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Where Does the Server Stand in Pickleball?

Adult men playing pickleball in court.

Do you know someone who is always trying to get a quick serve on the pickleball court? In other words, this person is trying to catch you off guard by starting a service play the moment you call the score, or by calling the score very quickly and then serving a pickleball very quickly. This happens very often as players try to outwit each other.

However, there are specific rules to serving in the game of pickleball.

Rules for a Correct Service

Cheerful young man playing pickleball.

“You have 10 seconds”, a server may not initiate a serve motion until all scores (tie all three digits for doubles and two digits for singles) have been announced. If a fast server starts serving before the full score is announced, that server has made a mistake. Servers should be reminded that it is a foul to initiate a service motion before the full score has been announced.

The score should not be called until the receiver is in the correct position and the receiver’s side is ready to play. A server should be reminded not to announce the result until both partners, and the receiving team, are in the proper position and ready to play. For a player to indicate that they are not “ready” to score or to allow the pickleball to be served by the fast server.

Raise the pickleball racket (or the hand not holding the racket) above your head, or (b ) turn your back to the net. Note, however, that if the “not ready” signal is given after the scoring call, it will be ignored. Also, note that the “Not Ready” signal cannot be used to delay play (see Rule 4.C of the 2020 Official Pickleball Rule Book for more information on preparation and the “Not Ready” signal). Clever”).

The Main Serving Rules

Close-up shot of woman playing pickleball.

  • Every player must serve ‘under their body.’
  • Players should make contact between the ball and the paddle below their waist once they are serving.
  • One foot must be behind the baseline before the serve begins and neither foot must touch the court or baseline until the server hits the ball.
  • The server must use the diagonal of the court to hit the ball so it can land onto the court on a similar diagonal.
  • A server should only make one attempt at serving unless the ball goes into the net and remains in the service area.

Serve in Pickleball

Senior woman serving pickleball.

If a fast server intentionally continues a fast serve, especially if it violates the rules, such as committing a foul or intentionally serving with the “Not Ready” signal. In a recreational setting, avoid situations where:

  • (a) you are ready and anticipate the serve as soon as the pickleball is touched by the server, or (b) you are on the pickleball court with a fast server.


In organized competitions, such as tournaments, consider:

  • (a) increasing your own preparation and anticipating the serve as soon as the pickleball is touched by the server, or
  • (b) asking the referee or tournament director/organizer for help in resolving disputes (2020 Rule Official 13.K of the US Pickleball Rule Book).

Note, however, that the server can quickly serve the pickleball without committing a foul if he waits until he is ready, announces the full score (or asks the umpire to announce it), and then quickly serves.

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The Doubles Match

Young man and woman playing pickleball.

When it comes to playing a doubles match, the player serving can continue to do so until one of the players on the team has made a mistake. There is only one exception to the rule. That is in the first serve of the match where one player on a team makes an error with this first serve and it has to be passed to another player on the other team.

The first serve is done from the right of the court when serves change from one team to the other. When a point has been scored, the next serve is made from either the left or right side of the court. If one doubles partner loses the serve, the other player on his team will start serving the ball from the same side.

In a singles game, the server starts serving from the right side once the score becomes even, but on the opposite side when the score reaches an odd number.


Do you know someone who likes a fast serve or possibly someone who wants to perfect their serve? Well, it is important to follow the rules of the game and continue to practice your serve as often as you can.