Pickleball: Foot Position When Serving

Recently two people approached me to ask about foot alignment when preparing to serve the ball. Let’s take a look at the pickleball court layout and make sure we understand the terms used.

When standing on the court, the right-hand side is often referred to as the “even” side and the left hand side is often called the “odd” side. We won’t go into the reason for this terminology now.

The line at the very bottom of the court is referred to as the Baseline and in the diagram above, it is being pointed to by the red arrows. Likewise, the corresponding lines on the other side of the court have the same names and distinctions. The line dividing the even and the odd courts is called the Centerline for obvious reasons.

The two double-headed purple arrows mark the right and left Sidelines.

Now let’s take a look at the pickleball court and let’s assume you are Server A in the diagram above. As you know the server has to hit the ball within the rectangle, diagonally cross court, which is represented by the point of the blue arrow.

Server A is standing in a legal position in the diagram above.

Let’s consider a slightly different position for Server A.

What if server A wants to get a better angle and he or she stands outside the sideline when they hit the ball?. Well, that would be an illegal position and thus an illegal serve.

Let’s take a look at the rule governing this situation.

At the beginning of the service motion, both feet must be behind the baseline and the imaginary extensions of the baseline. At the time the ball is struck, the server’s feet may not touch the court or outside the imaginary extension of the sideline or the centerline and at least one foot must be on the playing surface or ground behind the baseline. Page 17 of the 2020 USAPA Official Rulebook, section 4.A.3

If you notice the rule says “At the time the ball is struck.” When player A hits the ball, his or her feet may not touch the court our outside the imaginary extension of the sideline or the centerline…

The sidelines and centerline theoretically are infinite and the server is obligated to stay within the appropriate boundaries created by these lines when the ball is struck.

Server A then must be standing within the blue shaded area at the time the paddle hits the ball to deliver the serve (see the diagram below).

This applies to both the even and the odd courts on both sides although only the A court is addressed in the diagram.

One last requirement is that “at least one foot must be on the playing surface or ground behind the baseline.”


When the ball is struck to deliver the serve, the server must stay with in the corridor formed by imaginary boundary lines that define the appropriate court side (even or odd) as indicated above



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Pickleball Scoring – Odd or Even?

* It is a fact that many Pickleball players lose track of the score. That is why it is important for everyone to call the score before each serve. To double-check if the score has been tallied correctly, you can use this method:

Note that when the score is zero, zero, it is considered an “even” score. The 2 people who are the very first servers (on the right side of their respective courts) for each team are even.

“When the serving team wins a point, the server moves to the other side of the serving team’s court. If the serve rotation is done properly, and the score is called correctly, the serving team’s score will always be even when the player that started the game on the right side is on the right side and odd when that player is on the left side.”

Do you enjoy Pickleball? Would you like to have more Pickleball venues and see the sport thrive? Why not consider joining the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) – They are the “keepers of the flame,” so to speak. Click this link to find out more:


*Thanks to M. Travis, Phoenix-area Pickleball Ambassador