Correct Serve Motion
Posted On November 30, 2012
Bennie asks: The rules say the serve must be underhand. Many players serve sidearm. Is this permitted?
ANSWER: There has been, and probably always will be, much discussion on this rule; both the wording and the interpretation of it. But bottom line is however you create your serve (sidearm or not) as long as you follow the below rules with your paddle head below your wrist and contact with the ball below your waist – then that is permitted.
For fun I looked up the definition of sidearm according to the Webster Dictionary: of, relating to, using, or being a throw (as in baseball) in which the arm is not raised above the shoulder and the ball is thrown with a sideways sweep of the arm between shoulder and hip.
Also, the odds are if you are serving sidearm you will have some upward arc in your serving stroke.
Here’s the Serve Motion Rules from the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) Official Tournament Rulebook:
SECTION 4 – SERVICE RULES
4.A. Serve Motion. The serve must be made with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level.
4.A.1. Underhand Defined. The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball.
Written by Jennifer Lucore