Master the 2023 Pickleball Drop Serve

Pickleball is a much-loved racquet activity that fuses components of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played on a smaller court, with a net set at a lower height. The point system used in this game is similar to the one employed in tennis. A frequent serve used in pickleball is the drop serve which necessitates striking the ball at low speed and swiftly over the net.

Pickleball drop serve

Overview of the Pickleball Drop Serve

The Pickleball drop serve is a hit that involves sending the ball swiftly and close to the net, aiming to make it challenging for the recipient to send it back. This technique is usually utilized to take the other player off guard and is beneficial in achieving points. The drop serve can be achieved with either a forehand or backhand grip, and the racket angle may vary depending on the player’s preference and style of play.

Benefits of the Pickleball Drop Serve

There are several benefits to using the drop serve in pickleball, including:

Increased accuracy

The drop serve is more exact than other forms of serving, as it necessitates stringent control and positioning of the ball.

Greater control

The drop serve permits the athlete to have superior authority over the trajectory and speed of the ball, which can be advantageous in readying the following stroke in the battle.

Ability to surprise your opponent

The drop serve can be a surprise move that catches the opponent off guard and helps to gain an advantage in the point.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Pickleball Drop Serve

To execute the drop serve in pickleball, follow these steps:

1. Positioning

Position yourself on the serving line, your weaker foot slightly back of the line, with your facing towards the other court.

2. Forehand Grip

If hitting the drop serve with a forehand grip, hold the racket with your dominant hand and place your index finger on the top edge of the racket handle. The racket head should be tilted slightly downward.

3. Backhand Grip

If executing a drop serve with a backhand hold, grip the racket with your less skilled hand and put your index finger on the highest point of the racket handle. The racket should be slanted slightly downwards.

4. Racket Angle

The slant of the racket will vary depending on your own preference and technique. Some competitors may opt for a more pronounced bend, whereas others might like a more moderate angle. To determine what suits you best, try different angles and see what works.

Execution of the Drop Serve:

  • Toss the ball in the air slightly in front of your body, allowing it to reach its peak height just above your shoulder.
  • As you bring the racket back, bend your knees slightly and load your weight onto your back foot.
  • Swing the racket forward and make contact with the ball as it descends from its peak height.
  • Aim to hit the ball low and fast, with a good amount of spin.
  • Follow through with your swing, finishing with the racket above your shoulder on the opposite side of your body.
  • As you complete the serve, step forward with your dominant foot and be ready to move into position for the next shot.

Common Mistakes with the Pickleball Drop Serve

There are some common mistakes that players make when attempting to master this serve and it is important to be aware of them in order to maximize your chances of success.

Not using enough spin

A typical gaffe, when performing the drop serve is not applying sufficient spin. A lack of spin will cause the ball not to plummet sufficiently and might be more accessible for your adversary to return. To avert this mistake, try out various amounts of spin and discover the correct amount which enables you to hit the ball low and swiftly but with accuracy.

Pickleball drop serve

Not getting the right trajectory on the ball

Another blunder when serving is not hitting the ball in a suitable manner. The course of the ball pertains to its route via the atmosphere. To perform an effective drop serve, the ball should have a short trajectory that permits it to fall rapidly over the net. If the trajectory is excessively high, the ball will be effortless for the adversary to return.

Not hitting the ball high enough over the net

A common blunder when serving is not propelling the ball adequately up and over the net. To successfully drop serve, it is important to propel the ball with enough elevation so that it will rapidly descend on the opposite side of the net. If the ball is not lifted high enough, it will be more straightforward for your adversary to reply.

Pickleball drop serve

Using too much power and not enough control

It can be alluring to prioritize strength when serving. However, it is essential to strike a balance between power and accuracy. If there is too much power and not enough precision, your serve may go beyond the sidelines or be simple for the opposition to return.

Serving too short or too deep into the court

Making a misstep in service can involve striking the ball too shallowly or too far into the court. To make a successful drop serve, one should hit the ball at an intermediate depth into the court, causing it to plunge rapidly and be hard for the opponent to send back.

drop serve in pickleball

Releasing your grip on the paddle at the wrong time

Timing your grip let-go when performing the drop serve is essential for ultimate command and precision. If you release your hold too soon or too late, it can influence the flight path and spin of the ball, leading to a less-than-perfect serve.

Troubleshooting Common Mistakes with the Drop Serve

Players can make a few common mistakes when executing the drop serve. Here are some tips for troubleshooting these mistakes:

1. Failing to hit low enough on the court surface. If you have trouble hitting the ball low enough, try adjusting your grip and racket angle. A more pronounced angle will help to create more spin and drop on the ball, making it harder for the opponent to return.

2. Loss of power and spin when dropping too close to your feet. If you drop the ball too close to your feet, you may lose power and spin on the serve. To fix this, try tossing the ball a little higher and using a more pronounced racket angle to create more spin and power on the serve.

3. Practice using different amounts of spin until you find one that works best. When practising the drop serve, it is important to try out different amounts of spin to see what works best for you. Experiment with different grip and racket angles to find the right amount of spin to hit the ball low and fast with control and accuracy.

4. Focus on ensuring you hit your targets when serving, aiming for a particular spot in your opponent’s court each time. When executing the drop serve, it is essential to focus on hitting your targets. This means aiming for a specific spot in your opponent’s court each time you serve rather than just hitting the ball over the net. By aiming for a specific spot, you can increase your chances of winning the point.

5. Learn how to hit high arcs over the net, allowing for more control and accuracy when serving. To increase the accuracy of your drop serve, try hitting the ball with a high arc over the net. This will give you more control and allow you to place the ball more precisely in your opponent’s court.

6. Make sure to focus more on control than power when executing a drop serve, as this will help keep your serve in play more often. While it may be tempting to focus on power when executing the drop serve, it is more important to focus on control. By focusing on control, you will be able to keep your serve in play more often and increase your chances of winning the point.

7. Know where to stand in relation to where you want to hit your serve and adjust each time accordingly. The position of your feet when serving can greatly impact the accuracy and power of your serve. Make sure to position yourself in relation to where you want to hit the ball and adjust your position accordingly each time you serve.

8. Make sure to release your grip from the paddle at the right moment, allowing maximum control and accuracy when serving. The timing of your grip release when executing the drop serve is crucial for maximum control and accuracy. Make sure to practice releasing your grip at the right moment to ensure that you can hit the ball with precision.


A provisional rule now allows for a “drop serve”. Players can now drop the ball from any height, and hit it after the bounce, but cannot throw, toss, or use any extra force to bounce it.

As of 1/1/2022, the “Chainsaw Serve,” popularized by Zane Navratil, has been officially declared to be against the rules and not allowed in the USA Pickleball Rulebook.

The 2021 rule alterations allowed for a provisional implementation of the “drop” serve, which has now been accepted as a permanent part of the 2022 rule revisions.

You have the freedom to alternate between a drop serve and a volley serve throughout the match.

Yes, As per the regulations, you have a span of 10 seconds to serve the ball. Within the designated time frame, you may bounce it as often as you wish.

Final Verdict

The drop serve is a formidable serve that can astound and outsmart your adversary in pickleball. By adhering to these steps and recognizing recurrent errors, you can refine your drop-serve style and become a more effective competitor. With training and repetition, you can command the drop serve and utilize it to your benefit in your pickleball matches.

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