How to Get the Perfect Pickleball Serve

behind a young man tossing a pickleball into the air for a serve

7 Ways to Improve Your Pickleball Serve

Are you struggling to make a consistent pickleball serve? Want to put more power behind your technique? Having a better serve is a common area of improvement for many players, and one of the most important shots to master.

Serve to win this season by practicing the following pickleball serving tips including the secret to elevating your game: CURREX® PICKLEBALLPRO™ insoles, the official shoe insoles of Major League Pickleball.

7 Tips on Serving in Pickleball:

  1. Know the rules.
  2. Wear pickleball shoes & insoles.
  3. Fix your stance.
  4. Start from the shoulder.
  5. Use your legs and core.
  6. Serve deep.
  7. Serve with variety.
man standing on a court holding a pickleball paddle, a pickleball and pickleball insoles

Why is serving so important in pickleball?

Serving in pickleball is the only way your team can score a point. Ace serves are unlikely, so a strong pickleball serve technique sets the tone for the rest of the match. A great serve forces a weak return, giving your team an easier third shot and a huge advantage.

How can I improve my pickleball serve?

Every player, no matter their experience level, wants a faster, stronger, and more accurate serve. We’ve gathered some of the top pickleball serve tips like sticking to the basics and investing in useful gear like better court shoes and pickleball insoles.

Take your game to the next level with these 7 pro tips for improving your pickleball serve:

#1. Know the Rules

The first step to learning how to serve in pickleball and continuing to serve well is understanding the fundamentals of the game. This includes following the rules so you never risk losing a rally on an illegal serve or a service foot fault.

Pickleball serving rules state that the pickleball must be hit:

  • Below the navel with the arm moving in an upward arc and the head of the paddle below the highest part of the wrist.
  • With both feet behind the baseline and within the imaginary extensions of the sideline and centerline until after striking the ball.

Bonus Tip: The serving team calls out the score at the beginning of each rally. Announce the score before you start your serve and not during to avoid distraction.

Proper foot placement helps you avoid making habitual mistakes that can cost your team. Click here to learn more about the official rules of pickleball.

#2. Wear Pickleball Shoes & Insoles

Your average pair of tennis shoes won’t stand up to the demands of an intense match. A good pair of pickleball court shoes must be lightweight, supportive, and have a perfect fit so you can remain agile in all your movements including pickleball serves.

For a true advantage, wear CURREX PICKLEBALLPRO insoles to improve the comfort, fit, and feel of your court shoes. These dynamic pickleball insoles are slim and lightweight with flexible arch support, extra forefoot cushioning and superior surface grip.

woman placing a pickleball insole into a white shoe on an outdoor court

Designed to support lateral movement on the court, increase stability, and minimize fatigue, PICKLEBALLPRO insoles come in three arch profiles for a highly personalized fit in pickleball shoes that you can only get from CURREX.

Use our Insole Finder to discover the best insoles for pickleball.

#3. Fix Your Stance

Leaving the non-paddle holding side of your body open during the backswing of your serve can cause you to rotate too much and hit the ball from the side, reducing control and aim. Instead, try a semi-closed or closed stance.

young man serving a pickleball in a semi-closed stance

The foot on your serving side should be behind the other foot by a little more than hip width and your chest facing either between the net and sideline or just the sideline.

A closed pickleball serving stance will help prevent large backswings, stop your paddle from lagging behind, and improve accuracy, giving you a consistent and controlled shot.

#4. Start From the Shoulder

When your serve is too stiff, you generate less power, feel tired sooner, and have less control. Try this pickleball serving technique if you want more consistency in your underhand serves:

  1. Relax your arm so there is only a slight bend in the elbow.
  2. Swing from your shoulder, allowing your arm to move like a pendulum.
  3. Hit the pickleball below the navel without flicking your wrist.
  4. Follow through the serve after contact, your arm extending towards where you want the pickleball to go.
man serving a pickleball with arm and paddle swung behind him

Swinging with your shoulder instead of flicking your wrist generates momentum, serving the pickleball into a seamless, upward arc that is more reliable.

#5. Use Your Legs & Core

Like most full-body sports, engaging large muscle groups like core is the key to increased power and force. To do this, your feet should rest outside shoulder width, giving you a wide base, with your knees directed inside and a neutral back.

This athletic pickleball stance compresses your leg muscles and keeps your back muscles from being overworked to put more power behind your serve.

#6. Serve Deep

A deep serve pushes your opponent further from the net, making it harder for them to execute a successful return. Serving deep forces the receiving end to either:

  • Return the pickleball on a weaker backhand shot, or
  • Move and run around your serve, creating more room on the court for the third shot.

While serving deep can be a strategic move for scoring points, doing it too often becomes predictable. Additionally, more experienced players may have stronger backhand shots, so you should practice different types of pickleball serves.

#7. Serve with Variety

Although it is beneficial to have one pickleball serve fully mastered, using the same technique too often becomes predictable. By switching up your serves, you can leave your opponent guessing so they are more likely to send a weak return.

Aside from the traditional volley serve, different pickleball serves you can try include:

  • Drop serve: By dropping the ball from above and hitting the serve off it’s bounce, you change the pace of the game and create a more aggressive shot.
  • Lob serve: Softly striking the ball mid-paddle sends it higher into the air, creating a higher trajectory and bounce, making it harder to return.
  • Hook serve: This sidespin pickleball serve curves the ball opposite to the serving hand instead of straight over the net.
  • Topspin serve: Brushing upwards on the ball at contact creates a spin that opponents may not see, making it hard to predict speed and bounce direction.
woman post pickleball serve with paddle in the air above head

Learning new techniques will take practice. Whatever serve you use, always play within the official pickleball serve rules. Not only can you score some easy points by changing up your serve, but you can also spot your opponent’s weaknesses.

Take Your Game to the Next Level with CURREX

Perfecting a near unbeatable pickleball serve requires constant improvement. Whether you’re a pro player or a weekend pickler, CURREX PICKLEBALLPRO insoles help you dominate the court, keeping you light on your feet so you can feel better, train harder, and play your best.


12 Ways to Improve Your Pickleball Serve Today. (n.d.). Paddletek Pickleball.

Johnson, C. J. (2019, November 15). The Best Serve In Pickleball. Better Pickleball.

Townsend, S. (2020, December 28). 7 Pro Tips for a Killer Pickleball Serve. The Pickler.