The Evolution of Serving – Serving strategies for players 2.0 – 5.0.
The Evolution of Serving – Serving strategies for players 2.0 – 5.0. This serving strategy helped me win Gold Medal at Nationals three years in a row. This philosophy is ideal for players that are new to the game to 5.0 level players. Another tool to add to your toolbox. This post is not about how to serve, but rather the mindset of becoming a better server in Pickleball.
The first rule of serving is to serve with purpose. Obviously, the purpose is to get the ball into the court, but we must be better than that. As a beginner player your goal is to get the serve into the court. Nothing hurts more than being a new player and not being able to get a serve in. At this stage of your play, practice to be consistent in getting your serve into the court.
As a newer player, aim for center of the court you are serving too. Yes, right in the middle. That gives you a lot of room for error. If you aim for the center and hit the ball too much left or right, or too deep or shallow, you still get the serve in.
As you become consistent with getting your serves in, start aiming for deeper serves. You progress from serving to the middle of the court to serving deeper in the court. This would be your next level of skill in serving. You can practice soft serves, hard serves, sideway serves, and top spin serves with the goal of serving deep.
WHY DEEP SERVES? Think of Pickleball like playing chess. You should be thinking two or three moves ahead. When I serve, I am setting up my third shot. I want my third shot to be as easy as possible for me to return and I rather hit my third shot from mid court rather than the baseline. When I serve hard it makes it more difficult for my opponent to return deep. When their return is shallow my third shot is much easier. I prefer to drive or drop my third from mid court or the kitchen rather than the baseline.
At this stage you have moved from just getting your serve in consistently to serving the ball deep consistently. These deep serves can be lob serves, topspin serves etc., the common trait is they are deep serves.
The next level of serving is to serve to a specific location in the service box. Learn to serve to their forehand, backhand and right at them (middle court).
Ideally, I want to serve to my opponent’s backhand. The reason is that most players backhands are their weaker part of their game and I am not worried about a strong return from a backhand. If my opponent runs around their backhand, I just got them out of position. I want my opponent to run or reach for the ball when returning it. By running or reaching for the ball it makes it more difficult to return effectively.
Depending on where my opponent is standing or perhaps they are left handed, I want to have the skill set to serve to the different sections of the serving court making their return of serve less effective and making my third shot more effective.
Having a great serve can be worth a couple points even at the professional level. Sometimes a point or two can make a difference in winning the game.