by Jenny Foster
A pickleball game cannot start without the serve. Just like any other shot, the serve can contribute considerably to a pickleball player’s game. Unfortunately, not all players realize the importance of this initiating shot. And just like any other shot in pickleball, a good serve requires certain amount of practice.
In addition to constant practice, pickleball players can employ several techniques to improve their serve. Some of these strategies include the following:
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ENTIRE BODY
Obviously, the arm plays an important role in pickleball serve. However, a fine serve would require the help of the entire body.
Most pickleball players probably only use their wrist in swinging the paddle when hitting the serve. However, this prevents them from maximizing the power of this shot. For a more powerful serve, players should engage the leg on the same side of their swinging arm to utilize the kinetic energy starting from the lower limb to the arm. The combination of the kinetic energies from the different muscles of these limbs, along with the movement of the whole body, will result in a consistent and powerful serve.
- PRACTICE USING THE CLOSED OR SEMI-OPEN STANCE
In most cases, pickleball players serve while assuming an open stance position. Although there’s nothing wrong with it, some professionals advise using a closed or semi-open stance.
When assuming a closed stance, the player’s other shoulder points perpendicular toward the net, whereas in semi-open stance, the said shoulder is still pointed toward the net at a certain degree. With the closed or semi-open stance, a pickleball player can fully swing their arm and rotate their body, thus maximizing the power of their arm when hitting the pickleball to serve.
- LOOSEN UP!
Another way to achieve that perfect serve is through to a low-to-high smooth swinging motion, which can be achieved by loosening up the shoulder, arm, and one’s grip.
In certain cases, pickleball players can become tense, especially gripping tight the paddle, when serving the pickleball. In this case, their serve may show inconsistency on certain occasions.
Instead of being tense, when serving, pickleball players should try to loosen up their hitting limb and relax their grip on the paddle handle. Then, they should try to hit through the pickleball with a smooth swinging motion in a low-to-high arching path, with their paddle ending up over the other shoulder.
- AVOID TAKING YOUR PADDLE ALL THE WAY TO THE BACK
When serving a pickleball, instead of reaching back before hitting, a pickleball player just needs to position their paddle near their hip and allow their other body parts (as mentioned above) to provide them with sufficient kinetic power to hit the ball.
- LEARN TO “DROP”
Certain pickleball players actually toss and hit the ball when serving. However, the best way to hit the ball during a serve is to hold the ball out front at the waist level and just drop it, aiming for the correct timing to hit it with the paddle.
Especially for pickleball players who are used to tossing the ball, the “drop” serve may require certain amount of practice. Still, it is no big deal for those who aspire to improve their serve.
With the tips mentioned above, beginners or even long-playing pickleball players can improve their pickleball game through a stronger and greatly improved serve.