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How To Attack Using Your Pickleball Serve

How To Attack Using Your Pickleball Serve
Before our eyes, pickleball is becoming faster and more aggressive. Evolving paddle technology is enabling us to hit with more spin, power, and control than ever before. Simply serving the ball as a rally starter is not going to cut in today’s game. You want to pressure your opponents from the first shot. Here are some ways you can use your pickleball serve to put you in an attacking position.

Use Topspin

Topspin allows you to serve the ball higher and faster than with no spin. This not only makes it harder for your opponent to return the ball, but you can also implement better tactics. Here are some ways that topspin can help you with your pickleball serve:


1. Serve Deeper

The ultimate goal when serving deep is to force your opponent behind the baseline (see the image above). This leaves more ground to cover on their way to the kitchen, thus, giving you an easier 3rd shot. Depth also makes it harder to attack as the returner cannot step into the ball as well. Using topspin allows you to add extra height, resulting in a deeper serve and a bonus kick after the bounce, pushing your opponent evenfurther back.

2. More Power

Due to the Magnus Effect, the ball will dip sooner when you add topspin. As well as being able to hit the ball higher you can also hit the ball faster! This not only gives your opponent less time to react it also makes it harder for them to get a solid contact point.

3. Better Angles

Topspin also allows you to dip the ball shorter and wider in the court while avoiding the net. This gives you more tactical choices, especially when trying to create spaces.

Spot Weaknesses

To be a successful pickleball player is to have the ability to assess your opponent's weaknesses. It could be that the returner has an weaker side. For most pickleball players it tends to be the backhand. They may also need to improve at moving or returning slow lofty pickleball serves. Next time you play, see if you can spot anything obvious and expose that weakness!

Use Slice

As with topspin, slice allows you to manipulate the ball's flight and bounce to your advantage. The ball will stay lower requiring your opponent to stretch to reach the contact point. This often results in a popped-up short return and an easy 3rd shot drive for you!

Place The Serve

Placing a steady pickleball serve down the center of the service box is great for consistency. But, it won't do you any favors when it comes to pressuring your opponents. Sure, it means you're not giving away the ball easily, but it's also making your third shot a guaranteed tough one. Take some balls down to your local courts and practice using the whole of the service box. Repetition is the key. Having the ability to place your serve under pressure allows you to pick on your opponent's weaknesses when it matters (see above) and also keeps them guessing. Here are a couple of ways you can try placing the ball:

1. Serve Wide

This is an underused tactic in pickleball. Serving wide is helpful in both singles and doubles. In doubles, you can create space between the two players setting you up for a more effective 3rd shot drive. In singles, you open up the court for your 3rd shot and increase the distance your opponent has to run for the ball!

2.Serve Down The Center Line

The more central to the court you serve the more central the return will generally be. In doubles, this makes it easier to attack your next ball down the middle.

Here's some extra tips from Pro Tyson McGuffin on ways you can help yourself with the serve:

Summary - Mix Up Your Pickleball Serve

Having a selection of the above skills and tactics at your disposal means you can keep your opponents guessing. If one type of serve is having a positive result in your current game, then use it. But having the ability to throw in some different choices can really frustrate your opponents! Let us know if you currently use any of the above serves in our comments below.


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