The Drop Serve In Pickleball – Complete Guide & Tips

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The USA pickleball rules committee introduced the drop serve as a provisional rule change in 2021. For the first time pickleball players had an option besides the in air volley serve for starting points.

This year the committee removed the provisional status of the drop serve, changing the drop serve rule, and further cementing its status as a staple of the game for the foreseeable future.

So, what is the pickleball drop serve? How do you perform it legally? When should you use it? What does it do for you?

Great questions! Let’s dive into all the drop serve nitty gritty, shall we?

Also Check Out: 18 Essential Beginner Pickleball Tips

What is the Drop Serve?

A drop serve is when a player holds the ball in one hand and drops it onto the court. The serving player then waits for the ball to come up and strikes it after the bounce.

This is different than the traditional in air volley serve, where a player would not bounce the ball before serving.

Is the Drop Serve Legal?

Yes! As stated above, in 2022 the rules committee not only approved the drop serve rule, but further endorsed it by removing its provisional status. 

Just make sure that you drop the ball and do not propel it downwards, be sure to follow all the other pickleball serving rules such as only the serving team serving, only one serve attempt, standing on the correct side, hitting to the correct quadrant, clearing the kitchen line, striking the ball in an upward motion, etc.

What are Some Advantages of the Drop Serve?

1. The drop serve is a variation. Giving your opponents different looks is huge, and can catch them off guard to either win you a few easy points, or throw them off just enough to set yourself up in some good situations.

2. The drop serve is easy to learn. It is exactly the same stroke as a groundstroke (both forehand and backhand), so new players can often pick it up quicker than a volley serve.

3. The drop serve allows many players to hit the ball low, deep, and with pace, which are all great features in a pickleball serve.

Who Should Use the Drop Serve?

Every pickleball player should experiment with the drop serve, and have it in their back pocket. Depending on the situation and your skill level, you may or may not find yourself going to it much, but it is legal, so why not give it a go?

If you are a new player, do yourself a favor, and try it out. As you develop your groundstroke you will be developing your drop serve and you can add in a volley serve later.

When Should you Use the Drop Serve?

There are plenty of times when you should go to the drop serve, or at least try it out. Here’s a list of a few of them.

-When you are first learning pickleball.

-When the wind is swirling and you need to keep the ball low.

-If your opponents are taking advantage of your volley serve and you need to change it up.

-If you notice your opponent has a tough time handling it.

-If you develop the “yips” and are struggling with your volley serve.

Drop Serve Variations 

Forehand Drive: This is the most basic type of serve. It’s usually a beginner’s most dominant hand and gives you the opportunity to add a little added topspin. 

Backhand Drop Serve: Conversely, the backhand serve is usually a less dominant serve, but it gives you a better opportunity to add backspin to the ball so your serve bounces softly. 

Lob Drop Serve: This is a great serving variation for beginners because you’re taking all the variables out of the serve and it’s usually the most consistent. 

Do Pickleball Pros Use a Drop Serve?

It’s illegal for the pros to use the drop serve. The PPA decided against adopting the 2021 rules change that made the drop serve legal. However, the APP did adopt the new 2022 rules so the drop serve is allowed there. 

Furthermore, the pros don’t really have a reason to use the drop serve since it really just improves contact and consistency, which I can confidently say they have no issues with.

Conclusion

The pickleball drop serve is a perfectly legal option to start out points.

It is fun, different, and can be very strategically advantageous for players at all levels.

So whether you are a beginner or climbing the rankings and headed for pickleball superstardom, don’t forget to mix in the drop serve from time to time to keep everyone on their toes.

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Daniel Hawk is a Northern California transplant from the Washington D.C. area. He grew up playing as much basketball as he possibly could while mixing in tennis, ping pong, and whatever other sports he could find that would get his heart rate going, test his reflexes, and fuel his competitive drive. He picked up pickleball in 2021 and has never looked back. Daniel is a 4.5 player who is constantly studying the game and working to improve. Daniel has been writing his whole life. His father is a professional editor who helped imprint the beauty and necessity of clear writing in Daniel at an early age. He studied English at the University of Colorado on Boulder and has written countless works of fiction and nonfiction since.

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