striking it only after it bounces.
  • It is important to note that the ball can be dropped from any height, but it must not be thrown, tossed, or released with any additional force intended to make it bounce.

Pickleball Drop Serve Rule Change

As of the USAPA 2023, the given rule change regarding drop serves has been implemented.

  • Spin cannot be applied to the ball with one hand before hitting it for a drop serve in Pickleball.
  • Additionally, the ball should be dropped using one hand.
  • Interestingly, in drop serves, the ball has the freedom to bounce multiple times at the player’s discretion.

Is It Legal to Drop the Ball on the Serve in Pickleball?

Yes, the act of dropping the ball on the serve in Pickleball is indeed considered legal.

The game’s official regulations state that players are permitted to utilize the drop serve as a legitimate serving technique.

It involves dropping the ball from the non-dominant hand and subsequently striking it after it bounces on the server’s side of the court, just behind the baseline.

It is widely employed in Pickleball and offers players a tactical advantage by allowing for greater control over ball placement.

The Pros and Cons of Pickleball’s Drop Serve

The drop serve in Pickleball can be a powerful weapon in your serving arsenal.

It offers unique advantages that can help elevate your game. However, like any technique, there are both pros and cons to consider.

Here, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of the drop serve, making it easier for you to decide whether to incorporate it into your playing style.

Pros of the Drop Serve

Following are the pros of drop serve in Pickleball:

Improved Control

One of the main advantages of the drop serve is the enhanced control it provides.

You have more precise control over ball placement by dropping the ball and striking it after the bounce.

It can be especially useful when aiming for specific areas on your opponent’s side of the court.

Catching Opponents Off Guard

The drop serve has the potential to catch your opponents by surprise.

Its unique timing and trajectory can disrupt their rhythm and give you an advantage right from the start of the point.

This element of surprise can lead to unforced errors or put you in a more favorable position for the subsequent shot.

Higher Accuracy

Due to the controlled nature of the drop serve, it often results in higher accuracy.

The ability to carefully place the ball over the net and within your opponent’s court can increase your chances of executing a booming serve and gaining an immediate advantage.

Cons of the Drop Serve

So, these are some cons of the Pickleball drop serve

Lower Speed and Power

The drop serve generally has less power and speed than other serve techniques, like the in-air volley serve.

The ball loses some momentum during the bounce which may make it easier for your opponent to anticipate and return the serve.

If power is a crucial aspect of your serving strategy, the drop serve may not be the best choice.

Heightened Risk of Faults

With the drop serve, there is a higher risk of faults if the ball is not dropped correctly or if the timing is off.

Mistiming the strike or failing to execute a clean hit can result in faults and give your opponent an accessible point.

It is important to practice and refine your drop serve to minimize these errors.

Limited Variation

While the drop serve offers advantages in control and placement, it may lack the variation and versatility of other serve techniques.

Depending solely on the drop serve can make your serving patterns predictable and easier for skilled opponents to anticipate and counter.

FAQs: Pickleball Drop Serve

1. Can you drop serve in Pickleball?

Yes, you can perform a drop serve in Pickleball using a paddle per the USAPA 2023 rules.

2. Is a drop serve legal in Pickleball?

Yes, the drop serve after the ball has been bounced is a legal serving technique in Pickleball.

The sport’s official rules allow for various types of serves, including the drop serve.

3. Is a Backhand Drop Serve Legal in Pickleball?

Yes, a backhand drop serve is considered legal in Pickleball. The rules do not specify any restrictions on the type of shot used for a drop serve, so both forehand and backhand drop serves are permitted.

4. Do any Pickleball pros use the drop serve?

Yes, some Pickleball professionals utilize the drop serve as part of their serving strategy.

While not all professionals use this technique, it is viable for serving in the sport.

5. Why the drop serves over the in-air volley serve?

The choice between a drop serve and an in-air volley serve depends on personal preference and game strategy.

The drop serve offers certain advantages, such as better control over ball placement, increased accuracy, and the potential to catch opponents off guard.

It can also be an effective strategy against opponents who struggle with low-bouncing balls.

On the other hand, the in-air volley serve allows for a faster delivery and can be used to add more pace to the serve.

The decision between the two ultimately depends on the player’s skill set and the specific circumstances of the game.

Final Thoughts on Drop Serve in Pickleball

To sum it up, the Pickleball drop serve is a valuable technique that is legal with a paddle. It also has some advantages like control, surprise, and accuracy. However, it lacks the power of other services and carries a higher risk of faults.

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