I can’t tell you how many times I see people using illegal serves during recreational play. A serve has several key elements:
- The serve has to be done with an upward path (underhand)
- The head of the paddle needs to be below the wrist when the ball is struck
- Contact with the ball must be made below waist level
This is what it looks like in pictures
[ From p.17 of USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook ]
Of course the server’s feet have to be appropriately within bounds and behind the baseline until after the ball is struck.
There are those who have always used a serve that would not meet all of these requirements, but others may have “drifted” away from a legal serve through bad habits or poor practice.
My serve was questioned recently and I went back to the drawing board to make sure that I was complying with all elements. I wanted to be “obviously” correct. As you can see in the video below, it isn’t always easy to tell if a serve is completely legal.
Watch Mark Renneson of Third Shot Pickleball as he demonstrates a variety of serves and discusses the differences between them and whether or not they might be considered illegal, i.e. a fault!
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