Can You Toss The Ball Up When Serving In Pickleball? How?

Pickleball is a fast-paced game inspired by the mixture of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, enjoyed by many ages. One of the most important aspects of the match is the serve – the only stroke over which the serving team has complete control and sets the tone for the rest of the score.

But can you toss the ball up when serving in pickleball? This article discusses this question and issues related to the rules and how to do it. Keep reading to get a score right at the start of the match!

Can You Toss The Ball Up When Serving In Pickleball?

Can You Toss The Ball Up When Serving In Pickleball?

The ball can bounce on a volley serve and hit below the waist

Yes, you can, but the path’s height does not allow for more than the waist. Or, you can toss it higher than standard but not hit it until it drops below your waist.

In addition, when teeing off, your arms should move in an upward arc and ensure the paddle tip’s top point is not higher than your wrist. The ball goes diagonally from the beginning point to the goal line or the end of the opponent’s court and does not enter “The Kitchen” area.

Criteria To Be Met For A Legal Pickleball Volley Serve

A volley serve is performed by lightly tossing the ball up to a certain height and serving rather than dropping and letting it bounce off the court before hitting. It can be done with backhand or forehand, with three requirements:

  • Paddle and hand position: the wrist should always be higher than the highest point of the racquet head
  • Posture: the arm must move in an arc to the front when striking
  • Ball height: the ball should be tossed or struck below the waist

If any of the above three is violated, the referee may allow the player to replay or determine the fault, resulting in losing the serve.

Criteria To Be Met For A Legal Pickleball Volley Serve

Regardless of where it is dropped, the contact point of the ball and paddle must be below the waist

When Not To Toss A Ball In A Pickleball Serve?

When performing a drop serve, the toss is inherently invalid and may be considered a fault. Regarding this serve, the stroke is taken after the ball hits the court and bounces for both forehand and backhand. 

There is no limit to the number of times or places to serve. However, it is considered valid when the following factors are present:

  • Drop the ball from one hand or the paddle at a natural height without any assistance (such as tossing or throwing)
  • Do not use force to launch or hit it down to the ground with a paddle
  • Do not apply any volley serve criteria

When Not To Toss A Ball In A Pickleball Serve

In a drop serve, the ball must be dropped naturally, without any force applied to it

How To Make A Better Serve Without Tossing The Ball Up?

Improving your skills can be done by developing a consistent routine and practicing techniques such as the “hold and fire” or serving from the back foot. 

Additionally, using your whole arm, not just your wrist or hand, to generate power and accuracy is important. Aim for the ball to hit the center of your paddle, and try to follow through with your swing to add spin and control.

Serve Routine

You first need to practice regularly and try different techniques to create consistent habits for yourself. This routine ensures you can control the ball precisely and to your liking, leading to confidence in serves.

In addition, in a strained match, this pre-programmed routine will reduce common mistakes and allow you to focus more on difficult errors or catching them from the opponent.

Hold And Fire

This technique requires a large enough space for your arms to move freely and a paddle. Instead of hitting with many balls, you practice hitting posture, swinging the paddle correctly, and adjusting the force.

It can help you create more power and consistency in your serve. It also necessitates continuous practice to achieve high efficiency and a certain level of proficiency.

Serve From The Back Foot

Step back with one foot before hitting the ball to generate a more powerful shot. It creates a fulcrum for your hand and allows you to set up a larger arc. 

Instead of forcefully throwing the ball, try releasing it naturally while keeping your foot back and putting more strength into your arms. After completing the arch, you should be able to serve the ball with more power.

How To Make A Better Serve Without Tossing The Ball Up

Stepping out after serving creates a large arc that reinforces your hitting

Its advantage is to assist players in focusing accurately and increase their ball control. The downside also comes from this because if you do not adjust the force properly, you can injure your arm when trying to create a powerful hit. 

Therefore, it needs more practice and perseverance not to get hurt by extreme or competitive situations.

Swing The Whole Arm

Using your whole arm rather than just your wrist or hand is important to get the most power and accuracy. 

Firstly, you extend your arm and bend your elbow slightly before swinging your arm forward smoothly. It would be best if you generated the power from your shoulder to elbow and wrist and hit the ball in the same motion direction. 

To stay on target, you should adjust so the shot falls on the racket’s center and try to stop the impact at the right time. 

This skill requires you to practice many times in different ways and forces you to gather the result (the ball’s destination) after each time. It brings accuracy and helps you feel the ball’s direction right after hitting.

Serve The Ball Close To The Baseline

Serving near the end line can let you catch your opponent off guard and gain more points because they need to consider saving the balls rather than responding and attacking. It also creates space for you to move while the balls stay in the line.

The important thing in this technique is to adjust the force and serve the right standard. Once again, making practice a habit is indispensable for every match.

Serve The Ball Close To The Baseline

The ball near the touchline will make the opponent nervous and make it easier to score


What Are The Differences Of Drop Serve And Volley Serve In Pickleball?

These serves are legal in pickleball as long as they meet the other criteria for legal rules. These services can be challenging to execute but highly effective if done correctly.

  • Drop serve: this is to drop the balls to touch the ground naturally (without impact) and wait for them to bounce back and hit.
  • Volley serve: toss the balls up and shoot below waist level. It requires the wrist not to be higher than the top of the racket and to swing the racket from back to front.

What Are The 5 Serving Rules In Pickleball?

In pickleball, there are 5 service rules that players need to follow, which apply to both ways of serving, including:

  • They must be done by the player’s hand.
  • The touching point of the balls and paddle is below the player’s waist.
  • The players must stay at least one foot away from the end line.
  • The ball’s path must be cross-court and land within the opposite diagonal-court limit.
  • It only does once legally (serves are allowed).

What Are The 5 Serving Rules In Pickleball

It is legal to serve and touch the court diagonally, not in the Non-Volley zone

Do You Have To Drop The Ball When Serving In Pickleball?

Yes, you can do it in drop serving. But when using a volley serve, it will be a serve error. Actions such as throwing and tossing them are not allowed. In addition, you drop the balls and are required to hit them below your waist.

Is It Possible To Step Over The Line  When Serving In Pickleball?

No, you cannot step over the line when serving in pickleball. Your feet must remain behind the baseline until you touch them. It ensures that the serve is made from the correct position and meets the criteria for its legality.


Can you toss the ball up when serving in pickleball? The answer will be yes in volley serve and no in drop one. However, they all share the common feature of hitting the balls below the waist, with a starting point at least a foot off the court and a cross-court destination, not in the Non-Volley Zone.

It would be best if you practiced many techniques and ways of hitting to control it at will and increase your chances of winning. Creating a consistent service routine is also the key to reducing injury due to stress and carelessness during the competition!

>>See more: Can You Hit A Pickleball With Your Hand? – The Detailed Answer